Quinoa Risotto With Mushrooms & Asparagus

Quinoa Risotto With Mushrooms & Asparagus | cookeatbehealthy.com

Did you know that 2013 was declared “The International Year of Quinoa” by The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations?  Did you also know that quinoa was a mainstay of the Inca’s diet dating as far back as 1200 AD?   Me neither, but I’m not surprised!  I’ve got a thing for quinoa.  I mean….I really love it….a lot, and apparently so does everyone else!  But please tell me I’m not the only one who, when trying to spell it, pronounces it in my head as kwin-o-a !  😉  Of course it’s actually pronounced keen-wah, but speaking it and spelling it are two different things!

One of the best things about quinoa is that it’s so versatile.  It can easily switch gears from a savory meal accompaniment or salad, to a sweet dessert or breakfast porridge.  But aside from the joys of cooking, and obviously eating quinoa, the health benefits are significant!  Quinoa is a nutrient rich food which adds many minerals, fiber, protein, and ‘good’ fats to our diet.  There is also some evidence that quinoa can act as an anti-inflammatory agent.  Quinoa is also gluten free and therefore an excellent substitute for those with gluten-free dietary restrictions.

Quinoa Risotto With Mushrooms & Asparagus | cookeatbehealthy.com

Since quinoa is one of my favorite foods I’m always trying to find new ways to use it by developing new recipes with it as the main ingredient.  Today I’m sharing a recipe for Quinoa Risotto with Mushrooms & Asparagus.  It’s a rich side dish that goes great with grilled chicken or fish, or by itself as a light lunch selection.  Typically risotto is made with Arborio rice because it’s high starch content is what helps lend to the creaminess ( the butter in the traditional recipe doesn’t hurt any either) of the dish.  But I wanted to try a version that has all the same rich flavors and creamy texture of traditional risotto, but with the health benefits of quinoa. Happily, the end result surpassed my expectations!  My Quinoa Risotto is still creamy, it’s richness comes from the addition of white wine (a risotto must), good chicken stock, and refined coconut oil instead of butter.  Add in two of my favorite vegetables, mushrooms & asparagus, some fresh thyme, a healthy dose of patience,  and….voila…..Quinoa Risotto!  The ingredients are simple, the flavors, however are not!  The end result is a dish classy enough to serve guests, but homey enough for a cozy mid-week family dinner!

Tip: There is a slightly bitter natural coating on quinoa called saponin, and most cooking instructions will tell you to rinse it before cooking.  But I have to be 100% honest and say I rinsed my quinoa exactly one time – the first time I ever cooked it!  Frankly it’s kind of a pain.  And truthfully, I can’t tell a difference  in the taste, so why make more work for yourself?!?

Quinoa Risotto With Mushrooms & Asparagus | cookeatbehealthy.com

Quinoa Risotto With Mushrooms & Asparagus
Serves 6
A rich & luscious spin on a traditional risotto recipe!
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
255 calories
29 g
5 g
10 g
11 g
3 g
329 g
628 g
5 g
0 g
7 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 255
Calories from Fat 88
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 10g
Saturated Fat 3g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 5g
Cholesterol 5mg
Sodium 628mg
Total Carbohydrates 29g
Dietary Fiber 4g
Sugars 5g
Protein 11g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 1 cup quinoa
  2. 4 cups chicken stock
  3. 1/2 cup white wine
  4. 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  5. 2 tsp refined coconut oil
  6. 2 tbsp fresh thyme
  7. 1 tsp salt to taste
  8. 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  9. 2 cloves, or 2 tsp chopped garlic
  10. 2 shallots, finely diced
  11. 1 pound asparagus, thinly sliced diagonally
  12. 1/2 pound baby bella mushrooms, thinly sliced
  1. Begin by pouring the 4 cups chicken stock into a medium saucepan. Bring to simmer and keep warm over low heat.
  2. Drizzle EVOO in large skillet, toss in diced shallots and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until shallots are soft and somewhat translucent.
  3. Add garlic, S & P, and coconut oil, stirring until oil is melted.
  4. Pour in the 1 cup quinoa, stirring to coat completely, and toast until very lightly browned, or about 5 minutes.
  5. Pour in the 1/2 cup white wine, stirring until most the liquid is absorbed.
  6. Begin adding the warm chicken stock, 1 ladle at a time, stirring very often, until liquid is mostly absorbed. Continue in this manner until all 4 cups of chicken stock have been added to the quinoa.
  7. After the first 15 minutes, add the mushrooms and continue cooking as above.
  8. After the next 15 minutes, add the asparagus and thyme, and continue cooking as above.
  9. Expect total cooking time needed to incorporate 4 cups of chicken stock to be approximately 45 minutes.
  10. After most all the liquid is absorbed taste for seasoning, adjusting as necessary.
  11. Remove from heat and serve immediately.
  12. If the risotto begins to dry out, add a small amount of stock to loosen it up again.
  1. By replacing butter with coconut oil, this becomes a dairy-free dish.
  2. It can also easily be made vegan by switching chicken stock to vegetable stock.
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I know this recipe takes a bit of a commitment time-wise, but trust me when I say, it’s well worth the wait.  But then, aren’t all good things?  After all…the anticipation is half the fun!  😀


12 Comment

  1. It’s such a delicious combination of flavors in this plate!!! It’s perfect for weekdays.

    1. Thanks, Ludmilla! 😀

  2. Such a hearty and delicious meal. I love the combination of mushrooms with asparagus.

    1. Thanks, Molly! I never get tired of mushrooms and asparagus!

  3. Kristen Greazel says: Reply

    What a creative use of quinoa!!! I love this!

    1. Thanks, Kristen! It was super tasty!

  4. Awesome dish! Anything with Quinoa is a winner in our house!

    1. Thanks Derek! Here too! 👍

  5. I had quinoa risotto at a Peruvian restaurant and was amazed by how addictive it was… I actually like it more than rice. Can I substitute the wine with water or stock?

    1. Oh for sure, Razena! I’d just sub more stock. And if you don’t mind dairy, you could add a tablespoon of butter at the very end to lend a little richness too! I much prefer quinoa to rice as well, and happily it’s a better choice not only flavor wise for me, but also nutritionally! 😀

  6. This looks so good! I will probably make it with my homemade veggie broth to keep it veggie, but I’m gonna make this for tonight’s dinner!

    1. That’s perfect, Alicia! Such a simple way to keep it vegetarian….enjoy your dinner and let me know what you think! 😀

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