Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Quinotto caught my eye in Viva Vegan for a few reasons. I liked the sound of the name (keen-otto) and the concept of cooking quinoa in the style of a risotto felt like it would work well. My son does not enjoy risotto at all and the reason he states for disliking it so intensely is that he hates arborio rice. I still can't get my head around that!

The recipe introduction states that quinotto is a common concept in South American countries such as Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru, although the resulting meal is more like a pilaf than an actual risotto. The ingredients seemed a bit plain as it listed mushrooms as the only vegetable so I pinched a couple of the chorizo seitan sausages that I had prepared for our trip away and threw in some baby spinach leaves as well.  

I am pleased to say that my son was totally impressed with the quinotto although he did mention that it wasn't anything at all like risotto. I do agree with him as the taste and texture was totally different. The quinotto term suits the cooking process of slowly adding stock in batches and stirring frequently more than the actual dish. The man wasn't as enthused about this meal and preferred to sneak bites of a risoni based pasta salad I had been preparing for our plane trip the next day.

Pictured above is the Aji Amarillo chilli paste purchased from Casa Iberica which has a bit of a kick but is definitely not the hottest chilli paste going around. 

Quinotto (Adapted from Viva Vegan)

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 shallots, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup white quinoa, rinsed well 
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar + 1/2 cup water (or use 1/2 cup white wine)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon aji amarillo paste (or use another form of chilli paste/powder to taste) 
3 cups warm vegetable stock
1/6 quantity chorizo seitan recipe, cut into rounds 
4 large portobello mushrooms, sliced
100g baby spinach leaves
1 tablespoon lime juice
salt and pepper, to taste
fresh chopped parsley, for garnish 

Heat the olive oil in a large pot and fry the shallots and garlic for about 5 minutes, until golden. Add the rinsed quinoa and fry, stirring occasionally for about 3 minutes until it turns slightly golden. Stir through the white wine vinegar plus water (or white wine) and stir well to deglaze the bottom of the pot. Add the thyme, oregano and aji amarillo paste (or chilli) and simmer for a minute. 

Add about a cup of the vegetable stock and stir a little more frequently. When the stock has been absorbed, add a little more. Continue adding the stock bit by bit, stirring every so often until the quinoa is tender. This should take about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, spray a non-stick frying pan with olive oil spray and cook the chorizo seitan rounds until lightly browned on each side. Remove the chorizo from the frying pan, give it another spray with olive oil and fry the mushrooms until softened. 

Turn off the heat and stir through the cooked mushrooms, chorizo seitan and spinach. Cover the pot and let it rest for 10 minutes. Finally add the lime juice and season with salt and pepper. Serve garnished with fresh parsley.    


  1. Cute name! does your son like regular rice - I have recently met people who don't really like rice and I find it odd - though even odder are people I know who don't like soup

  2. This looks great - I love these sorts of dishes, whether rice or quinoa based. I suspect my partner wouldn't like it either though (he likes arborio rice, but not quinoa). Sometimes catering for everyone is hard!

  3. Thanks Johanna, he has no problem at all with other types of rice which is makes the arborio rice aversion so weird! Wow, I don't think I have met anyone who doesn't like soup. How strange!

    Thanks Kari, it can be difficult to cater for everybody's tastes sometimes, especially when you like something that your partner doesn't. Most of the time my crew are happy for me to cook whatever I feel like but the results don't please everyone all of the time (and I do aim to please :D).