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Quinoa Risotto (Quinotto) with Sautéed Mushrooms and Spinach

by Lorena

This quinoa risotto is my new favourite when I need comfort food that doesn’t make me feel bad about myself. The texture is incredible with the mascarpone cheese and it goes perfectly with the mushrooms and spinach. Of course as always you can switch out the veggies or add a piece of protein to make this recipe your own.

Quinoa is an obvious replacement for rice. If cooked right it can be your best friend to use instead of rice as a side dish, in salads, soups and of course here in a risotto. It’s important to cook it al dente because, just like rice, it turns into mush if overcooked.

I couldn’t resist adding the roasted cherry tomatoes on top because I had just made a batch and their flavour is perfect for this dish and really rounds it up. Also, I’m loving that pop of red!

This dish is perfect for Valentine’s Day or any other romantic dinner and here’s why: it’s comforting yet it doesn’t leave you feeling extremely full. Therefore you can have an appetizer followed by this quinotto as a main and still have space for a nice dessert.

If you don’t like spinach you can replace it with kale, swiss chard or another deep green leaf. And the white button mushrooms can easily switch to portobello mushrooms for extra meatiness.

quinoa risotto

Quinoa Risotto (Quinotto) with Sautéed Spinach and Mushrooms

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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Low
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 2 people
Author: Lorena Salinas from Cravings Journal


For the vegetable stock

  • 150 g carrots peeled and roughly chopped
  • 150 g celery roughly chopped
  • 150 g onion peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 bayleaf
  • 2 l water at room temperature

For the roasted cherry tomatoes

  • 10 cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • to taste salt and pepper

For the sautéed mushrooms and spinach

  • 300 g white button mushrooms in quarters
  • 200 g baby spinach, well rinsed and stalks removed
  • 1 garlic clove
  • as needed extra virgin olive oil
  • to taste salt and pepper

For the quinotto

  • 150 g onion finely chopped
  • 150 ml white wine (I used Chardonnay)
  • 150 g quinoa
  • as needed vegetable stock from above
  • 3 tbsp mascarpone cheese
  • 45 g parmesan cheese , freshly grated (not granulated!)
  • as needed salt and pepper


For the vegetable stock (can be made up to 4 days ahead)

  • Put everything in a pot over medium heat and time 40min since it starts to boil. Make sure that it's not heavily boiling but rather that you only see a couple of bubbles popping at a time.
  • Remove the vegetables and bayleaf from the water and it's ready to use as a stock.

For the roasted tomatoes

  • Place the tomatoes on an oven tray lined with baking paper.
  • Drizzle olive oil, salt and pepper on top and mix.
  • Take to a preheated oven at 180C until they start to pop (15-20min).  These can be ready before you start with the rest because they are lava bombs when they're done.

For the sautéed mushrooms and spinach

  • Hopefully make these as you're cooking the risotto! Drizzle olive oil on a hot pan and add the mushrooms along with the garlic clove for flavour. Only add enough to cover the base of the pan. If you add too many at once they will boil instead of going golden. Remember to season them 🙂
  • Once done take them out and add more olive oil to the pan and add the spinach. Immediately also add a good pinch of salt to keep them nice and green. Use tongs to flip them as they cook. As soon as they go soft take them out or they will disintegrate. Discard the garlic clove.

For the quinoa risotto

  • Wash the quinoa throughly under running water until no foam comes out to remove the saponin that gives it a bitter taste and is also toxic in large amounts.
  • Cook the onion in a bit of olive oil on medium heat until they go translucent and soft.
  • Add the quinoa and warm up with the oil for a minute.
  • Add the wine and let it evaporate COMPLETELY or else your risotto will be acidic.
  • Start adding the stock a bit at a time as it evaporates and stop adding once the quinoa is cooked to an al dente texture.
  • Add the mascarpone cheese and parmesan cheese and mix until they melt
  • Adjust the seasoning.
  • Adjust the texture with extra stock if needed. It should spread out on its own if you pass the spoon down the centre.
Tried this recipe?Mention @CravingsJournal or tag #RecipeCJ!

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