Dana Slatkin

Mushroom Quinoa Risotto

Mushroom Quinoa Risotto

Mushroom Quinoa Risotto

To my taste buds, there is nothing more lusciously comforting than a risotto. The creamy texture brings me right back to my childhood, and the savory bits speckled throughout never cease to excite me. The only problem is that risotto is murder on a dinner party. Once it reaches that precarious point of perfection, risotto must be served immediately. A few seconds too many on the heat and it turns to mush. In order to achieve a risotto’s sublime texture, constant vigilance is required, leading to the inevitable neglecting of dinner guests.

But during a fortuitous pass down a grocery aisle last week, I spotted the thing that would put my risotto fears to rest. I grabbed the box and headed home for some experimenting. A few hours later, risotto was back on my dinner party menu.

The beauty of using quinoa in place of rice for a risotto is that you can cook it to the point of creamy doneness, leave it on the stove to cool, then microwave it piping hot again, and it will maintain its texture beautifully. This is because, technically, quinoa is not a true grain but a seed: One that is delicate, soft and crunchy at the same time. It is a nutritional powerhouse, too, packing more than twice the protein of rice, corn and barley, along with calcium, iron and all eight essential amino acids. In most supermarkets, you can find two of the many varieties, white and red. Choose the color you prefer and match the wine in the recipe accordingly. And remember, before cooking, the seeds should be rinsed once or twice under cold water to remove the slightly bitter residue.

In these warmer months, I might toss in some fresh peas or asparagus pieces and chives during the last few minutes of cooking; in the fall and winter, add some diced and roasted parsnips or cauliflower, a few tablespoons of butter or mascarpone cheese, and some toasted pine nuts on top. For a satisfying vegetarian feast that is sure to get raves, serve this alongside my Frisée Salad with Green and Yellow Beans, Poached Eggs and Sherry Vinaigrette, ending memorably with Berries and Chocolate Coconut Fondue.

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  1. Anabel says:

    Have to try it! I love quinoa.

  2. dana says:

    You go! Let me know what you think.

    Best from BH,


  3. Ashley Boe says:

    What a fantastic idea! I’m not a huge fan of mushrooms so I made a few substitutes suggested for summer months. I added fresh carrots with the shallot and garlic scapes. (I used garlic scapes because I was out of garlic.) I added fresh peas and asparagus. I also finished it with a bit of heavy cream (I’m a sucker for it). I served it with zucchini and yellow squash on top. Yum!

  4. Brittany Boe says:

    howdy, excellant post.

  5. Nicole Snyder says:

    We tried this tonight with the addition of dried sage, a combination of pork & mushroom bouillion simmered with bay leaf, diced pancetta, and a touch (or 2!) of heavy cream before serving. Fricking delicious! :) Love chanterelles, this was a nice hearty use of them.  

  6. GJohnson39 says:

    I made this as a side dish for crusted salmon – it was delicious! I did make a few small changes to make the dish fit into my diet and to use what was already in my pantry:

    Firt, I used cooking spray for the olive oil to reduce the fat. Second, I cooked the mushrooms and onions for almost an hour to extract ALL of their flavor before starting the quinoa (this is the technique I use when making mushroom soup). I only had button mushroom and some dried shitake powder – I added the powdered mushrooms once the first broth was absorbed. I did not have any white wine open, so instead I added a T of cream and a T of parmesean cheese. Finally, I minced rosemary, oregano and thyme picked fresh from the garden.

    This recipe is easy, can be made ahead, and was given a thumbs up by everyone in my family. Thanks for posting!

  7. dana says:

    Thanks for your suggestions. I love your sense of culinary adventure! Happy cooking and best wishes,


  8. Caroline says:

    This was very yummy!
    Made it last night to go with some grilled chicken.
    Didn’t have any white wine so used vermouth and used shiitake and baby bella mushrooms , also added some cream at the end.
    Thanks for the great recipe!

  9. Trisha says:

    Hi I really loved this recipe. Its super good. It has really helped me with my new healthier lifestyle by making feel not so deprived in my diet. I will be trying more of your recipes.
    Thanks so much.

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  11. Marnie says:

    This is a fantastic recipe. Thank you so much for sharing it. My first foray into the world of quinoa and it turned out beautifully. (even with the consumption of vodka spiked lemonade while cooking! )

    Do you mod if a share is on my own blog? I will be sure to credit you and link your post. Seriously, this is awesome.

  12. Dana Slatkin says:

    Thanks for the kind words. Beautiful horde you have! Yes, feel free to share with a link back please. Best wishes and happy cooking! :}

  13. Jacklyn says:

    In diabetic patients, no matter if lever gets affected?
    What are the precautions are to be taken?

  14. Dana Slatkin says:

    Since I am not a doctor or expert on diabetes, I would rather not advise you about your health. All I know is this dish is pretty darn tasty and rich in all the stuff that’s good for you!

    Cheers, Dana

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