Mushroom quinoa risotto & Stephanie Rice feature

Our creator/editor Amy Sinclair is a feature foodie one Stephanie Rice's brand new lifestyle & wellness website. We thought it silly not to share these posts with our wonderful followers, featuring Amy's own recipes & interview with Steph. Here is the first post, which went live today. Amy's mushroom & quinoa risotto along with her philosophy on veganism. Each photograph links to Steph's website, and the beautiful photographs were taken by Erika Rax. Enjoy!!

Risotto is a meal that I always loved as a teenager, though as I grew healthier and learned that white grains aren’t beneficial nutritionally – It slowly vanished from my diet.

After spending years in the kitchen I discovered that there are endless ways I could recreate risotto, with healthy alternatives. This was incredibly reassuring, as nothing compares to the comfort of a warm bowl of creamy mushroom risotto!

This risotto is made using quinoa, the super-food grain that everybody goes crazy for at the moment. It’s an amazing staple for Vegans & Vegetarians alike as it’s considered a complete protein, with all of the essential amino acids. It’s also gluten free, so you will be sure to impress many health conscious guests if you make this dish for a dinner party. Although it is best suited for curling up on the couch with on a winter’s night

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 red onion, finely sliced
  • 1 cup mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1.5 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup mixed tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1⁄2 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 bunch of thyme, leaves picked
  • 1⁄2 cup basil leaves, to garnish
  • 1 lemon, zested

TO MAKE THE RISOTTO

Heat a saucepan on medium heat, add olive oil, cook the onions for a few minutes until golden. Add the mushrooms and garlic and stir for a few minutes – add a dash of salt and pepper. Rinse and drain the quinoa and add to the saucepan, along with the vegetable broth and a handful of thyme leaves. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally until quinoa is close to cooked. Add the coconut milk and simmer on medium/low until absorbed. Turn off the heat and let it sit with the lid on for a few minutes. Gently stir through the spinach and tomatoes, and serve.

TO ASSEMBLE

Dish up the risotto and top with lemon zest, basil leaves and pine nuts. This will keep in the fridge for about 5 days, and can be frozen for up to a month.

NUTRITIONAL BENEFITS

Along with being gluten free, quinoa is considered a source of complete protein, which makes it an amazing staple for vegans, vegetarians and celiacs.

Do you only eat Vegan? Why is this and how long have you been Vegan?

Yes, I’m fully Vegan. After I went Vegetarian (around 5-6 years ago), I started to think a lot about my health. I was worried at first because it did seem radical to me, as I had never changed my eating habits much before. As I started researching, the transition to Veganism followed, and within a few months my partner and I both discovered that Veganism was easily one of the best decisions we had ever made.

After two years of living Vegan we feel incredible⎯our digestion is amazing, our skin is glowing, we are lowering our risk of health problems such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer, and we hardly ever get sick anymore. In saying all of that, the choice was beyond food; there is no other lifestyle that brings so many benefits to the whole planet at once.

The meat & dairy industry combined have a devastating environmental impact, not to mention the horribly cruel treatment of animals. Protecting the environment, looking after my health and refusing to contribute to animal suffering are all extremely essential factors for my life, so Veganism is simply the only reasonable option for me. I can honestly say that since going Vegan my life is much richer, filled with awareness, love, passion, excitement and immeasurable hope for the future.

Do you create your own recipes? Or do you get inspired by other Blogs and cook books and tweak them slightly?

To be completely honest with you, I am totally awful at following recipes! I do however get inspired really easily, especially by people who are passionate about what they do! Jamie Oliver was a huge inspiration to me when I was young and he is definitely the reason I started mucking about in the kitchen. I feel like once you’ve been cooking for a long time and you know your way around the kitchen, it’s much easier to be creative and come up with things you wouldn’t have necessarily seen before. I write all of my recipes myself, but sometimes I will tweak a recipe I have found and post credit for the original creator (family, friends or other bloggers). I’m truly a visual person; I get a lot of my recipe inspiration from the fresh produce at the farmers markets, looking at pictures of meals (I love Pinterest!), flicking through books, noticing an amazing colour-scheme or simply spending time with Mother Nature.

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