Recipe: Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto with Maple Syrup Almonds

Put that gourd to good use with this carbo-loading, butternut squash recipe for pre-race energy
April 18, 2014

A Go Faster Food favorite of 2012 Team GB Olympian marathon runner Claire Hallissey, this delicious combo of super-healthy butternut squash, risotto rice, almonds and parmesan is quick to cook, nourishing and sustaining.  With 104g of slow-release carbohydrate per serving, it makes an effective choice for a carbo-loading recipe. Light, yet comforting, for me it usually induces a good night’s sleep too, which always helps before an important race!

An excellent source of the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory beta-carotene (vitamin A), vitamin C, as well as minerals such as potassium, copper and zinc, and dietary fiber, butternut squash is a fabulous vegetable for athletes. Prepare the perfect pre-race food with the Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto recipe below. If you fancy a little meat with this, broil a few pieces of bacon until crisp and arrange on top to serve.

Prep – 5 mins 

Cook– 25 mins

Ingredients to serve 4 for Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto:

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed and cut into 2cm cubes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • small handful of flaked almonds
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup, diluted with a few drops of water
  • 3 pats unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 350g risotto rice - vialone nano or arborio
  • 225ml dry white wine (optional, could use extra stock instead)
  • 12.5-15 dl vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 tsp saffron strands (optional)
  • 75g freshly grated parmesan


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6.
  2. Put the squash on a baking tray, toss it with 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp salt and some black pepper.  Roast in the oven for 25 minutes, or until the squash is tender and golden, stirring once or twice.
  3. Meanwhile mix the almonds with the maple syrup and water and bake on a baking tray in the oven for about 5 minutes until crisp.
  4. Melt the butter with remaining olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed pan. Gently sauté the onion until it becomes translucent, then add the garlic and sauté for a minute, without allowing it to brown. Add the rice and stir until the grains become translucent and glossy. Stir in the wine and cook for a couple of minutes until completely absorbed. Stir in the saffron, then add the hot stock, a ladle at a time, stirring slowly but constantly. Each ladleful of stock should be absorbed by the rice before adding the next, although the exact amount you need will depend on the absorbency of your rice.
  5. After 18-20 minutes, when the rice is tender and creamy, turn off the heat. Taste for seasoning, and stir in the parmesan, butternut squash and butter. Let the mixture stand for a couple of minutes.
  6. Serve with the almonds and some parmesan shavings.


Kate Percy

Running, Triathlon
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Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto Nutrition

  • 698Cal
  • 104
  • 18g
  • 22g
  • 1.7g
  • 4g