Mushroom Quinoa Risotto

“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” 
― Julia Child

Sometimes (just sometimes) the best recipes come about by way of accident or experimentation. This week I have had the pleasure of hosting two lovely house guests and in an effort to impress them I was going to make a dish that wins over everyone’s heart…RISOTTO! 

But then I started thinking, as much as I love the starchy, creamy yumminess of white rice maybe I could step it up a level and add more nutrients and perhaps maybe even some protein…sans meat of course 😉

I set out on a task of finding the perfect recipe in my small library of cookbooks. I flipped through my “go-to” vegetarian bibles and was utterly shocked to not find any quinoa risotto recipes. I am sure there are some out there but I couldn’t find any in my books and I even have cookbooks with the word Quinoa in the title!!!

By now we all know the incredible nutritional benefits of quinoa: the only complete protein (meaning it contains all 8 essential amino acids, including lysine) outside of animal protein. Several whole foods contain protein but only quinoa has everything you need for protein absorption in this one ingredient. Along with being high in protein it also contains excellent sources of iron, calcium and B vitamins. And as an added bonus, its gluten-free! Mother Nature made no mistakes on this Central American grain!

But getting back to my accidental experiment, the results of my quinoa risotto were well received and so therefore I am sharing my lab notes (aka recipe) with you. Traditionally, a risotto requires a few months of pot-stirring along with a sore arm but since we are not trying to slowly pull out the starchiness with quinoa, you are free to do other things while making your dinner…like pour a glass of wine 😉

I know I usually sign off my blog with “Enjoy!” but this time I really mean it!

Enjoy the beauty of this perfect superfood, enjoy its creamy, nutty flavour, and enjoy the guilt-free consumption because it doesn’t get much better than this.

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Mushroom & Asparagus Quinoa Risotto

Serves: 4-6 people (as a main dish)

Prep Time: Approx. 40 mins

Ingredients:

4 cups of Vegetable broth (+ 2 cups of water)

7-10 pcs dried mushrooms (I used Shiitake & Porcini)

1″ chunk of fresh ginger, peeled

1 tbsp wheat-free tamari (or soy sauce)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp dried chili flakes

1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

8 oz cremini mushrooms (or 10-15 mushrooms), thinly sliced

1/2 cup dry white wine

2 cups of quinoa, rinsed and drained

10-12 asparagus stalks, cut in 1/4″ circles

2 tbsp Earth Balance

Truffle salt (optional)

Methodology:

  • First start with the broth. It is the heart and soul of this dish (as I have said before, its very important to get it right). Add your broth, water, dried mushrooms, ginger, tamari, garlic, chill flakes, thyme and bring to a gentle boil. Once it is boiling add in the chopped asparagus to cook. Reduce to simmer and leave it until you are ready to add to the quinoa. Make sure to taste the broth a few times to ensure the flavour, you may need to add a touch of sea salt.

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  • Using a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat on medium and add coconut oil. Then toss in onions and cook for about 5 mins or until translucent. Add sliced mushrooms and cooked for another 5 mins or until most of the moisture is gone from the pot. Then use the wine to deglaze the pot and simmer for other minute.
Quinoa (even organic quinoa) has a saponin (soaplike) coating and it is important to rinse this off before cooking.

Quinoa (even organic quinoa) has a saponin (soaplike) coating and it is important to rinse this off before cooking.

  • After you have rinsed & drained the quinoa add to the pot and stir.  Slowly add the broth mixture one ladle at a time and stir. I like to remove the asparagus tips from the broth before adding to quinoa to use as a garnish (but if you are not that fancy don’t worry about it :-)) Raise the heat to med-high to get a low boil and then reduce back down to med-low and cover with lid. You want to cook the quinoa until all liquid has been absorbed, this should take approx. 20 mins. Be sure to check a few times throughout and give it a stir.
  • Once quinoa is cooked, add the butter and truffle salt. Gentle stir and replace lid. Let sit for 5-10 mins. Then consume immediately!

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