Risotto is one of those dishes that just tastes like fall – it’s warm, indulgent, and comforting. Thanks to a couple of simple ingredient swaps, this classic dish can now be filed under “healthy” as well. We substituted quinoa, a gluten-free grain high in protein, fiber, and antioxidants, for starchy white rice. Its consistency is super-similar to rice, and we actually find that it lends an even creamier consistency to the risotto. There are also options to keep this quinoa risotto dairy-free as well, without sacrificing taste. The addition of currently in-season fresh mushrooms rounds out our suggestion for a delicious fall dinner side dish, a creamy, healthy quinoa risotto. Enjoy!
- 3.5 ounces shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
- 1 cup shallots, sliced
- 1 leek, finely diced
- 1 1/2 cups quinoa
- 4 tablespoons organic butter (or coconut oil, if going dairy-free)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (plus more for serving)
- 2-3 cups of broth (veggie or chicken)
- 1/2 cup white wine (optional)
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a small bowl, cover the dried porcini mushrooms with 1 cup boiling water and let sit for about 10 minutes. Drain the mushrooms with a sieve, reserving the liquid. If the liquid looks grainy, you can filter it through a cheesecloth or coffee filter.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of coconut oil or butter with 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large, deep-sided sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add the shallots and cook for 5 minutes. Add the leeks and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the fresh mushrooms and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until they are wilted. Add the rehydrated porcini mushrooms and stir together.
- Add in the uncooked quinoa, stirring to allow the oil to coat the grains. Stir in the wine (or other liquid of choice) and cook until the liquid is absorbed. Stir in the reserved mushroom liquid and allow to cook down. Stir in 2 more tablespoons of butter or coconut oil. Begin to add in the broth, 1 cup at a time, allowing the quinoa to absorb the liquid between batches. Continue adding the broth in batches until the risotto is creamy and soft (about 20 minutes). You may not need to use all the broth. Turn off the heat and cover, allowing the risotto to sit for about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the parmesan. If you’re going dairy-free, feel free to omit this step. The risotto should already be rich and creamy, so the cheese isn’t necessary to achieve the correct consistency. Add salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste. Serve hot, garnished with chopped parsley and a drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil.
Kate McCabe is a nutritionist, yoga teacher and a wellness-and-food writer based in West Palm Beach. She is a contributor to Florida Food & Farm as well as other publications across the country. Connect with her on solfulhealth.com.