Risotto. So creamy and delicious. Risotto gets a bad rap because it is typically very high in calories (cream, wine, butter…yum), and requires a lot of attention while cooking. This risotto however uses a very small amount of butter (1/2 tablespoon, compared to the average 3!), and it uses quinoa instead of arborio rice. For those of you that are unfamiliar with quinoa, it is actually a seed, and serves as a complete protein, you can find out more about quinoa here. There are 18 grams of protein and 9 grams of fiber in the one cup of quinoa used in this recipe! Quinoa is often used to replace grains for those with gluten-free diets. In fact, you can easily make this dish gluten-free, just be sure to check the label of your chicken broth. The brand I used does contain wheat gluten, but Swanson and Progresso both make gluten-free broths!
I’ll stop ranting about health now and get back to the recipe. I’d been dreaming about making a mushroom risotto with quinoa for a while now, and the rain we had earlier this week provided the perfect opportunity. I wasn’t exactly sure how well this would turn out, but I’m happy to report that it surpassed my highest expectation. This was so flavorful!!!! I had an extremely hard time pulling myself away from the pot to save some for Chris to try later in the week. You guys need to make this ASAP. Not only is it filling and healthy, it was ready to eat in 45 minutes! I ate this as a meatless main dish, which I strongly recommend. However, if you need meat in your life it would pair well with either chicken or steak.
Here’s what it took for two servings: 8 ounces of baby (porta)bella mushrooms, 1/2 yellow onion, 2 teaspoons of olive oil, 1 cup of quinoa, 2 cups of chicken broth (fat-free, reduced sodium), 1/2 tablespoon of unsalted butter (use less salt if you use salted), 2 tablespoons reduced fat Parmesan cheese, 2 cloves of minced garlic, 1 teaspoon of thyme, 1 teaspoon of salt (divided), 1 teaspoon of pepper (divided), and 1/2 teaspoon vermouth (not pictured). I used the vermouth to deglaze my pan, but this is optional. You could use a little white wine, white vinegar, or just be sure to scrape the bottom of the pan well when you add the chicken broth.
To begin the risotto, add the olive oil and garlic to a large pot over medium heat.
Dice the onion and throw it in the pot with the oil and garlic.
While the onions start to cook down, rinse and dry your mushrooms, then give them a rough chop. I used a pre-sliced variety to save some time, but you can buy them whole if you want.
Add the mushrooms in with the onions, garlic, and oil.
Stir to coat the mushrooms with oil.
Cover and allow to cook down for about 15 minutes. You may notice the mushrooms releasing water, this is totally normal! While the mushrooms cook down, rinse your quinoa using a fine mesh strainer. After fifteen minutes, the mushrooms will be nice and soft. Throw in the 1/2 teaspoon of vermouth to get all the goodness off of the bottom of the pan.
Now we’re talking…
Add the rinsed quinoa to the pot.
Now add the two cups of chicken broth.
Allow the broth to come to a boil, and then reduce the heat to low. Cover and continue to cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until all the liquid is absorbed. This should take anywhere from 25-30 minutes.
When the liquid is absorbed, add in the 1/2 tablespoon of butter, 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese, and the last 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper.
Give everything a good stir and serve immediately. Grab a fork and dig in. Leftovers also reheat well in the microwave, that is, if you have any!
8 oz. baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1/2 yellow onion
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 cups chicken broth (fat-free, reduced sodium)
2 Tbsp. reduced fat Parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. vermouth (optional)
1/2 Tbsp. butter (unsalted)
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. salt (divided)
1 tsp. pepper (divided)
Begin by adding 2 tsp. of olive oil and the minced garlic to a large stock pot over medium heat. Dice the onion and add it to the pot as well. Wash, dry, and roughly chop the mushrooms before adding them to the pot. Sprinkle 1 tsp. dried thyme, and 1/2 tsp. each of salt and pepper over the mushroom mixture. Cover and allow to cook down for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
While the mushrooms and onions are cooking, rinse 1 cup of quinoa. When the vegetables are ready, add in 1 tsp. of vermouth (optional) and scrape the bottom of the pan. Add 1 cup of quinoa immediately followed by 2 cups of chicken broth. Stir to combine, then cover and bring to boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once all the liquid is absorbed add in 1/2 Tbsp. of unsalted butter, and the remaining 1/2 tsp. of salt and pepper.
Stir to combine and serve immediately.