Quinoa Risotto

This gluten-free quinoa risotto is packed with veggies and full of flavor. It’s a fun change from traditional risotto made with rice and only takes about 30 minutes to make.

Hi friends!

I’m so excited for you to try this quinoa risotto. I’ve made it several times in the past few weeks and it’s currently my favorite way to eat a bunch of veggies. I’ve been making a batch on the weekend and eating it for lunch and dinner all week long.

I don’t love quinoa by itself but it is a nutritional powerhouse and a great gluten-free option so I’m always looking for ways I enjoy eating it. Other recent favs include:

  • Easy Sheet Pan Shrimp & Quinoa Bowl
  • Greek Quinoa Salad with Feta
  • Tuna Quinoa Cakes
  • Caramelized Peach Breakfast Quinoa

How Do You Make Quinoa Risotto

While this is not traditional risotto made with rice and it’s not quite as creamy, this one pot dish is still a big hit in my book. The best thing about this quinoa risotto is that it packs a lot of veggies and reheats well. You can also customize to include your favorite veggies. Here’s how you make it:

  • Melt some butter in a large dutch oven.
  • Add leeks or onions and some pancetta (you could also use bacon) and saute for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add 3-4 cups diced veggies. I’ve been using a mix of corn, tomatoes, zucchini and red peppers but I’ve also included mushrooms, peas, small florets of broccoli and diced carrots. Most veggies, except root veggies like potatoes, sweet potatoes etc should work well.
  • Add quinoa.
  • Add about 2/3 cup chicken or vegetable broth and bring mixture to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low and let it simmer, stirring frequently.
  • When most of the liquid has been absorbed, add more.
  • Repeat until you’ve used about 2 cups of broth.
  • Add your favorite seasonings- I usually add salt, paprika and a little garlic powder.
  • Stir in some shredded cheese at the end if desired. I use mozzarella. You could even add some goat cheese for extra creaminess.

Mushroom Quinoa Risotto

Would this recipe be good with mushrooms? Absolutely. Most people seem to favor a risotto-type dish with mushrooms so definitely feel free to add your favorites if you enjoy them.

Here are a few mushroom-specific recipes to try:

  • Mushroom Quinoa Risotto
  • Easy Quinoa Risotto with Mushrooms
  • Creamy Mushroom Quinoa Risotto

Here’s my recipe:


Quinoa Risotto Recipe

Print Recipe

5 from 2 reviews

This gluten-free quinoa risotto is packed with veggies and full of flavor. It’s a fun change from traditional risotto made with rice and only takes about 30 minutes to make.

  • Author: Lindsay



  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 4 oz package cubed pancetta
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup sliced leeks or diced onions
  • 34 cups diced mixed vegetables (zucchini, mushroom, corn, tomatoes, peppers, peas etc)
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa (rinsed)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/21 tsp salt and pepper (or to taste)
  • 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (optional)


  1. Melt butter in a large dutch oven over medium heat.
  2. Add leeks/onion, garlic and pancetta and saute 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the rest of the vegetables and saute 5 minutes.
  4. Add rinsed quinoa, salt, pepper and paprika and about 2/3 cup broth.
  5. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium low and let simmer, stirring frequently until most of the liquid is absorbed.
  6. Add another 2/3 cup broth and repeat.
  7. Add remaining broth and let simmer, stirring frequently. Taste and add more salt if needed.
  8. When all liquid is absorbed, stir in cheese and remove from heat.


Feel free to sub a few slices of diced bacon for the pancetta. Just drain the grease after it cooks for a few minutes.

You can easily add meat like chicken or chicken sausage to this dish if desired or swap mozzarella cheese for some parmesan.

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Quinoa Risotto FAQs

What is quinoa?

Quinoa is actually a seed, not a grain, but it’s often called a pseudo-grain. It’s classified as a whole grain and is a good source of protein and fiber. It comes in three colors- white, black and red. It’s also a good source of folate and iron.

It has more fiber than brown rice but has a similar nutty undertone as far as taste. You can learn more about quinoa here.

Should you rinse quinoa before cooking?

Quinoa seeds are coated in a natural substance called saponin which has a bitter taste. Some people are more sensitive to the taste than others. Simply rinsing the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer before cooking will remove saponin and eliminate the bitter taste.

What is risotto?

Traditional risotto is a rice dish made using a special kind of short-grain rice like arborio that can absorb a lot of liquid without becoming mushy. The natural starches in the rice are released while cooking as the liquid is absorbed and the rice is stirred making it nice and creamy.

Quinoa vs Risotto – Is Quinoa Healthier than Risotto?

Risotto is typically made from short-grain white rice. When you compare them nutritionally, quinoa has fewer carbs, twice the protein and about 5g more fiber than white rice.

Can you freeze quinoa risotto?

Yes! Simply cool your batch of quinoa risotto and portion as desired. You could freeze flat in Stasher bags or Ziploc bags to save storage space or use something like Souper Cubes. Transfer to the fridge overnight to thaw.

Creamy Quinoa Risotto



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