Quinoa Risotto with Sweet Potato

I have the habit stomping my feet when a fiddle and mandolin player strut their stuff on a tiny black stage. I haven’t an ounce of embarrassment when I’m the only one clapping amidst a sea of 60-year-olds who remain glued to their seats even though the music begs for dancers.

I love me a good bluegrass show.

I also love me some protein-rich, cheesy globs of mmm, yum.

Sweet potatoes are cubed and par-boiled for about 3 minutes.

I’m also a sucker for sauteed onions. And more bluegrass shows. I might’ve bought tickets for another one in April, what?

Making risotto with quinoa minimizes guilt. It’s also much fluffier and lighter than its arborio rice counterpart, which is usually so dense that I’m done after four bites.

Instead of using heavy cream or exorbitant amounts of parmesan, I threw in about half a cup of coconut milk into the mix. Super amazing.

I mean, I still used a lot of parmesan. Because what’s risotto without parmesan? It’s not risotto.

Quinoa Risotto with Sweet Potato.

2 1/2 cups quinoa, dry
5 1/2 cups water
4 ounces coconut milk
1 chopped onion
4 large cloves (about 2 tablespoons) minced garlic
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground sage
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried basil

slices of lemon and lime to garnish

Bring about 5 cups of lightly salted water to a boil in a large pot. Add the sweet potato and boil for about 3 minutes (they should be al dente). Drain and set aside.

In a medium pot, bring the water, coconut milk and salt to a light simmer. This will be added by the spoonful to the quinoa.

In a large pot, heat the olive oil and add the chopped onion and sautee until it becomes soft and translucent. Add the garlic, herbs and dried quinoa and fry until the grains are lightly toasted, about 5 minutes.

Add about half of the simmering water-coconut-milk mixture and stir continuously. As soon as the liquid is just absorbed, add a ladle-full of additional water-coconut-milk and let it be completely absorbed before adding another ladle-full. Continue to do this until all of the liquid has been added.

As soon as the last of the liquid has been absorbed, add the grated parmesan and stir until melted.

Serve with lemon and lime.

Makes about a week’s worth of leftovers for a gourmet lunch.

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