I often find it remarkable that with limited amounts of ingredients, we can invent so many recipes. The risotto is an italian classic with variations in the way it is prepared. Tonight I wanted to use quinoa instead of rice, and other ingredients that reminded me a little about risotto, namely mushrooms and a creamy sauce. So I thought about quinoa, which happens to meet the gluten-free, vegan and paleo standards, to make a quinoa-sotto. By the way, rice is fine too. While I came up with the name, I wondered if others thought about the variation too. As I googled for the term quinoasotto, I found that many recipes already exist, most of which are not vegan. So this is our chance to create a plant-based version of the quinoasotto.
One of the things that matter, when going off from the animal products and traditional whipping cream, butter, cheese and meats, is to keep flavors rich. Another thing that matters is to keep the dish nutritious and filling, so that once you are done eating you feel full and satiated. If we don’t feel full, we’re going to want a snack. We’re going to want to eat later on, and that’s not good. A meal should be wonderfully satiating and keep you going for several hours. So I tend to add plenty of carbs to my dishes, and plenty of fats.
This plant-based quinoasotto combines several spices: garlic, sriracha, spicy sesame oil, cumin, ground pepper and fresh basil. I used avocado oil to cook the mushrooms, since it is more suitable for cooking at high temperature than olive oil, and added the olive oil at the end, as I usually do for dishes. This preserves the taste, chemical integrity and nutrients of olive oil. when you add it on your plate at time of serving. The quinoa is cooked the regular way, nothing special in this case. Finally, I replaced whipping cream with coconut milk, which added creaminess to the dish and just the right of liquid for the final result to be smooth to eat.
This vegan and gluten-free quinoasotto recipe provides a tasty alternative to risotto, using quinoa, mushrooms, garlic, coconut oil and a blend of spices.
- 4 cups cooked quinoa approximately 1.5 cups dry quinoa + 3 cups water
- 24 oz baby portobello mushrooms well rinsed and diced
- 10 cloves garlic adjust to taste
- 5 tbsp avocado oil for mushroom cooking / frying
- 1 tbsp sesame oil I used a spicy sesame oil for this recipe
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 2 tbsp sriracha sauce
- 10 leaves fresh basil
- 2 cups coconut milk start with 1.5 cups and add the last half cup if you like it more creamy
- ground pepper to taste
- olive oil optional, to taste
Cook the quinoa.
In a large frying pan, place the diced mushrooms on high heat and fry them with the avocado oil and the crushed garlic.
Add the sesame oil, cumin, pepper. Stir occasionally for about 15 minutes until the mushrooms are fully cooked.
Mix in the cooked quinoa, sriracha and coconut milk. Start with 1.5 cups of coconut milk and go for 2 cups if you like the quinoasotto more creamy. It make make it very liquid temporarily, in which case you can cook on medium heat for 5 more minutes to let the coconut milk reduce a little and the quinoa absorb it.
Finally, add the fresh basil on top, as well as olive oil optionally.