14 Feb 2013

quinoa risotto with roast summer veg

Quinoa is one of my favourite 'carbs' (protein? legume? Let's not debate what it truly is). Usually I just boil it up plain, plonking a great stodgy lump into a bowl and topping it off with some vegies - rather like a base of mashed potatoes, to soak up the flavours - or fluffing it up a bit, folding thru more vegies and salad greens and a dressing or pesto, a la couscous.

But this week I tried a new way of cooking this nutty, nibbly grain (seed; whatever) - a la risotto rice.

It was a breeze to make: the same process as making a true risotto, but somehow easier. Less fraught with anxiety. Following the laws of risotto making, the quinoa expanded exponentially, so what seemed like a reasonable dry amount swelled in the wine and stock to become almost overwhelming. But quinoa is both filling and light, so I didn't feel weighed down as I would with the same amount of creamy risotto.

And it was delicious! It was full of flavour - fresh chilli and smoky paprika - and adorned with the most plentiful vegies of the season, tomatoes and zucchinis which had been roasted til soft and flavoursome.

How do you do quinoa?

Quinoa risotto with roast summer veg
Adapted from a delicious magazine (undated photocopy). Experiment with your favourite vegies when roasting.
  • First roast your vegies. I chopped a largish zucchini into big chunks, and halved some small tomatoes - enough to fill a baking tray - then drizzled with good olive oil and some salt and pepper. Roast in a hot (200) oven until soft and glossy (for me this took about 30 minutes or so).
  • Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large frypan and saute one finely chopped onion and two or three chopped garlic cloves until soft. Then add one small red chilli, finely chopped, and a good shake or two of smoky paprika, and stir around for a minute. You'll smell the spice and the oil will start to go a wonderful orangey colour.
  • Add one cup of quinoa and stir to 'toast' for a minute or so (as you do in risotto making).
  • Then add one tbspn tomato paste and 1/2 cup white wine. The quinoa soaked this up pretty quickly for me.
  • Now add liquid: I used 1 and 1/2 cup of bought chicken stock and 1 cup of water. Once in the pan, bring to a simmer, then cook until the liquid is almost all soaked up but not quite - keep a little soupiness to it (so add more liquid if you need). Stirring occasionally to ensure the quinoa doesn't catch on the pan (as it will towards the end), this should take you about 15-20 minutes.
  • You could fold thru your roasted vegies, or serve up the quinoa risotto and top it off with the veg, whatever you choose (I boxed mine all up for my work lunches, to assemble each day - hence the seperate photos!).


  1. Love the idea of a quinoa `risotto´! I don´t eat quinoa much, and I really don´t know why...!

    1. perhaps this may help you eat more, paula? i love the idea of how healthy the stuff is too.

  2. e, I have some Tasmanian quinoa from Kindred in my cupboard, but I've never cooked with it, because, well, I don't know why. It's out of my comfort zone? I am such a 'stay in the groove' cook, and love reading about your adventures. Quinoa, I can do it..

    1. jo, perhaps this recipe was so tasty and easy, so it may persuade you to finally grab that bag and give it a go! i'm a bit of a 'stay in the groove' cook too (love that!) but i guess i've added quinoa to my groove (okay this metaphor is getting weird).

  3. I am really interested in what you wrote here quinoa risotto with roast summer vege. This looks absolutely perfect. All these tinny details are give me a lot of knowledge.religion and food
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    1. thank you, and welcome to dig in! the roast vegies were particularly luscious looking, i'll agree.


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