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Zara D'Cotta

Zara D'Cotta

Founding editor, Oh My Goodness
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Spring quinoa risotto recipe

Lifestyle — Posted 22/10/15

Full of the goodness of seasonal greens, this dish is a light and flavoursome refresh of a classic.

Risotto used to be my favourite thing to cook, but the traditional version would leave me feeling heavy and bloated. Alas, I needn’t have ditched my favourite dish! I’ve discovered a way to make a nutrient packed, lighter version that I dare say tastes even better.

Quinoa is packed full of protein, essential amino acids, fibre, vitamins and minerals. Combine this with loads of green goodness and you have a dish that delivers on nourishment as well as flavour.


1 ½ cups quinoa, well rinsed

2 tablespoons of organic butter (or coconut oil or ghee)

1 onion (any colour), chopped

1 leek, trimmed and sliced

3 cloves garlic, crushed/finely chopped

1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar or 250mL white wine

1-1 ½ litres of vegetable or chicken stock (preferably homemade or organic)

Seasonal vegetables

Use any combination you like! I use:

1 bunch asparagus, ends snapped off and sliced

1 cup peas

4 flat swiss brown mushrooms, thinly sliced (you could also use dried porcini mushrooms)


Juice of 1 lemon

Sea salt and pepper

Parsley (or any green herbs)

Watercress (or any leafy green veg) – one handful per serve


Olive oil


1. Heat butter in a medium saucepan or stock pot over a medium heat, fry the onions, two of the garlic cloves and the leek until soft and translucent.

2. Add quinoa, coat with butter and stir for one minute.

3. Add apple cider vinegar (or white wine) and stir.

4. Add 1 cup of stock and stir until absorbed. 

5. Continue to add stock 1 cup at time, allowing liquid to be absorbed before adding more. Add the peas and mushrooms halfway through, and asparagus for 1 minute at the end. 

6. Cook for 25-30 minutes or until cooked – taste for texture.

7. Stir through lemon, salt and pepper, parsley and watercress – adjust to suit your taste.

8. Serve with a dollop of labna and drizzle of olive oil.

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Image credits: Styling by Carlie Monasso, photography by Samara Clifford.

Extra   Try more delicious risotto recipes and vegetarian recipes.
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Tags   Food Lifestyle Recipes Risotto recipes Vegetarian recipes
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