Butternut Squash Wheatberry Mock Risotto

Tonight I had a mini victory in the kitchen.

I made a completely vegetarian dinner and Ryan didn’t even bat an eye at the lack of meat in the dish.

butternut squash wheat berry risotto 008

Ryan is actually pretty great about eating vegetarian dishes, but he’ll sometimes say something like, “I bet this would be amazing with chicken in it.”

Yeah, yeah.

You will eat your beans and you will like them! Smile

Well, tonight Ryan didn’t even mention the fact that no meat was found anywhere near our dinner. In fact, he said it was really great and “the perfect winter meal” because it was so warm and comforting.

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Butternut Squash Wheatberry Mock Risotto

  • Serves: Two as an entrée, four as a side dish
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 cup wheatberries
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 heaping cups butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into cubes
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 3 cups fresh spinach


  1. Heat oil in a medium size pot over medium heat. Add onions and thyme and cook until onions are slightly soft, about five minutes. Add wheatberries and allow to cook, stirring constantly, for approximately two minutes.
  2. Turn the heat to medium-high. Add broth and butternut squash. Stir constantly and allow to simmer until broth is nearly completely dissolved and butternut squash breaks down and becomes creamy (somewhat like mashed potatoes), approximately 25 – 30 minutes.
  3. Stir in Parmesan cheese.
  4. Add spinach and stir until leaves are somewhat wilted.
  5. Divide up mock risotto and enjoy!

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Something about this dish reminded me so much of creamy risotto, but with a chewier texture that I really enjoyed thanks to the wheatberries.

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This was definitely one of my favorite meals I’ve made in a while. I also think it would be a great side dish on Thanksgiving. The butternut squash in the dish simply screams fall!

And now I wish we had leftovers.


  1. Kristin @ STUFT Mama says

    Your victory in the kitchen looks marvelous! I have some huge butternut squashes that I’m trying to figure out what to do with. I have to try this (partly because the name makes me laugh). 🙂 I just might be able to pull this one off on my husband too (the whole no meat thing)! 🙂


  2. says

    HAHAHA you are so right..in my house, my dad will always say..”wow this dish is great, but some sausage or beef in it would be great.” Whenever I make a vegetarian dish and he doesn’t say anything..I consider it a win as well 🙂

    This looks very tasty by the way! YUMMMO.


  3. says

    This look SO good! I’ve been in love with butternut squash as of late, so this might just have to be on the menu for one of next week’s dinners! Where can I find wheatberries? I’ve never used them before and wouldn’t even know where to look.


  4. says

    I am definitely making this!! It looks fantastic 🙂 I did have to google the Wheatberry and now that I know what it is, it is on the shopping list.

    I even printed it out with a picture for my recipe binder (with many other Julie recipes). Can’t wait to make it.


  5. says

    I love the butternut squash and spinach flavor combination in this! I’ve made butternut squash risotto before, which is delicious, but too time-consuming for most week nights. I’m going to keep wheatberries in mind for next time. Thanks for the suggestion! 🙂


  6. says

    Yeah, risotto is one of those rich dishes where you really don’t miss the meat. I made a version last night with wild rice, red wine and caramelized onions. Risotto rules! I’ll have to try it with wheatberries–sounds great!


  7. Krystina (Organically Me) says

    Yum! I hate when I make some delicious meatless meal and my boyfriend says “this is good. but you know what would make it better? meat”. 😛


  8. Rosa - Fitness, Food, Fulfilled says

    I’ve never been able to find wheatberries. Do you get them at a health food store?


  9. Nathan Miller says

    Nice work. Butternut squash may be perhaps the best of all squashes. However, its the most work to use, but soo worth all the work. Looks like a very solid dish. Kudos.


  10. Anna Crouch says

    HA! I started cracking up cause my hubby says the same thing: “That would have been AWESOME with chicken in it.” lol Men……


  11. Stephy says

    Do you think this would taste good with quinoa? I really want to try this recipe, my boyfriend loves meat and pasta but wants to try and eat more healthfully. This looks like something we could both eat 🙂


  12. Mallory @ It's Only Life, After All says

    that looks SO good julie! what a great idea to use wheatberres- i absolutely LOVE their chewiness! i also love that you added spinach to it. yummy!


  13. says

    Yay, another fun way to use butternut squash. I’m on a serious orange foods kind of a kick right now, and can’t get enough of the squash. Thanks for this tasty looking spin on risotta. I haven’t eaten wheatberries much lately, so this will be a good excuse to get back into them again.


  14. says

    whoaaa this really looks soooo good!!! I love butternut squash, and I’m quite inspired to eat a boat load of it from here on out. See you next year when I’m turned orange 😛 And I think it’s suuuch a blessing when a husband or bf is able to appreciate even the least tasty dishes 🙂


  15. says

    There is so much deliciousness involved here, I can barely wrap my mind around it!!! I cannot wait to try this. I’ll never know for myself if boys won’t be satisfied with the lack of meat, because I have a feeling I won’t be sharing 😉


  16. says

    Yum! Seriously, so many of my favorite things are incorporated into this dish- I’m drooling just thinking about it. Thank you for sharing the recipe! I can’t wait to try it. (:


  17. says

    I’ve been loving butternut squash lately. This looks great! I love when my fiance doesn’t complain about meat-free meals. Lately, a lot of our meals have been meat free and he seems to love it. 🙂


  18. maria @ a life to Bragg about says

    Wow this looks awesome and wheatberry is SO good for you. I’ll definitely have to try this. And my husband does the same thing but I still truck along and make the occasional meatless dish anyway 😛 If he wants meat, he can cook it!


  19. Amanda says

    This looks delicious! I’ve had a bag of wheatberries in my cupboard foreverrrr and never felt inspired to do anything with them – think this may be the ticket!!


  20. says

    Funny every once in awhile I get the same comment from my husband ” This would be soo good with (insert meat here)” haha. I just tell him to cook 😉 Kidding, kinda… I try to cook no more than one vegetarian meal a week for him, boys need their meat I guess 🙂


  21. says

    I feel lucky! My husband is definitely a meat-lover, but if I ever make him anything he doesn’t complain. Probably helped that I’ve been a vegetarian since I was a kid. So he knew at the very beginning meat wasn’t part of the equation.

    This looks delicious! I’ll have to stick to the rice version so it’s gluten-free, but yum!


  22. says

    this looks delicious, and definitely a little different from what you normally cook! lol and i love that it was so good Ryan didn’t make a peep about the lack of meat! I’ll have to send this recipe to my sister in law and see if my brother says anything!


  23. Bridget says

    Recipe looks great — will try it tonight! Quick question though–at Whole Foods they have the Red Hard Winter Wheatberries & Wheatberries (soft pastry) — which one do you recommend? Thanks!


      • Bridget says

        Thanks — I guessed and picked the hard winter ones when I was at Whole Foods — now I’m reassured I that I probably guessed the right one. Can’t wait to try the recipe tonight!


        • MK says

          I get wheatberries in the Latin foods section in my grocery store. The label usually says “hulled wheat” in English. I’ve used both varieties interchangeably, but if you want a bit more chew you should go with the winter wheat.


  24. says

    This looks really good! I’m totally a sucker for creamy soups with spinach in them. There’s something about the spinach mixed with the creaminess and a good noodle. Mmm. So wintery!


  25. Jen says

    This looks fantastic! Soothing almost. Although I’m not a fan of wheatberries – is there a vegetable I could substitute it with? I made your slow-cooker sweet potato and chicken stew a few days ago – delish!


  26. Amelia says

    I made this last night and it was SO GOOD!!

    Due to a dwindling supply of wheatberries, I used 1/2 wheatberries and 1/2 barley. I think I actually preferred the barley! I also used kale instead of spinach (cut into small pieces and steamed first).

    Thank you for the wonderful recipe! It was delicious and easy – I am sure I’ll be making this quite often 🙂


  27. Mindy says

    I made this tonight except for I used barley instead of wheat berries, mozzarella instead of parm, chicken stock instead of veggie, and italian seasoning instead of thyme. I also stirred in about 2 splashes of milk at the end. It was delicious! Thanks Julie 🙂 I definitely will make this again and add goat cheese.


  28. Kate says

    I made this last week for a friend and we both LOVED it. I had an extra serving let over and for once couldn’t wait to have leftovers! I am thinking I may just make it for myself sometime and eat it every night of the week- I don’t think I’d get sick of it. I’ve been sharing the link with everyone I know, one of my friends has already made it. Thanks so much for sharing, such an easy/delicious/healthy recipe. It tastes so rich, but is so healthy. I could go on and on…


  29. liz g says

    Love your blog! I made this with pearled slow cook barley. Oh my goodness. Sooo yummy. Thanks for writing such an entertaining blog. A friend in Ocala recommended it, and we have since moved to Denver a month ago. It’s cold, and this was perfect for tonight, though my husband still said this would go well with fish. Some habits of not having meat are hard to take for men. Thanks again!!!


  30. says

    Looks creamy and delicious! I really want to try and make this soon! Check my page for a great Sweet Potato- maple quinuoaaa. Def more a sweet treat! Great recipes you have! What caught my attention was the name of your blog! I have a slight obsession with peanut butter 🙂


  31. Cecilia says



    • says

      i’m so sorry. it’s hard for me to understand how the wheat berries wouldn’t cook in an hour? have you had wheat berries before? they are supposed to be quite chewy when they’re fully cooked.


  32. Stacy says

    I recently found your blog and must say that I love it. I love that you are healhty and fit, yet normal and eat a huge thing of frozen yogurt and what not now and then, and feel great about it! I just tried the risotto tonight and it was fabulous. My hubby liked it too! Yay. I didn’t have wheat berries so I used Kamut. I did have to cook it alot longer and add more broth (expected), but it was well worth the wait. I posted it on my personal family blog 🙂


  33. Maria Beach says

    BRAVO, job well done!! This recipe is a winner with myself & husband. I added 1 cup of cut up chicken; pair it with a green salad, complete meal. Next time I’m doubling the recipe.


  34. Courtney says

    Hi Julie, Im making this recipe tonight and I’m wondering if you cook the butternut squash before hand, or add it in uncooked?




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