entrees, savory, sides
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Quinoa Mushroom “Risotto”

Quinoa is weird. I found a few salads to make with it last summer that I enjoyed, but only because they were loaded with salami and cheese and olive oil (and they really were delicious). Since then I’ve had half a bag of quinoa in my cupboard that even made the cut in a move across town yet has remained untouched. I used it in place of arriboro rice for an attempt at a healthier version of “risotto” and now I’ve made variations of it twice since.

Start with onion and garlic (a universal rule in my kitchen). The onion I used was small – about 1/2 cup when diced up – and 2 cloves of garlic that equated to about a tablespoon if you’re using jarred garlic.

Please don’t use jarred garlic.

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Chop and dice to your liking and toss them in a pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and spice it up. I used salt, pepper, cayenne, celery seed and cumin. The combination was quite good. I wish I could tell you how much – probably about a tsp of each? I’ll start measuring someday, I promise.

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For the mushroom component (this is supposed to be a mushroom risotto after all) I grabbed a mix of about 10 baby bellas, white and crimini.

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Clean off the hard woody end and chop them up. Don’t throw away the stems, they can be cleaned and cook up just as nice.

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Add them to your onions and garlic that should smell awesome and be fairly translucent by now.

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Cook down the mushrooms about 5-10 minutes. Enough so that they’re soft, but not so much you can no longer identify the ingredients you started with.

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Add some acidity. Normally I’d go for the white balsamic, but the chosen cheese was feta and the lemon was begging to be a part of the action.

She was extra juicy, so I only used half.

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When your flavor base has cooked down appropriately, it’s time for the grain. Please disregard the “use by July 2012” – I swear it worked just fine. It’s simply an ugly reminder of how long it’s taken me to get on this bandwagon.

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Add 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups broth (I used vegetable – use whatever you have on hand) to your mushrooms.

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Bring to a boil and turn down the heat to low. Simmer covered on low, stirring every couple of minutes until the liquid is absorbed.

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When the liquid has about 90% absorbed, add your cheese to let it mix it and start to melt.

3/4 C Reduced Fat Feta, please.

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I served it with some shrimp scampi, but it would make a great side dish to any protein.

Or all by itself in a bowl (fork option).

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Or let it sit in the fridge for 2 days and then make quinoa cakes (stay tuned).

The Facts

Calories: 300 – Carbs: 36.6g – Fat: 12.6g – Protein: 12.4g – Fiber: 3.4g

(Serves 4)

This entry was posted in: entrees, savory, sides

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Hi, I'm The Ginger! Or Whitney, whichever you prefer. I'm in finance to pay the rent, but someday I'm hoping to find a way to make it through life as a self-taught chef, sundress designer and helicopter dog mom. I love to cook but don't do it enough. I hate to run but keep signing up for races. I'm a foodie with a shameful obsession with McDonald's. My sewing machine and piano are collecting too much dust. I'm trying to fix it one day at a time. Come on in, let's hang out.

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