Meat free Monday – Mushroom Quinotto

mushroom quinotto 3

Risotto is one of my favourite dishes, especially in winter. I actually find the process of cooking a risotto (the repetitive action of adding the stock and stirring) quite relaxing, almost meditative. However, because Jerome doesn’t like risotto, I rarely cook it at home anymore and I usually only get to eat it at restaurants.

I was looking for a recipe to cook at a friend’s house this week for a cooking/DVD night when I found this recipe for mushroom quinotto. Although the method of cooking is quite different, the end result is reminiscent of a risotto, although the nutty quinoa adds a completely different flavour.

As usual, I changed the recipe quite a bit. My friend doesn’t like parmesan so we used goat’s cheese instead. I love mushrooms so I doubled the amount of mushrooms as well as adding in baby spinach for some more green. We also found we needed to add more liquid so we added some chicken stock as well.

The end result was surprising, satisfying and delicious. It was also great the next day for lunch. The creamy goat’s cheese went really well with the nutty quinoa. I will definitely be making it again.

Mushroom Quinotto

Serves 4


  • 250g quinoa
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 250g mushrooms (I used swiss brown), sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 125ml white wine
  • 125ml single cream (and extra if you find you need/want more)
  • 125ml chicken stock (optional – we found we needed a bit more liquid)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves
  • 4 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 150g goat’s cheese


  1. Rinse the quinoa until the water runs clear. If you don’t rinse it you will end up with a bitter taste at the end.
  2. Place the quinoa in a saucepan with 750ml of water (the original recipe stated 1 litre but I thought this was a bit much). Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes until the water has been absorbed and the quinoa is cooked, but with a tiny bit of a bite still.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large frypan/shallow saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onions and cook for a few minutes until they start to soften and then add the mushrooms. Cook until the onions and mushrooms are cooked and golden and then add the garlic and cook for another minute.
  4. Once the onions, mushrooms and garlic are cooked, add the wine and bring to the boil. You want to let the wine simmer for a minute or two to cook off the alcohol. Then add the cream and season with salt and pepper. Bring the mix to the boil and then add the cooked quinoa. Reduce the heat and allow the quinotto to cook for a few minutes, stirring, until it has the same texture as a risotto. If necessary add some more cream and the stock.
  5. Once cooked, add the spinach, parsley and crumble in half the goat’s cheese and stir to combine (and allow the spinach to cook). Taste and season with more salt and pepper if needed.
  6. Serve and crumble the remaining goat’s cheese over the top.

Mushroom quinotto

Adapted (there are quite a lot of changes) from the BBC Good Food Magazine (January 2014) – Mushroom quinotto

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