Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Quinoa Risotto with White Beans, Arugula, and Parmesan

Borrowed from a book by Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., called "The Healthiest Meals on Earth", this delicious, wholesome recipe makes a tasty vegetarian meal that is highly balanced and nutritious. I am not a vegetarian, but I tried this today and loved it.

One of the primary ingredients in the dish is quinoa (pronounced keen-wa), an amino-acid rich seed that is high in protein; in fact, it is called a "complete protein", indicating that it contains all nine essential amino acids. One of these amino acids is lysine, which is essential for tissue growth and repair. Once called "the gold of the Incas", quinoa is actually a relative of leafy green vegetables like spinach rather than the grain in which it appears to be. There is much more to be said about quinoa, and I will elaborate more specifically in another post.

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup quinoa, well-rinsed
3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth*
1/4 cup pint nuts
1 can great northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup thinly sliced fresh shiitake mushrooms
1 carrot, finely grated
2 1/2 cups arugula, stemmed and chopped
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt**
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

*I used an entire 4-cup package of vegetable broth in mine because it dried out rather quickly.
**I prefer to use sea salt for its complex flavors and health benefits.

Cooking instructions:
In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute 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 heat to high, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until 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, about 3 to 4 minutes.

After the quinoa has cooked 12 minutes, stir in the beans, mushrooms, carrot, and arugula and simmer 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 with pine nuts.

Serves 4.

Per serving: 379 calories, 14 grams fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 4 milligrams cholesterol, 50 grams carbohydrates, 15 grams protein, 682 milligrams sodium, 8 grams fiber.

Thanks to Jonny Bowden, Ph.D. and Mother's Market & Kitchen for this recipe.


ann said...

this sounds delicious! i will definitely be making it for dinner tomorrow. thanks!