Alex and I went to CostCo yesterday to stock up on some of the ingredients we use all the time. Now, I get overwhelmed in shopping malls & IKEAs like nobody’s business, but when I walk into CostCo, my anxiety melts away and I’m like a kid in a candy shop. Seriously.
We got the most ginormous container of FAGE greek yogurt at half the usual price in the store. We also bought a vat of coconut oil the size of my head for like $20 which is incredible considering the small jars usually cost $8. IT’S AMAZING!
One thing we use a lot of is quinoa, so we like to buy it in bulk at CostCo instead of buying small bags at TJs that we go through in two weeks! This time though, we decided to buy the multigrain mix that has quinoa, millet, and amaranth.
Amaranth is an ancient grain that I had never heard of until I worked in Mexico as a volunteer with Amigos de las Americas. It was cultivated and widely used by the Aztecs but then it stopped being grown (I didn’t know why, but Wikipedia says the conquistadores banned its cultivation during their conquest of the Aztec nation…weird!). It is very nutritious and easy to grow in central america so groups, like Amigos, are working hard to reincorporate it into the local diet to improve health and reduce hunger! Meanwhile, a woman at a grain stand at the Atwater Farmer’s Market, described millet to me as the quinoa of Africa and Asia. It is very easy to digest (and gluten free) so it is often recommended for sensitive stomachs!
Anyways, the multigrain medley looked wonderful and nutritious, as well as cheaper than the pure quinoa, so we went for it. We cooked some up yesterday in a mushroom risotto and it was amazing. Loving it!
Risotto typically calls for arborio rice, but we often use regular rice or quinoa to make it and it works wonderfully. It’s the full flavored taste that is important, and cooking quinoa longer than usual definitely gives it time to soak up the different tastes. Making risotto with quinoa also amps up the protein. You can serve this risotto as a hearty side dish OR as a main course. I love eating the leftovers for lunch, paired with a green salad.
Multigrain Mushroom Risotto
- 2 cups quinoa/millet/amaranth mix
- 1 cup chopped white mushrooms (crimini would work too)
- 1/2 zucchini chopped
- 2 green onions diced, white part separated from green
- 3 cups water, veggie or chicken broth + 2 cups water
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1 table spoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/4 cup grated/shaved parmesan cheese
- Optional: 1 tbsp fresh sage, minced
- salt & pep
Note: if you do not use broth, I highly recommend adding some additional herbs and spices. We used sage because our stoop garden is thriving. We also added a sprinkling of celery salt. Add your favorite spices to up the flavor, though the white wine and parm are the stars of the dish.
- Heat up your rice cooker OR medium pot (over medium heat). Add your olive oil and half the butter and stir together. Let the fat get hot, then add the white parts of your green onion and let cook for 2 minutes until fragrant.
- Add the grain and the mushrooms to the pot and stir so they get coated in the butter and begin to cook a bit. After a minute or two, add your 3 cups of liquid and stir to combine. Add salt & pep. Then cover and let simmer until most of the liquid is gone. Check occasionally to be sure it isn’t boiling over but try not to keep opening the top and letting out the steam.
- Once most of the liquid is absorbed, add another cup of water, the white wine, and the chopped zucchini. Stir and continue simmering until the water is mostly gone.
- Add the final cup of water – stir and then cover to keep simmering.
- Once the quinoa has absorbed most of the liquid and is puffed up and soft, add the sage (or other fresh herbs), parmesan cheese and the rest of the butter. Stir to incorporate, letting the cheese melt!
- Garnish with the green tips of the onions, salt & cracked pepper. Serve immediately!
We paired our Multigrain Mushroom Risotto with dry rub salmon and spicy green beans stir fried with pepitas!