March 03, 2012

Quinoa Risotto with Mushrooms, Spinach, and Goat Cheese

quinoa risotto with mushrooms, spinach, and goat cheeseAfter finally learning how to make risotto a couple of months ago, then experimenting a bit with a beet and goat cheese version recently, I've been wanting to try other versions using healthier grains instead of white rice. I've seen a lot of barley risottos that sound delicious, but I feel like either my arm would fall off or my face would melt off (or both) if I had to stand above a steaming pot stirring for over 40 minutes, so I haven't been too eager to try one out!

Recently though, I saw a quinoa risotto (and can't remember where now) that intrigued me. I've already talked about my love for quinoa before, but I never knew you could cook it risotto-style. I loved the idea of replacing rice with a healthier seed, and especially loved that it wouldn't take any longer to cook than regular risotto.

quinoa risotto with mushrooms, spinach, and goat cheeseI decided to make a version with onions, mushrooms, spinach, and goat cheese, which all went really well together. The quinoa was cooked in the same way as regular risotto; I sauteed the onions and mushrooms first, then added the quinoa to briefly toast it, stirred in white wine until it was absorbed, then slowly added vegetable stock while stirring for about 25 minutes. The quinoa didn't reach quite the same creamy consistency as regular risotto when it was finished cooking, but once I stirred in the goat cheese at the end, it was perfect!

This risotto was rich and flavourful and I loved eating it for lunch all last week! I'm not always crazy about cooked spinach so next time I might leave it out, but I did like that it added a different texture and colour to the dish, along with added nutrients. Feel free to experiment with different add-ins and ingredients, just don't leave out the goat cheese, it makes the dish!

Quinoa Risotto with Mushrooms, Spinach, and Goat Cheese
Quinoa Risotto with Mushrooms, Spinach, & Goat Cheese

Adapted/Inspired by several sources, including Daily Garnish and Skinny Chef

Serves about 2-3 as a main course or 4-5 as a side-dish


4 cups vegetable stock
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced
8 oz package of sliced white or crimini mushrooms, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1/2 cup dry white wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc)
6 oz baby spinach
2 oz (about 1/4 cup) goat cheese
Salt and pepper


Add vegetable broth to a medium saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer. Keep it gently simmering as you make the risotto.

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and mushrooms and sauté until softened and lightly browned, stirring often, about 5-7 minutes.

Add the garlic and the quinoa and cook for another 1-2 minutes, stirring often, until quinoa is lightly toasted and fragrant.

Add the wine and stir until all the liquid has been absorbed.

Begin adding vegetable broth to the quinoa, a small ladle at a time, stirring constantly. When each addition of liquid is absorbed by the quinoa mixture, add another small ladleful. Continue adding broth and stirring for about 25-30 minutes total, until quinoa is cooked through and no longer crunchy.  You won't have to stir it quite as much as you would traditional risotto - if you like you can add the broth in just three additions and stir occasionally to prevent sticking.

Add spinach to quinoa and stir until spinach is wilted. Add goat cheese and stir until melted and completely mixed in.

Remove from heat, taste, and add salt and pepper if desired. Serve warm.

UPDATE: Two commenters below have noted that they thought this was just as good cooked as regular quinoa (without the risotto method), so if you're short on time you could give that a try and let me know how it works out!


  1. Girl you have me drooling :D I love everything about this!

  2. Mmm! Quinoa and goat cheese risotto? Sounds fantastic! I made a orzo risotto with goat cheese & asparagus last spring. I like trying different grains. Next I'd like to try a barley risotto I think. 

    Hope you are having a nice Saturday :)

  3. Looks awesome!!   

  4. This looks delicious - so healthy and such rich flavours! Thanks for stopping by our blog - it's always so nice to "discover" other Canadian bloggers!

  5. Mmm I don't think I've heard of orzo risotto before but it sounds delicious!  If you try a barley risotto you'll have to let me know how it turns out!

  6.  Thanks, Anna!  I just discovered your blog recently too and love it!

  7. Oh lord, I have to try this asap!

  8.  Haha, let me know what you think if you do!

  9. Nancy, this is wonderful! I too love experimenting with new grains and love quinoa (am eating it for lunch as a matter of fact) but will try this Quinoa Risotto asap!! Here is my Risotto Recipideo link for your readers because I think it might be helpful to see. Just substitute the Rice with Quinoa and follow your directions. The video shows a bouillon cube instead of stock for an easier version but I personally love using my own stock as in your recipe.
    Great post, thank you!!

  10. oh my...why did I call you Nancy when I know your name is NATALIE! Please forgive me, I guess that's what I get for burning the candle at both ends or maybe my age is showing lol. (forgive me!?) Love your blog! : ] 

  11.  Hahaha, no worries, I knew what you meant, and thanks for the comment!

  12. I tried this tonight! Worth the 30minutes of stirring. Paired it with butter pan fried scallops. Very complimentary! Thanks for putting this out there! even my quinoa phobic boyfriend loved it.

  13. My fiance and I made (and devoured) this last night! I am the amateurist of cooks and he's not much better, but the recipe was easy to follow, easy to make, and came out PERFECTLY. We loved it!!! Thanks for posting :)

  14.  I'm so happy to hear that!!  Thanks so much for coming back to share your experience, I appreciate it! :)


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