Quinotto: Quinoa Mushroom Risotto

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It should be common knowledge that on occasion, I like to make up words. I hope you find it as endearing as my friends do. And sometimes, friends make up words for my food, as is the case with this dish. A really close friend dubbed it “Quinotto” and I just loved the term she coined. Deliciously fluffy, warm quinoa with a medley of mushrooms, chives, parsley, Tamari, olive oil and butter… AKA= Total Food Heaven. This is a really quick weekday dinner idea; and quinoa is so nutritious and packed with protein, that you could have this as a side or a main- entirely up to you.

quinoa meals

I first fell in love with authentic risotto during our honeymoon in Italy almost exactly 7 years ago. I believe I had it for dinner every single night while on the final leg of our trip in Venice. But one particular risotto stands high on my list, far above the rest. We went to this beautifully quaint, yet well-known place called “Ristorante Da Ivo”. I had a shrimp risotto that is perhaps one of the best meals I have tried in my short life. If I had to pick my last meal on earth, that would perhaps be it. Sorry, mom. Can’t compete. Any of yours would be my second.


It’s been almost 7 years and I would return to Venice just to have it for dinner on repeat. Forget the gorgeous sights in Piazza San Marco, with the picturesque waterfront and the sea of friendly pigeons swarming you. And the fantastic 3 times-a-day strong as hell cappuccinos that made me a “coffee snob” upon my return to Toronto. And the wonderful street artists and talented painters that line up the plaza. All lovely thoughts and sights, indeed. But I will go again just for THAT risotto! And a gondola ride.

In the interim, I will eat healthy quinotto. It’s not quite “Da Ivo’s” but it is delicious and probably good for my waistline, too.

mushroom risotto

Quinoa Mushroom Risotto

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 30 mins
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  • 1 cup of quinoa
  • 3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups of water (you could also use low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock)
  • 1 cup of crimini mushrooms
  • 1 cup of mini portobello mushrooms (you could also do oyster or shitake varieties)
  • 2-3 tbsp of Tamari sauce
  • 1 tbsp of grass-fed butter (or deodorized coconut oil for vegan options)
  • 1/2 cup of fresh chives
  • 1/2 cup of fresh Italian parsley (leave some parsley aside for garnish)


  1. Bring 2 cups of water (or chicken or vegetable stock) and 1 tbsp of olive oil to a boil. Add the quinoa, stir and cover the saucepan with a lid. Lower to medium heat and stir often for about 20 minutes. Remove from the stove and let it fluff- up, still covered, for about 10 minutes.
  2. While the quinoa cooks, use another saucepan and bring to medium heat. Add the remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil and mix with the tbsp of grass-fed butter, and chives. Mixing butter and olive oil is a nice little trick that will keep your mushrooms from burning or sticking to the pan while you sauté them. Add the mushrooms, the parsley & the Tamari sauce. Stir on medium heat for about 10 minutes. You may add a little bit of low sodium beef or chicken stock if you want to create a sauce-type consistency. It will pick up all the sticky reduction from the bottom of the pan and cook beautifully.
  3. Add the mushroom medley to the quinoa. Garnish with fresh parsley. I add a sprinkle of chilli olive oil and chilli flakes. It also tastes great with goat cheese. Enjoy!!!

Our honeymoon. Venice, Italy. September 2009. Picture taken by yours truly.

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