Vegan risotto cakes with pumpkin sauce

Vegan risotto cakes with pumpkin sauce

Crispy and filling risotto cakes

Vegan risotto cakes with pumpkin sauce are meat free patties that are ideal for dinner or lunch.

Green lentil and arborio rice risotto cakes with butternut pumpkin sauce, roasted pumpkin and crispy sage leaves.

Perfect for feeding a hungry vegan or a non-vegan, these risotto cakes make a satisfying main meal.

Appetising, autumnal colours of orange, brown and green are prominent in this delicious recipe. Orange butternut pumpkin gives a lovely golden glow to this dish. Green lentils and wholemeal breadcrumbs provide the earthy brown colour and fried sage leaves add a pop of fresh green.

Protein & carb-rich patties

Hearty green lentils and arborio rice make up the base of this recipe. They provide protein and carbohydrates as well as lots of flavour & texture to the dish.

To make this flavourful meal, first you make a risotto with green lentils and arborio rice. Form cold risotto into patties and coat them with breadcrumbs. Shallow fry the risotto cakes in oil until they have a crisp outer coating.

Butternut pumpkin goes well with the risotto patties. Roast the pumpkin with fresh rosemary & olive oil. Mix three quarters of the cooked pumpkin with fried garlic and vegetable stock. Puree this mixture until it is smooth to make a flavoursome sauce.

Finish off the dish by topping the risotto cakes and pumpkin sauce with cubes of roasted pumpkin and crispy sage leaves.

You should make risotto cakes with pumpkin sauce because they are:

  • Seasonal: butternut pumpkin is now in season (autumn).
  • Dairy-free: no butter or cream are needed in this tasty recipe.
  • Filling and delicious vegan food.
  • Great for lunch or dinner.
  • Versatile: eat them with pumpkin sauce or put one in a bread roll to make a vegan burger.

Vegan risotto cakes’ main ingredients:

  • Butternut pumpkin
  • Green lentils
  • Arborio rice
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Fresh green herbs
Vegan risotto cakes with pumpkin sauce on a grey plate
Vegan risotto cakes with pumpkin sauce – great for lunch or dinner

Tips for busy cooks

To save time, instead of cooking dried green lentils, you can use tinned (cooked) lentils that have been drained.

If you don’t have any fresh green herbs, you could substitute them with smaller amounts of dried herbs.

Most supermarkets sell pre-diced raw pumpkin – use this if you don’t have time to prepare your own butternut pumpkin.

Another possible shortcut in this recipe is to buy pre-made vegan risotto and miss out step 2 of the recipe. Depending on how much liquid the store-bought risotto has in it, you may need to add some breadcrumbs to it so that it can be easily formed into patties.

If you would prefer not to shallow fry these risotto cakes, you can oven cook them instead. Place the risotto cakes on a greaseproof paper-lined baking tray, drizzle them with oil and bake them in a pre-heated 200°C fan oven until crisp. Add leftover roasted pumpkin, sage leaves and another drizzle of oil to the top of the cakes for the last five minutes of cooking.

Serving suggestions:

  1. Lunch: serve two risotto cakes per person with some of the sauce, roasted pumpkin and crispy sage leaves.
  2. Dinner: eat the vegan risotto cakes with a mixed salad for a filling evening meal.
  3. Veggie burger: put one of these risotto cakes in between a vegan bread roll and add some fried onions for a filling burger.

Autumnal, vegan and tasty

Serve vegan risotto cakes with pumpkin sauce to your friends and family this autumn as a main meal that is full of flavour.

Which fresh green herbs did you use in this recipe?

Let me know by leaving a comment and a recipe rating below – I’d love to hear from you.

Have you made this recipe? Tag @vegcoastcook on Instagram or use the hashtag #vegcoastcook so that I can see!

Want to make more vegan recipes? Try this next: sesame tofu salad with satay dressing

Vegan risotto cakes with pumpkin sauce

Vegan risotto cakes with pumpkin sauce are meat free patties that are ideal for dinner or lunch. Green lentil and arborio rice cakes with butternut pumpkin.

Meal Type Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine Australian-Inspired, Italian-Inspired
Keyword Vegan, Vegan risotto cakes, Vegetarian
Chill risotto in fridge 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 8 Risotto cakes
Author Veg Coast Cook


  • 4 tsp extra virgin olive oil (reserve 1 tsp for roasted pumpkin & 1 tsp for sauce)
  • 100 g onion (approx. 1 medium onion) peeled & finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves peeled & crushed (reserve 1 clove for sauce)
  • 80 g kale chopped
  • 200 g green lentils (dried) cooked as per packet instructions *see Recipe Notes
  • 1 tbsp fresh green herbs chopped *see Recipe Notes
  • 200 g arborio rice
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1.5 litres vegetable stock vegan (reserve 400ml for sauce)
  • 500 g butternut pumpkin peeled, seeds removed & flesh diced
  • ½ tbsp fresh rosemary chopped
  • 50 g wholemeal or multigrain breadcrumbs (vegan)
  • 1 tbsp rice bran oil
  • Fresh sage leaves


  1. Preheat oven to 200°C fan.
  2. Heat 2 tsp olive oil in a large frying pan or saucepan over a medium heat. Add onion and two cloves of crushed garlic. Stir and fry for 1 minute. Add kale, lentils and 1 tbsp of green herbs. Stir and fry for 1 minute.

    Add rice, salt and pepper. Stir and cook for 1 minute. Gradually add approximately 1.1 litres of stock ladle by ladle, stirring continuously until the rice is cooked and the stock has been absorbed (this takes about 25-30 minutes).

    Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Transfer risotto to a large, shallow baking tray, cover with clingfilm and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

  3. While the risotto is in the fridge, put diced pumpkin onto a large baking tray, drizzle over 1 tsp of olive oil and the fresh rosemary. Bake in oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven.

  4. Make a pumpkin sauce by heating 1 tsp of olive oil in a saucepan over a medium heat and add one crushed garlic clove. Stir and add three quarters of the roasted pumpkin. Stir and fry for 1 minute. Add 400 ml of stock and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. When the sauce has cooled down, puree it using a stick blender or food processor. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. To assemble the risotto cakes: take the risotto out of the fridge and remove the clingfilm. Wet your hands and shape a small orange-sized piece of cold risotto into a round patty that is approx. 7 cm in diameter. Place the patty onto a large plate or tray while you make the other risotto cakes. When you have made all eight patties, put the breadcrumbs into a large shallow bowl. Coat each of the patties with breadcrumbs and put them on a plate ready for frying.
  6. Heat up the pumpkin sauce in a saucepan over a low heat.
  7. Heat rice bran oil in a large, non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add the risotto cakes and fry them on each side for 4 minutes or until crispy. Near the end of cooking, add fresh sage leaves to the pan and the leftover roasted pumpkin. Fry for 1 minute. Remove risotto cakes, pumpkin and sage leaves and put them on some kitchen paper to drain off any excess oil.

  8. To serve (per person): spread a spoonful of pumpkin sauce on a dinner plate. Place two risotto cakes on top of the sauce and spoon over another spoonful of sauce. Top with diced roasted pumpkin and crispy sage leaves. Serve hot.

Recipe Notes

*Green lentils - you can use dried lentils that have been soaked & cooked as per the packet instructions or you can use tinned (cooked) lentils that have been drained.

*Fresh green herbs - I use a combination of fresh basil and parsley in the risotto cakes but you can use whichever green herbs you prefer.

Made this recipe? Tag @vegcoastcook on Instagram or use the hashtag #vegcoastcook

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