Mushroom and Kale Quisotto (Quinoa Risotto)

I have always been a fan of barley risotto so one day I thought I'd have a go at making quinoa risotto or 'quisotto'.

It was surprisingly easy and delicious. It is also really easy to adapt if you like other ingredients such as pumpkin or feta cheese.

What you need to serve 4 hungry people, or more as a side dish:
  • 2 cups of dried quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil 
  • 1.25 litres of vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 brown onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 400g mushrooms (mix of normal, oyster and/or shitake is best)
  • 1/2 bunch of kale chopped (or one packet frozen/fresh spinach, chopped)
  • 1 punnet of cherry tomatoes, each tomato halved
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar or 1/4 cup white wine (optional - it tastes wonderful without it)
  • salt and pepper to taste

How to make it:

Heat up the stock in a pot and keep warm on a very low heat. Heat the oil in a deep non-stick frying pan or pot. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until brown. Add the quinoa and mushrooms and sauté for another 2 minutes. 

Add the vinegar/white wine (if using) or 1/2 cup of stock and simmer until absorbed. Continue adding the stock 1 cup at a time, stirring occasionally until the quinoa is cooked and you have the consistency of risotto. Add the tomatoes, kale/spinach, lemon juice and zest, grated parmesan and salt and pepper and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring regularly until everything is heated through. 

Top with extra parmesan cheese and extra fried mushrooms if desired. Serve.

Note: if using frozen spinach you will need to heat and drain it prior to adding it to the quisotto.


Mushroom 'bun' burgers with sweet potato fries

This 'burger' will literally change your life forever. You will never crave a traditional bread burger again!

These grain free burgers have a lovely 'meaty' texture from the mushrooms and pairs perfectly with the haloumi. If you are eating paleo, swap the hummus for pesto and replace the haloumi with a meat pattie or some bacon. If you are vegan replace the haloumi with marinated tofu.

These burgers are easy to put together and are very satisfying. Serve them with some sweet potato fries (recipe below).

The health benefits of mushrooms include lowering cholesterol levels and the risk of breast cancer, prostate cancer, and diabetes. Mushrooms also contain an edible form of the critical Vitamin D and can increase the strength of your immune system.

What you need to make four 'burgers':

  • 8 large mushrooms that are roughly the same size (I used plain flat mushrooms from Australia - you could use brown or portabella varieties), stalks removed
  • 1/2 red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • one cup of basil leaves
  • 2 cups of baby spinach leaves
  • one tomato, sliced
  • 1 large red capsicum, sliced into 4 flat pieces (or as close as possible to flat)
  • 1 packet of haloumi, sliced in half and then cut in half (so there are 4 pieces)
  • 2 tbsp of hummus (recipe for white bean hummus below)
  • salt and pepper to taste

How to make them:

Heat a BBQ, non-stick grill pan or frying pan over low-medium heat. If using a non-stick pan you do not need any oil. If you aren't, you will need to lightly brush or spray the mushrooms with oil. Place the mushrooms on the plate on the top side of the mushroom and cook for approximately 10 minutes and then flip and cook until the mushroom has started to collapse down.

While the mushrooms are cooking, using another pan grill or fry the capsicum over medium heat until soft. This takes approximately 7 minutes on each side.

Once the mushrooms are cooked remove them and add the sliced haloumi to the grill. Turn after approximately 1 minute and cook for a further minute on the other side.

Take one mushroom and turn it upside down. Lather with hummus followed by the red onion, spinach, tomato, salt and pepper, basil, capsicum, haloumi and then another mushroom as the top of the 'bun'.

Either eat with a knife or fork or wrap the burger in some foil or baking paper to hold in your hands. They can be quite juicy!

Sweet potato fries recipe:
  • one large sweet potato, scrubbed, dried and sliced into rectangles or wedges (aim to make them equal size)
  • 1/2 tsp coconut oil (or oil of choice)
  • salt 
To make the sweet potato fries mix the potato with the oil and some salt in a bowl and then add to a baking tray that has been lined with baking paper. Bake in a 200 ºC oven for approximately 20 minutes or until cooked and slightly crispy.

Tips for getting them crispy: make sure that there is room between the fries so that they don't stew and put them on the shelf in the oven furthest away from the element.

White bean hummus recipe:

  • one tin of white beans, drained and rinsed (or dry beans that have been soaked and cooked)
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • juice of one large lemon (or two small lemons)
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • one garlic clove, sliced or minced (optional)
  • water (if needed)
To make the white bean hummus place all of the ingredients in a food processor and process until blended. Add water if the mixture is too thick.