QUINOA RISOTTO WITH WHITE BEANS, ARUGULA, AND PARMESAN
Healthiest Meals on Earth
by Jonny Bowden
A nutritional powerhouse in tender form
Prep Time: 5 to 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15-20 minutes
Yield: About 4 servings
• 1 tablespoon (15 ml) extra virgin olive oil
• 1/2 sweet yellow onion, chopped
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 1 cup (175 g) quinoa, well rinsed
• 3 cups (705 ml) low-sodium vegetable broth
• 1/4 to 1/3 cup (35 to 45 g) pine nuts
• 1 can (15.8 ounce or 455 g) organic great northern beans, drained and rinsed, or 2 cups (200 g) fresh-cooked beans
• 1 cup (70 g) thinly sliced fresh shiitake mushrooms
• 1 carrot, finely grated
• 2½ cups (50 g) rocket arugula, stemmed and chopped
• 1/4 cup (25 g) fresh grated Parmesan cheese
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and quinoa and cook for about 1 minute, stirring occasionally. (Don't let the garlic brown.) Add the broth, increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the quinoa is almost tender to the bite but slightly hard in the center, about 12 minutes. (The mixture will be brothy.)
While the mixture is cooking, toast the pine nuts in a dry frying pan over medium heat until they release their oils and fragrance, 3 to 4 minutes. (Do not overcook; browning makes them bitter.)
At 12 minutes (on the quinoa), stir in the beans, mushrooms, carrot, and arugula and simmer (increasing heat if necessary) until the quinoa grains have turned from white to translucent and their "tails" have popped, about 2 to 3 minutes longer. Stir in the cheese, season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle pine nuts over the top. Serve immediately.
Notes from the Kitchen
• If you want to add a little more bite to the Quinoa Risotto with White Beans, Arugula, and Parmesan, try adding a sprinkle of Minus 8 or high-quality balsamic vinegar to finish the cooked dish.
• Try using red heirloom quinoa for a pretty dish.
• You can use fat-free chicken broth instead of vegetable broth in the quinoa, if you're not concerned about keeping it vegetarian.
• Don't limit your quinoa experience to just the delicious Quinoa Risotto with White Beans, Arugula, and Parmesan. Experiment. Quinoa cooks up just like oatmeal, and it makes a great substitute for a more traditional hot cereal. You can even mix it with oatmeal for an unusual "half and half." A number of cold cereals are now available that are based on quinoa.
• Quinoa makes a great substitute for a starchy side dish. It's great with a little organic butter and sea salt!
• This mild quinoa dish does well served simply over a bed of large- leaf lettuce. Or you can steam some seasonal greens briefly in a steamer basket as a side. Try it with whole baby bok choy in the late spring or young collards, stemmed and cut into ribbons, in the early fall.