Mushroom Quinoa Risotto |

Simple Sundays | Mushroom Quinoa Risotto

It’s been a rough winter. For many of you, incessant snow has been your been your adversary. For those of us in California, the drought has been ours. Don’t get me started on the winter illnesses. My daughter is home. Earlier this week, my son…

Mushroom Quinoa Risotto |
Simple Sundays | Mushroom Quinoa Risotto

Mushroom Quinoa Risotto |

It’s been a rough winter. For many of you, incessant snow has been your been your adversary. For those of us in California, the drought has been ours.

Don’t get me started on the winter illnesses.

My daughter is home. Earlier this week, my son had another turn at resting in bed. Between the two of them, I have not left the house in days, and the groceries are dwindling. My daughter, who normally is full of energy and bounces about like a jumping bean, can’t seem to get herself out of bed, she is so weak. January and February and all your germs, I’m so over you.

Mushroom Quinoa Risotto |
Mushroom Quinoa Risotto |

When you can’t get to the store, you have to be a little resourceful in the kitchen. The refrigerator was looking a little bare, so I took the opportunity to clean it out. Literally. Shelves were pulled and washed, and I had a good chance to pick through the inventory and throw away anything past its prime. I set aside the mushrooms, however. A risotto sounded like a good idea.

I’ve been thinking of making this Mushroom Quinoa Risotto for a while. And then I saw that Mark Bittman successfully used quinoa in a risotto quite recently. With just enough quinoa left in the pantry, I set to work.

Mushroom Quinoa Risotto |

You know what I love about this risotto, other than the obvious fact that it uses such a healthy alternative to rice? It comes together faster than a traditional risotto. Quinoa cooks so quickly, so a creamy risotto can be had in about half the time. I combined some dried porcini mushrooms with the fresh cremini, bringing extra depth to the flavor with the mushroom soaking liquid.

Mushroom Quinoa Risotto |

I hope you’re staying warm and healthy, wherever you are. Hang in there, spring is around the corner. We’ll get there, soon.

Mushroom Quinoa Risotto

Serves 4. | Prep: 10 minutes | Cook: 20 minutes

For a healthy alternative to a creamy risotto, quinoa works quite well. It cooks quickly, so be sure not to overcook, as it could get mushy.


1 oz dried porcini mushrooms
8 oz fresh cremini mushrooms, sliced
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 leek, cleaned and finely diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 cups quinoa
1/2 cup white wine (optional, otherwise use water)
2-3 cups chicken or vegetable stock, kept warm (I used a combination)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, plus additional for garnish
Flat leaf parsley, for garnish


In a small bowl, cover the dried porcini mushrooms with 1 cup boiling water and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Drain the mushrooms with a sieve and reserve the liquid. If the liquid looks grainy, you may wish to pass it through a coffee filter. Set both aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons of butter with the olive oil in a deep sided saute pan over medium-low heat. Add the leeks and cook for about two minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the fresh mushrooms and cook for about 4 minutes, or until they are wilted. Add the rehydrated porcini mushrooms and stir. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

Stir in the quinoa and let the oils coat the grains. Stir in the wine (or water) and let it cook until the wine is absorbed. Stir in the reserved mushroom liquid and let it cook down. Proceed to stir in the chicken or vegetable stock, one cup at a time, letting the rice absorb the liquid between additions. Continue until the risotto is creamy and soft, about 20 minutes. You may or may not need to use all the chicken stock. Turn off the heat and cover the pan, letting it sit for about 3-5 minutes. Stir in the parmesan cheese, and adjust seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve hot, garnished with chopped parsley, shavings of parmesan cheese, and a drizzle of olive oil, if desired.

Adapted from Three-Cheese-and-Mushroom Quinoa Risotto, by Mark Bittman, New York Times Sunday Magazine, and Wild Mushroom and Champagne Risotto, Fabulous Fizz by Alice King.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. Britney

    I am really loving the theme/design of your weblog.
    Do you ever run into any browser compatibility problems?

    A number of my blog readers have complained about my website
    not working correctly in Explorer but looks great in Safari.
    Do you have any advice to help fix this issue?

  2. Nina

    Not sure if someone mentionned it already but you have written “rice” instead of “quinoa” once in the instructions. This looks absolutely delicous, I’ll probably try it tomorrow! I don’t have porcini mushromms so I’ll use shiitake instead. Not the same taste but I’m sure it will be nice still!

  3. Denise

    Love this idea. I mean, I love it! We are huge risotto fans, and it is a staple in our house. Now it will be protein packed! Hope everyone starts feeling better at your home …

  4. Lisa {AuthenticSuburbanGourmet}

    Liren – I hope your little ones are on the mend to feeling 100% again! Love how you were creative and used some wonderful pantry items to make this divine dish of love! This is a must make!

    • Liren Baker

      Thank you, Lisa! They are all better now (whew!) – it was such a relief to have both in school for a full week!

  5. Aggie

    Ugh on all the sickness, not fun at all. This quinoa risotto is genius and my kind of food! Looks delicious!

  6. Maria | Pink Patisserie

    Oh goodness, this is just a lovely bowl of yummy comfort. I love the idea of a quinoa risotto! So healthy and delicious I’m sure! We’ve been sick too. Hope you all are back to well soon.

  7. Brian @ A Thought For Food

    The whole winter sickness thing really bums me out. I never get sick (or, at least, rarely do I get sick) but recently Eric got a flu vaccine and then he got sick and passed it along to me. So… I’ve basically been loading up on water, ramen and bourbon the last two days. And now I’m feeling MUCH better. Obviously you can’t use that trick with your kids (not the bourbon part, at least).

    I started doing quinoa risotto a few years ago… I think it was Bittman that introduced it to me, though it may have come from Food and Wine. So simple and delicious and just what we need this winter.

    • Liren Baker

      Water ramen and bourbon (the perfect antidote, by the way) may not work for the kids but that will surely work for me. Fingers crossed I don’t get sick. I’m just glad you and Eric are now feeling better!

  8. Shelly

    I love all the variations popping up on risotto lately and have been trying to find new ways to incorporate quinoa into my diet (besides the same old salad bit) – definitely will be trying this soon!

  9. Simone

    Pfft, i know what you mean… I thought for a minute I would escape those germs but as we speak I am having a horrible cold and feel not so well. O well, it will get spring soon. Not that we had a proper winter here btw.
    That risotto looks perfect! I love quinoa and have a large bag of red quinoa in the cupboard… Might try this!

  10. Monet

    So sorry that there have been so many sick ones around your parts. I know how that goes…it can be so exhausting! This risotto though? Well, it looks amazing. I know it would make me feel a lot better! Thank you for sharing!

    • Liren Baker

      Thank you, Monet. I’m relieved to say the kids are all better (for now!). I just want these winter germs to go away!

  11. marcie

    This looks so satisfying and delicious! I’m sorry your kids have been ill…my youngest had the flu this past week and it was tough. Thank goodness kids are so resilient that they bounce back quickly. :)

  12. Mindy

    First of all, I LOVE this photograph. Sort of perfection.
    I don’t do mushrooms, (I know, it’s a defect), but I’m all over the quinoa idea. It’s sort of genius, isn’t it? And even after my previous statement, I’m making this because my family will inhale it and I can pick around the big hunks. :) I’m having visions of this with piles of oven-roasted root veggies. Oh man, now I’m hungry for dinner and I haven’t even finished my morning coffee.

    • Liren Baker

      Gosh, thank you, Mindy! Risotto can be hard to photograph, so thank you very much! If mushrooms aren’t your thing (I understand…my daughter picks it out), oven roasted veggies sounds amazing with this!

    • Liren Baker

      I do agree, Sue, there’s nothing like a mushroom risotto — they do seem more luxurious than all the rest, don’t they?

  13. Rebecca

    We just had Quinoa yesterday and we loved it :D Recipe pinned and hopefully soon tested ;)
    Thanks, rebecca

Kitchen Confidante®

Kitchen Confidante uses cookies to serve you the best possible experience. By using our website, we understand that you accept their use and agree to our cookie policy.

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.