Summer Evening on the Patio – Quinoa Risotto with Peas and Caramelized Shallots












Searching for a recipe for a “clean tasting and not so filling summer” risotto?  Try using the versatile quinoa instead of arborio rice….  Quinoa has more protein (16.2%) than any other grain.  Rice has about half that amount.  According to The National Academy of Sciences, quinoa is “one of the best sources of protein in the vegetable kingdom”. The World Health Organization has rated the quality of protein in quinoa to be equivalent or superior to that found in milk products.  Quinoa has a complete combination of all life supporting nutrients, containing all eight essential amino acids. This balance makes it highly digestible and completely unique in the plant kingdom. Not only high in protein, quinoa is high in fiber, and vitamins such as riboflavin, calcium, vitamin E, iron, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, folic acid and beta carotene. It is also abundant in linolenic acid, the essential fatty acid that has proven to benefit the immune response.  It’s gluten-free, not sticky or heavy like most other grains and takes only 15 minutes to cook!  Don’t eat it only because it’s a “superfood”….  Eat it because it is so darn good!!!!

Quinoa Risotto with Peas, Garlic Scapes and Caramelized Shallots


1 cup quinoa, rinsed (must) and drained

6 – 7 cups vegetable broth or water

1 large garlic clove, minced

2 garlic scapes, roughly chopped

2 large shallot, peeled, thinly sliced

1/2 carrot, minced

1/2 celery stalk, minced

splash of white wine

1 cup shelled peas

1-1/2  tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme

1 teaspoons freshly chopped parsley

1/2 teaspoon freshly chopped mint

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

1/2 teaspoon black or white truffle oil or toasted pumpkin seed oil

opt: Grated manchego or parmesan cheese, toasted pumpkin seeds if using pumpkin seed oil

salt and pepper

  • Heat stock or water until boiling.  Remove, keep hot and set aside.
  • Heat small saute pan over medium high heat.  Add half the butter, let bubble and add thinly sliced shallot.  Let cook, stirring until caramelized.  Remove and set aside.
  • In 4 quart saucepan, add remaining butter, garlic scapes, garlic, carrot and celery.  Add 1/8 tsp. salt and stir until mixture becomes aromatic.  Add quinoa and stir for a couple of minutes.  Add splash of wine and let reduce by half.
  • Add peas and start adding stock or water.  Begin with an amount that generously covers the quinoa.  Let simmer until the stock comes to the level of the quinoa and then add another ladle or two of stock and 1/8 tsp. salt.  Continue until quinoa is al dente.
  • Add caramelized shallots, herbs and lemon zest.  Taste to adjust seasoning.
  • Top with a drizzle of truffle oil and more fresh herbs and caramelized shallots if desired.

Other ideas:

  • Use 2 cups of wild mushroom, but saute separately with some extra chopped garlic and add in at the last minute.
  • Add fresh grated ginger and wrap in a toasted sheet of nori seaweed when cooled.








Cat Dillon

This blog is my journal, where I share everything wellness. From tips on healthy lifestyle to creating as much deliciousness in your life as possible.

Cat Dillon is the Cat in Caterpillar Nutrition and Wellness.

Caterpillar Nutrition and Wellness is a unique combo of nutrition, fitness and cooking coaching all in one pretty package. Read more about Caterpillar Nutrition and Wellness.


  1. Yvonne       July 26, 2011 at 9:36 AM

    Forgive me for asking….but what is a garlic scape?

    • Garlic scapes are the mild, yet tasty stalks of garlic. I use them in stir fries, pastas, frittatas and scrambled eggs. Sometimes when they are young and tender enough, I’ll slice them up and toss em on top some baby lettuce and goat cheese. I also make spinach and garlic scape pesto from these loopy stems…. Vey yummy indeed!
      Here is more info:

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