Mushroom quinoa “risotto” with roasted tomatoes


While I love risotto, sometimes it feels a little heavy for dinner (particularly if I am eating close to bedtime). A solution? Use another of my favourite ingredients in place of rice..


The added bonus being that it is quicker to prepare and packed with protein (especially if you are opting to otherwise keep the dish vegetarian).

On this occasion, I packed out the ‘risotto’ with mushrooms, zucchini and a good helping of spinach. The overall result was full of flavour, but not too heavy, and it turned out to be quite the tasty midweek meal.

img_1130 Finished with some cherry tomatoes that I had roasted in the oven until soft and starting to caramelise – which added nice little sweet bursts to the dish.

I’ll have to remember this dish for next time I have vegetarian friends in town!

Mushroom quinoa “risotto” with roasted tomatoes (serves 2)

  • 100g cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 0.5 cups water
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 200g mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 brown onion, diced
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • 1/2 cup tri-colour quinoa
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Place tomatoes on a lined backing tray and spray lightly with oil. Roast for 10 minutes or until starting to soften.
  2. Bring stock and water to a simmer in a small saucepan. Lower heat.
  3. Heat oil in a separate fry-pan over medium heat. Add mushrooms and onion and cook for a few minutes, or until starting to colour.
  4. Add the garlic and zucchini, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. Add the quinoa and stir for 1 minute, coating the grains in oil.
  6. Add the warm stock mixture, one ladle at a time. Stir until the liquid has been absorbed before adding the next. Repeat until all the stock is used and the quinoa is cooked.
  7. Stir through the parmesan and spinach, and stir until the spinach has wilted.
  8. Divide the risotto amongst two serving bowls, and top with the roasted tomatoes.



Spring vegetable miso risotto

IMG_4585 Ever have one of those ‘why didn’t I think of that’ moments when you read a recipe? I sure did when I came across a recipe for a spring vegetable miso risotto in a recent edition of the Taste magazine. It substituted miso paste + water for stock, and sake for white wine, transforming the usually Italian-influenced dish into one with a  Japanese feel. IMG_2022 And, well I am rather partial to Japanese food, and even had a bottle of Japanese wine in the cupboard from the last time we visited! IMG_4588 Perfect! Needless to say, I wasted no time in adding the dish to our weekly meal plan, and no time in sharing the photos with you. For it truly was scrumptious, and thoroughly enjoyed by all in our household. IMG_4581 The other ingredients were rather Spring-like, with the addition of asparagus, corn and snowpeas.  I forgot to sprinkle the top with sesame seeds, although that would have been a great addition too. IMG_4582 I was so pleased with the flavour of this risotto, that I have already decided that I will be making it next time my vegetarian friend is in town! IMG_2170 Spring vegetable miso risotto (taken from Taste magazine, with some substitutions / alterations). Serves 2 adults + 2 kids.

  • 1L hot water
  • 1/4 cup white miso paste
  • 1/4 cup mirin
  • 1tbs rice wine
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs sesame oil
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 270g aborio rice
  • 1/4 cup Japanese wine (or sake)
  • 1 corncob – kernels removed
  • 1 bunch asparagus, sliced
  • 200g snow peas, sliced thinly
  • toasted sesame seeds and parmesan cheese to serve
  1. Combine water, miso paste, mirin and rice wine in a small saucepan. Bring to a gentle simmer.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large frypan, heat the oils, garlic and ginger – stirring. Add the rice, stirring to coat.
  3. Add the wine, and allow to evaporate.
  4. Add the miso mixture, one ladle at a time, stirring well until the liquid is absorbed. Continue until all the miso mixture has been incorporated and the rice is almost cooked (this took me about 15-20 minutes).
  5. Add the corn, asparagus and peas, and allow to heat through.
  6. Divide among serving bowls, and sprinkle with sesame seeds and cheese.

What about you? Have you ever been to Japan?

Chicken and mushroom quinoa risotto

IMG_4221 Happy Monday lovely people! Let’s start the week off with a recent dinner that wasn’t created in the slow cooked. Yes, rare I know. Recently, at least. I can’t even remember where the inspiration for this dish came from. It probably had something to do with my ongoing love affair with quinoa, and a bunch of vegetables in the crisper that needed to be used. Quinoa, garlic , shallots and white wine – simmered with ladles of stock until cooked. IMG_4208 Finished with a mushrooms, tomatoes, spinach and chicken… IMG_4210IMG_4214IMG_4218 And served with a big sprinkling of parmesan cheese. IMG_4220 The end result being a lovely new take on an old classic, full of protein and flavour, but without the heaviness of a regular risotto. IMG_4224 Chicken and mushroom quinoa risotto (serves 2 – 3)

  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 600ml stock
  • 100g cherry tomatoes
  • 400g cooked chicken, diced
  • 100g mushrooms, sliced
  • Handful spinach
  • Grated parmesan to serve
  1. Place stock in a medium saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer.
  2. Meanwhile, sauté shallots and garlic in a little olive oil in a large frypan, until starting to soften. Add the quinoa, stirring to coat.
  3. Add the wine, and allow to evaporate.
  4. Add the warm stock – a ladleful at a time, simmering over a medium heat. Continue cooking, stirring as needed, for 15 minutes or so, or until all the stock has been added and the quinoa is cooked.
  5. Add the remaining ingredients, and allow to heat through.
  6. Divide among serving bowls and top with grated parmesan.

What about you? Do you have a favourite risotto combination?

Quinoa and roasted vegetable “risotto”

IMG_0103 This meal, enjoyed some time ago, was certainly a winner. But then again, when there are roasted vegetables involved – you can’t really go wrong can you? It was called a ‘risotto’ but you had to keep an open mind. For it didn’t have the creaminess of a traditional risotto – but it did have a lot of flavour. First – the roast vegetables. In my case, I used pumpkin, capsicum and a couple mushrooms. Drizzled with olive oil and baked for 20 minutes or so. IMG_0090IMG_0094 Meanwhile – I sautéed some garlic in a little olive oil – then added a cup of quinoa – allowing the grains to be coated. Next, some vegetable stock, and cooked on low until the quinoa had absorbed the liquid. To finish – it couldn’t be simpler. In went the roasted vegetables, a good amount of baby spinach and thyme leaves, a little parmesan cheese and a sprinkling of lemon zest. IMG_0097 Piled high on a plate – and topped with a little extra parmesan. IMG_0101 We really enjoyed this vegetarian meal. Simple to prepare – and packed with flavour, I quickly declared that it was being added to “the list”. IMG_0100 And with quinoa as the base – you could really flavour the dish with whatever vegetables you had on hand. I think sweet potato or semi dried tomatoes would also work beautifully…. IMG_0105 What about you? Cooked any ‘winners’ recently?

Malay beef risotto

As far as random dinners go, this would have to be one of them. IMG_8563 - Copy I came across the recipe in an old “rice” recipe book, which if the cover is to be believed, I picked up from a second hand sale for 50 cents. It was a little bit satay, a little bit risotto. Two things you wouldn’t normally see together…. IMG_8552 Spring onions, garlic, cumin and chilli. Sautéed until aromatic, then combined with sliced beef. IMG_8554 Turned into ‘risotto’ – with the addition of aborio rice and beef stock, flavoured with peanut butter, soy and rice wine. Then bulked up with shredded cabbage. IMG_8556 The result? A rather lovely rice dish – but I would most certainly not call it a risotto. Tasty, but not brilliant. Perhaps it needed some fresh herbs, or some dried shallots for crunch? IMG_8561 Either way  – I can’t say I was sold. I think I’ll keep my satays and risottos separate from here on Winking smile  What about you? Tried any unique flavour combinations lately?

Honey pumpkin risotto take 2

IMG_3007 When this gorgeous pumpkin graced our countertop, I knew exactly what I would make with it. Something hearty, something warming… IMG_2992 Risotto! IMG_2994 But not just any risotto. A honey pumpkin risotto – for those two ingredients seem to go together so very well indeed. IMG_2997 I basically followed this recipe, roasting the peeled diced pumpkin that I had drizzled with olive oil and honey. IMG_2998 Then got to work on the risotto itself. Onion, garlic, white wine, aborio rice and stock. IMG_3000 Gradually cooked, stirring, stirring, until I had myself a big pan of creamy risotto. Finished with the honey pumpkin, parmesan, lemon zest and parsley. IMG_3001IMG_2999 All together now! IMG_3002 Well I was looking for a meal that was hearty, and warming, and that is exactly what I got. IMG_3004 I particularly loved the little bites of caramelised pumpkin, with their hints of honeyed goodness. IMG_3005 A dish that again proved to me why I love risotto – it is so very versatile! IMG_3012 Not to mention being a favourite of the little one too! IMG_3016 What about you? How do you like to cook with pumpkin?

Pumpkin and silverbeet pearl barley risotto

IMG_1091 Since falling in love with silverbeet a few months ago now, it is not unusual for a bunch to find its way into my trolley during a supermarket wander. Generally inexpensive, brimming with nutrients, its no surprise that it is one of my favourite vegetables at the moment. IMG_1063 While I tend to stir it through a warm salad or stir-fry, I decided to get a little creative with my latest bunch. I also had a small pumpkin from leftover from our vegetable box, and was quite intrigued  ‘silverbeet + pumpkin’, typed into a search engine, returned the most delightful sounding silverbeet and pumpkin risotto. But not just any risotto, a pearl barley risotto. IMG_1060 You can find the recipe I followed here. IMG_1062 Like all good risottos, this one took time. I started by steaming the pumpkin, then processing it into a puree. Meanwhile, I sautéed sliced leek and garlic until soft, then added the white wine – letting it cook until it was evaporated. Then in went the pearl barley, and unlike regular risotto, I added all the stock at once. Lid on, and let the mixture slowly bubble away for a good 40 minutes or so. IMG_1069 To finish, I added the pumpkin puree, frozen peas and, of course, the shredded silverbeet leaves. IMG_1071IMG_1086 Finished with a good amount of grated parmesan, and we had ourselves quite the winter warmer meal. IMG_1088 I really enjoyed this dinner. Hearty, flavoursome, and pretty damn healthy. IMG_1090 A nice ‘take’ on a classic, that even the little Miss gobbled up with gusto. IMG_1093 A winner all round! What about you? Do you have a favourite vegetable at the moment?

Herbed risotto with scallops and chorizo crumb

IMG_0653 As promised, here is the recipe for my competition dish. Truthfully, it is not a one-pot wonder, nor can you just leave it to bubble away on the stove by itself. IMG_0656 But while I normally favour quick and easy meals, slowly stirring a risotto and watching it turn creamy before your very eyes, can be rather calming after a hectic day. Almost therapeutic, if you please. IMG_0650 This is a dish that you could certainly make without the scallops – for the risotto itself, along with the chorizo crumb, is packed with flavour. I am fortunate to have a big 5 burner stove at home (which helps when preparing the various elements) – however I am mindful that it may be more difficult to prepare if you have a smaller stovetop. IMG_0651 But if you do give it a go – please be sure to let me know what you think! Herbed risotto with scallops and chorizo crumb (serves 2 generously)

  • Butter
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 brown onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup aborio rice
  • 1L reduced salt vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1TBS GG chunky garlic
  • 1TBS GG parsley
  • 1TBS GG basil
  • 1/2 TBS GG thyme
  • 100g Emmental cheese, grated
  • 1 sourdough bread roll, processed into bread crumbs
  • 1 chorizo, diced finely
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 scallops – roe off
  • 1 lemon – zest only
  1. Place stock in a saucepan, and bring to a gentle simmer.
  2. Heat 1tbs butter and a splash of olive oil in a separate frypan. Add the onion and garlic, and allow to cook for a few minutes until soft.
  3. Add the wine, and continue cooking until the wine has evaporated.
  4. Add the rice, and stir well to combine.
  5. Add the hot stock, one ladle-ful at a time, and cook while stirring. Allow the stock to be absorbed before adding the next ladleful. This will take around 25 to 30 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, heat a splash of olive oil in a small frypan and add the diced chorizo until starting to take on some colour. Add the breadcrumbs, and the thyme paste, and continue to fry until the breadcrumbs are nice and golden. Remove from the heat, and place in a bowl lined with paper to drain. (You can also pulse the mixture in your food processor at this stage if you would like a finer crumb – a handy tip given to me by Sammy at the competition!)
  7. When the risotto is almost cooked to al dente, add the peas and allow them to heat through. Remove the risotto from the heat  and stir through the GG herbs and grated cheese. Check and season if necessary.
  8. While the risotto is resting, fry the scallops in a little olive oil until the are nice and golden brown (this should only take a couple minutes).
  9. To serve – place the risotto into your serving bowls. Top with a couple scallops and a good amount of the chorizo crumb. Finish with a sprinkle of lemon zest.

IMG_0662 Enjoy!!!

Beetroot Risotto

When I opened our weekly vegetable box on this particular occasion, I was pleasantly surprised to find a big bunch of gorgeous beetroot staring back at me. IMG_1238 For while I love beetroot, I really don’t cook with it all that often (probably because it can be a little fiddly and finger-staining), and this now presented the perfect opportunity for me to get over my beetroot issues… My solution? A pair of gloves. And I got to work. IMG_1240 The first dish that came to mind was beetroot risotto. So beetroot risotto it was. And how gorgeous were the results! IMG_0175 I peeled the beetroot, then processed it into fine strips using my food processor. This then went into a heated frypan, with olive oil, butter and mushrooms, and cooked for 2 minutes. Followed by aborio rice and large spoonfuls of vegetable stock, allowing the stock to heat and evaporate after each spoonful. 30 minutes or so later, we had ourselves quite the lovely risotto. IMG_0171 Divided among our serving plates, and finished with a handful of fresh rocket. IMG_0176 My oh my – how vibrant and pretty this dish was. I particularly loved the contrast of colours between the rich red risotto and fresh green salad leaves. IMG_0174 As for the risotto itself, the subtle sweet beetroot flavour shone through, and we were more than pleased with the results. IMG_0180 A delicious dinner indeed. What about you? Do you like to cook with fresh beetroot?

Riding and risotto

Today started with this… P4290001 And ended with this… IMG_6605 Can’t complain really! Canberra provided a crisp yet clear Autumn day today – perfect weather for a late morning mountain bike ride. So with Charlotte fed and in the capable care of my sister in law, Mr BBB and I ducked across to the local single track trails for an hour of riding fun. P4290003 P4290008 Being only my second time back on the mountain bike in quite some time, we followed the same “beginner” trails as last week, but added in an extra climbing trail for a total of 12km overall. P4290004 (leaving the more technical aspects of the course for another day). I was pleased to find that I felt a lot more confident on the bike,  and even managed to get through a river crossing without un-clipping. Gotta celebrate the small things right???? P4290002 Here’s hoping that with more and more rides, my confidence and fitness (and skills) will start to return over the next few months. Until then…..let’s talk risotto. Lemon and leek risotto to be precise. Courtesy of a recipe found in this book. IMG_6595 It was only when I went to put the risotto together, that I realised it was an oven baked version. A perfect discovery to make – with a grizzly Charlotte making herself known. IMG_6596 Leeks sautéed in oil and butter…. IMG_6597 Combined with rice, lemon rind and stock, then into the oven for 25 minutes until the rice had cooked. IMG_6598IMG_6599 Topped with raw prawns, then back into the oven for a further 5 minutes. IMG_6601 IMG_6603 And finished with lemon juice and fresh parsley. IMG_6600 IMG_6604 Served generously… IMG_6605 As far as oven baked risottos go, this one was rather good. I was pleased that the rice remained quite creamy, and didn’t go gluggy – as some oven baked versions do. IMG_6607 The flavours themselves were light and simple, yet tasty. IMG_6610 Although you can’t really go wrong with prawns + lemon now can you!!? What about you? Do you have a favourite risotto flavour? I don’t think that I could narrow it down to one favourite. However – here are a few that have made an appearance in the BBB household:

Yes it seems that we rather like risotto Smile