Risotto is a creamy Italian rice dish made with Arborio or Carnaroli rice, which you can add almost any type of vegetables, or protein and come out with a delicious dinner. Quinoa has been the healthy grain of choice for the past few years, and quinoa makes good risotto too.
This Peruvian grain is high in protein, and gets almost as creamy as rice, when slow cooked with broth. I like to use it instead of short grain rice when I am looking for a lighter healthful Italian meal. Quinoa is also higher in fiber than rice, and the tiny grains absorbs broth nicely.
This simple combination of chicken and fresh vegetables has huge flavor, but is light on the waistline, something I think we all are looking for from time to time. Also, I used a store-bought rotisserie chicken to make the preparation quick and easy – great for weeknight dinners.
2 stalks celery
1 clove garlic
1 turnip, peeled
1 cup quinoa
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups fresh spinach leaves
1 rotisserie chicken or 3 leftover chicken thighs – shredded
1/3 cup white wine or water
2/3 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup minced chives
1. Slice up carrots, celery, turnip, and mince garlic, then add to a large Dutch oven with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, place over medium-high heat. Sauté vegetables for 6 minutes. Rinse quinoa in a strainer, and add to sauteed vegetables.
2. Stir quinoa into vegetables and continue to cook, about 3 minutes. Cooking quinoa before adding the broth gives it a little toasty flavor. Add 1/2 cup of broth to quinoa-vegetable mixture and continue to cook on medium-high heat for 5 minutes. *You will repeat this process until you use all the broth, every 5 minutes or so. Cover quinoa with a lid ajar and turn heat to low, cook for 4 minutes to make sure quinoa is cooked through.
3. Add fresh spinach and 2 cups of rotisserie chicken to quinoa mixture. Reserve remaining chicken for another use. Stir to incorporate chicken and spinach, continue to cook for 2 minutes. Add 1/3 cup white wine to quinoa and stir to combine, continue cooking for 3 minutes.
4. Add parmesan cheese, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper to quinoa and stir. Add fresh chives and turn off heat. Ladle into bowls, Enjoy!