Spoooooky Beet Risotto (woooOOOooo)

For Halloween I have a spooky vegan recipe for you: a beet risotto with roasted sweet onion cream. Served in a roasted pie pumpkin.

I love Halloween. Is there anything better than spreading your wings, donning fancy dress, and indulging in treats? What isn’t to love?

And in a world of cutesy, fast, pinterest-adoreable Halloween treats, sometimes you need something gourmet, decadent, and gothic. Yeah, vegetarian (and even vegan) food can be decadent.

I never drink . . . . wine. (This is beet juice)

The key to the decadence (and veganism) in this recipe is the onion cream. Normally a risotto is finished with cream. But the heavy dairy can dull the fresh taste of the beets. So that part of the recipe is really not optional (and you’ll have plenty of extra so you can find lots more savory applications).

Traditionally, risotto is made with chicken stock and white wine, but this uses water to keep that beet flavor strong. I did add a bit of red wine because I had a few sips left over from earlier.

The one caveat going into this is that because of the red, it’s hard to see the texture of the risotto. So in addition to standing and stirring you will also have to taste for texture as you approach the end. I will give you the measurements that worked for me, but as you get near the end of the process you may have to make your own adjustments. When you think it’s tasty and a good texture then it’s ready. This isn’t Hell’s Kitchen. No angry Scotsman is going to yell at you and heave it across the room.

Definitely not the right recipe to make right before Trick or Treating with wee ones, but just right for curling up with a little Bram Stoker.

If you want to serve this in a roasted pumpkin like I do here, start the pumpkin first. It will take about 45 – 50 minutes at 400F.


Bloody Red Risotto

This recipe is courtesy of Chef Steps.

Procs: About enough for two for dinner.

Time: About 30 minutes

Difficulty: Moderate


  • Saucepan
  • Kitchen Scale


  • 100 g risotto rice (like arborio)
  • 100 g raw beets cut into 5mm cubes (quarter inch for those of us in the USA and Myanmar)
  • 70 g Onion, minced
  • 200 g water (200 ml), thereabouts
  • 100 g beet juice (200 ml) – you can make your own, but I suggest buying it
  • Salt
  • Onion Cream
  • Olive Oil


This is the classic, stand over the stove and stir risotto.

  1. Heat a drizzle of oil in the saucepan. Add the rice and onions and saute for about 5 minutes. The onions should get translucent and tender and the rice will have toasted spots.
  2. Add 50 g of the water to the rice and onions. Stir until the water is absorbed by the rice. This will take two or three minutes.
  3. Add the cubed beets.
  4. Add another 50 g of water and stir until absorbed. Repeat this until you’ve used up all the water. (One of these instances is where I used the last bit of red wine I had sitting around.)
  5. Then add the beet juice 50 g at a time.
  6. At this point the risotto should be tender and getting that porridge like consistency. If it’s not quite there yet then add 50 g water to the rice until absorbed. Do this until you get the texture you like.
  7. Add onion cream to finish. As much as you like. If you aren’t vegan then a moderate amount of Parmesan will go very nicely with this.
This is . . . . probably beet juice

MiniBoss: Onion Cream

Procs: About a pint

Time: About 40 minutes, mostly hands off

Difficulty: Very easy

Equipment: Blender


  • 2 Sweet Onions
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Fresh lemon juice


  1. Set oven to 400F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  3. Cut the onions in half along the equator. Don’t peel them. Rub the onions with olive oil and place them on the sheet with the cut side down.
  4. Roast the onions about 45 minutes until they are squishy.
  5. Slide the onions out of their skins and trim the stems and roots (kitchen shears help with that).
  6. Put the onions in the blender and puree for about 3 minutes. Add a drizzle of olive oil, lemon juice (start with half a lemon), and a big pinch of salt. Blend.
  7. Taste and adjust seasoning until it’s to your liking.
  8. Keep this in the fridge for future use.

MiniBoss: Roast Pumpkin


Procs: 2 hearty servings

Time: about 45 minutes

Difficulty: I’m embarrassed to call this a recipe

Equipment: Uhhhhmmmm . . . . . an oven


  • 1 pie pumpkin (you really want one bred for eating here), halved and guts scooped out
  • Olive oil
  • Salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. Rub the exposed halves of the pumpkin with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt
  3. Place cut side down on a baking sheet. Roast until tender, about 45-50 minutes.