You’ve probably heard of quinoa as a health food buzzword in recent years, and it probably evokes mental images of hipsters spending all their money at Whole Foods. These flavorful little beads have much more going for them than that, though.
Quinoa (pronounced KEY-nwa) originally came from the Andes region in South America, and is considered one of the seven ancient grains. These seeds are packed with protein, fiber, B vitamins, and more minerals than many other grain varieties. Culinarily speaking, they’ve been adapted into just about anything you can think of—pasta, salads, breakfast, gratin dishes, vegetarian burgers, and more!
One cooking method that I’ve quickly developed a love for is a spin on risotto. This take on risotto is vibrant, light, and built with layers and layers of flavor. You’re going to love the nutty, toasted notes of the quinoa contrasting with the bright acidity and sweetness from the tomatoes, the earthiness of the mushrooms, the juicy, savory bite from the sausage, and the familiar salty taste of the Parmesan.
If you’re looking for a refreshing take on a classic, give this quinoa risotto a shot!
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP butter
2 cups quinoa
1/2 medium yellow onion, julienned
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 1/2 cups chicken broth
12 oz chicken sausage links
8 oz grape tomatoes, roasted (click here to learn how to roast them)
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
3 TBSP chopped chives
3/4 cup grated Parmesan
In a medium sauté pan, cook the mushrooms with the olive oil over medium heat until browned. Remove from heat, and set aside.
In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat, then mix in the quinoa. Stir and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Add in the onions and garlic, and stir and cook until the onions are soft. Turn the heat down slightly, then pour in the broth one cup at a time, letting the quinoa absorb most of the broth before adding in the next cup.
While you’re reducing the liquid in the quinoa, cook and brown the chicken sausage according to directions, then slice on a bias.
When most of the broth has been absorbed into the quinoa, stir in the mushrooms, chicken sausage, tomatoes, white wine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, chives, and Parmesan. Cook together for 2-3 more minutes, then serve in bowls and top with Parmesan and chives.
Serves about 4.