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Butternut Squash Risotto Balls with Creamy Cashew Garlic Sage Dip


Servings: 6-8 as an appetizer


  • For the Risotto:
    • 1 lb butternut squash, cubed
    • 4 cups vegetable broth (recommended: better than bouillon organic seasoned vegetable base)
    • 2 tbsp avocado oil
    • 2 medium shallots, finely chopped
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 cup Arborio rice
    • 1/2 cup dry white wine (or additional broth)
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    • 2 tbsp fresh sage, chopped
    • 4 egg whites
    • 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
    • 8-10 tbsp vegetable oil for frying
  • For the Cashew Garlic Sage Smear:
    • 1 cup raw cashews
    • 1 clove garlic
    • 1/4 cup fresh sage, chopped
    • 6 tbsp water
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp pepper
    • Optional: 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese


  1. Prepare the Squash:
    • Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss butternut squash cubes with 1 tablespoon avocado oil and roast for 25 minutes until tender.
  2. Prepare Cashew Smear:
    • Boil 2 cups of water. Place cashews in a container, cover with boiling water, and let soak for at least 1 hour.
  3. Cook Risotto:
    • In a medium pot, bring broth to a simmer. In a separate large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Sauté shallots, garlic, and sage until golden brown.
    • Stir in rice, toasting for 2 minutes before deglazing the pan with white wine or extra broth. Gradually add broth 1/2 cup at a time, allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding the next.
    • Mix in the roasted squash and Parmesan cheese. Spread mixture onto a cookie sheet and cool in the fridge for 20-40 minutes.
  4. Form and Fry Risotto Balls:
    • Heat 8 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
    • Form chilled risotto into 2-inch balls. Dip each ball first into egg whites, then roll in panko crumbs.
    • Fry in hot oil, turning frequently, until golden and crispy. Keep warm in the oven until serving.
  5. Make the Smear:
    • Drain soaked cashews, reserving water. Sauté garlic and sage in a teaspoon of oil until golden. Blend cashews with garlic, sage, reserved water, salt, and pepper (add optional Parmesan for extra flavor), until smooth.
  6. Serve:
    • Spread the creamy cashew garlic sage smear on a serving plate or dip risotto balls directly into it. Garnish with additional sage or Parmesan if desired.

Perfect Pairing: Serve these gourmet Butternut Squash Risotto Balls on elegant Annieglass Oval Server plates for a visually stunning and delicious appetizer.


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