Quinoa Risotto

Risotto was the first recipe I ever mastered. I was so proud of myself, I could make a recipe without even looking at the directions once. And to this day, it’s my husbands favorite dish that I make, I’m pretty good at it.
And I’ve recently had this fascination with quinoa (you pronounce it Keen-Wa). It’s a pretty amazing little grain, it has protein, fiber, iron, and even has some magical powers. Well, sort of. It is credited with preventing migraines, assisting in rebuilding torn tissues, lowering blood pressure and even promoting fat burning. Pretty much something I want to put in my body on a daily basis. 
I make quinoa salads for lunch at least once a week. Chop up whatever vegetables I can find, mix with a 1/2 cup quinoa and some balsamic and I’m set. Even keeps me full for hours.
This dish is a mix of those two loves, risotto and quinoa. To be quite honest, I prefer the rice version, but as far as a quinoa dish goes, this was pretty great. With all of those fabulous attributes that are in quinoa, I might as well call this Magical Risotto. 
Quinoa Risotto 
3 cups chicken broth
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbs chopped shallots
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1½ cups Quinoa, rinsed and dried
1/4 cup dry white wine (like Savignon Blanc)
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup heavy cream
Salt and Pepper
  • Place the chicken broth in a sauce pan and bring to a mild simmer, keeping to warm, but not boiling.
  • In a pan, toast the dry quinoa, stirring constantly, until you can smell a nutty aroma, about 3 minutes. 
  • In a separate pot, add the butter and allow to melt over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook until opaque, but don’t allow to brown. Add the garlic and cook until you can smell them, about 20 seconds
  • Stir in the quinoa, cooking until it is completely coated with butter, don’t allow to brown. About 2 minutes.
  • Add the wine and cook until the pan begins to dry, stirring frequently. About 6 minutes.
  • Add a ladle full (about 2/3 cups) of broth into the quinoa. Stir frequently until the broth is almost dry, and then add another ladle full and repeat. This process should take about 15-20 minutes. Don’t leave the risotto while it’s cooking, the rice on the bottom of the pan burns easily. If you run out of broth, just use hot water the same way you would broth. If you have made risotto before, just know that the quinoa version will require less broth. 
  • Once your risotto is cooked through (taste it to verify that the quinoa is cooked), turn heat to low and add the cheese, cream and salt and pepper to taste. Risotto should be soft and wet, not dry like typical quinoa. It should be firm enough to be served as a side on a plate, but soft enough to giggle when the plate is shaken.


Printable:Quinoa Risotto

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22 Responses to Quinoa Risotto

  1. claire @ the realistic nutritionist January 13, 2012 at 11:04 am #

    I’ve never made risotto and now I have to with quinoa. Yum!!

    • Jackie January 13, 2012 at 11:34 am #

      You need to make risotto! Start with the Arborio Rice kind. Seriously, its one of my Death Bed foods :)

  2. Tina@flourtrader January 13, 2012 at 11:11 am #

    Very creative of you to use quinoa to make risotto. I would have never even thought about changing up the standard grain used for this. However, the quinoa does amp up the health factor, so it is well worth a try! The picture does convey that the results are super creamy as well as tasty-yum!

  3. RavieNomNoms January 13, 2012 at 11:21 am #

    This looks amazing! I am in love with quinoa so thank you so much for posting this!

  4. Deanna January 13, 2012 at 12:03 pm #

    I love risotto. I’ve never seen it made with quinoa and I like the idea. Piece of trivia – quinoa is actually a seed, not a grain. That’s why its a complete protein.

    • Jackie January 14, 2012 at 8:35 am #

      I don’t think a lot of people know that! I wrote an article for Honest Cooking about quinoa and people where so upset that I had referred to it as a grain! Yikes, Quinoa riots!

  5. K January 13, 2012 at 5:27 pm #

    Love the idea! Is adding chicken protein overkill?

    • Jackie January 13, 2012 at 6:17 pm #

      I think chicken sounds great :)

  6. Sara January 13, 2012 at 8:40 pm #

    Man, I made a pot of quinoa tonight and it was BITTER! And I had sautéed some lovely spinach to go with it! I buy mine from a bulk bin usually and wonder if this is part of the problem… ever run into this Ms. Fits?

    • Jackie January 14, 2012 at 8:23 am #

      Wow. I have no idea, that’s never happened to me. But buying in bulk bins might be the problem. Did you rinse it really well? I usually cook in chicken broth rather than water because it gives it a better flavor. Maybe you just got a bad batch :(

    • Paula January 15, 2012 at 11:10 am #

      Sara, when buying quinoa from a bulk bin, you will need to rinse it before preparing your dish. Quinoa has a bitter coating that rinses easily. When buying it boxed, such as at Trader Joe’s, it is pre-rinsed and there is no need for this step. Moses boxed brands will say if it is rinsed or not.

      • Jackie January 15, 2012 at 12:39 pm #

        You are right about that Paula. I always rinse before cooking, even if it says “pre rinsed.” You just never know!

  7. Kim Bee January 14, 2012 at 4:32 pm #

    Jackie this looks super amazing. I really quinoa. There’s not a lot of healthy foods I actually eat with my IBS, most grains and everything wheat act as triggers. But for some reason quinoa does not upset my tummy. And I love the nutty taste. This looks really good. Beautiful photos.

  8. Lauren January 15, 2012 at 12:28 pm #

    How many servings does this recipe make? It sounds wonderful!

    • Jackie January 15, 2012 at 12:38 pm #

      Thanks Lauren! It makes about 4 servings.

  9. Lindsey@Lindselicious January 15, 2012 at 2:44 pm #

    Bookmarked!! I can’t wait to try this! Risotto but better for you!

  10. Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. January 15, 2012 at 8:23 pm #

    I really love that you used quinoa because I love risotto, but don’t each much rice because of all the starch and carbs. This is a great alternative!

  11. Jennifer January 28, 2012 at 5:19 am #

    This looks delish! I was wondering, is there anything I can switch out for the heavy cream to try and keep it a bit weight watchers friendlier?
    Thanks!

    • Jackie January 28, 2012 at 7:53 am #

      Risotto is definitely not WW friendly! But I would try fat free sour cream, and half the cheese.

  12. Maggie @ Kitchie Coo February 6, 2012 at 2:34 pm #

    I was just thinking about trying quinoa in a risotto today! So glad I came across this post so I know its possible. Isn’t quinoa amazing?!

  13. Rae April 10, 2013 at 4:31 pm #

    This was amazing! I was a little nervous, but it turned out great. I did add a 1/2 tsp of turmeric at my son’s suggestion and a little feta, cause who doesn’t love feta, and it was over the moon good!
    Thanks for sharing!

    • Jackie April 10, 2013 at 6:36 pm #

      Oh good! Glad you liked it :)

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