Spring Vegetable and Quinoa Risotto
Although this dish can be prepared year-round, fresh spinach and arugula paired with green peas – all wonderful cool weather vegetables – make this a delicious choice for spring. They provide “superfood” status with regard to vitamins and minerals, and quinoa is a great source of plant-based protein.
Quite satisfying as an entrée, it also works well as an accompaniment to other menu items. A nicely melting vegan cheese may be substituted for the Fontina if preferred.
3 – 4 servings as an entree; 6 servings as a side dish
1 tablespoon olive, avocado or sunflower oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 small to medium-sized carrot, peeled, small diced
1/2 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 cup quinoa, well rinsed (one color or multi-colored)
2 1/2 cups vegetable stock or broth, low-sodium or no salt added
1 tablespoon lemon or white balsamic vinegar
1/8 teaspoon (pinch) dried thyme (or ¼ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves)
1 cup each – spinach and arugula, chopped
1/2 cup fresh or frozen green peas
1/2 cup shredded Fontina cheese (or vegan cheese)
1/4 – 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil – drizzled at the finish (optional)
Freshly grated Fontina cheese – for garnish (optional)
- In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, and mushrooms, and sauté until soft, 3 – 4 minutes.
- Add the garlic and quinoa, and sauté for 1 minute more, stirring frequently.
- Add the stock, vinegar, and thyme, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low simmer, cover, and cook until quinoa is almost tender and translucent about 12 minutes. Not all liquid will be absorbed yet.
- Stir in the spinach, arugula, and peas; cook uncovered for about 3 minutes more.
- When liquid is mostly absorbed and quinoa is translucent, remove from heat; stir in the cheese, salt, and pepper.
- Serve immediately. If desired, garnish with a light drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and/or freshly grated Fontina cheese.
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