Looking for some healthy recipes that don’t feel like boring diet food? Same. Registered dietitian Abbey Sharp, who also happens to be a regular contributor to Greatist, is giving us life with this sneak peek of her gorgeous cookbook, The Mindful Glow.
She pretty much nails the concept of eating well. By “well” we don’t just mean these recipes are good for you, they are also seriously delicious. And isn’t that’s the most important part? With recipes like espresso granola and pumpkin pecan pie energy bites in the “3 P.M. Fix” chapter (yes, that exists, and it’s gold), we can’t put it down.
The following quinotto recipe is excerpted right from the book, and we’re pretty sure you’ll be making it tonight. We know we plan to.
When I went to Italy, I had a bucket list of foods that I had to have, and risotto was right at the top. Creamy, comforting, and blessedly cheesy! I’ve had some pretty graphic dreams about the stuff. My version skips the starchy rice and starts instead with a mixture of protein-packed quinoa and fiber-rich cauliflower pulsed into rice-like “grains.” Mixed with sweet, juicy tomatoes, supple peas, tender spring asparagus, and a luscious swirl of ricotta cheese, trust me, even Nonna will approve.
Asparagus, Pea, and Tomato Quinotto
Makes: 4 servings
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
6 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, more for garnish
Sea salt and cracked black pepper, to taste
1 cup quinoa (any color), rinsed and drained
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons ricotta cheese
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, more for garnish
1 teaspoon lemon zest, more for garnish
1. In a food processor, pulse the cauliflower florets until they reach a rice-like consistency. Measure out 2 cups and set aside for another dish.
2. Heat the stock in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Cover and keep warm.
3. In a medium saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the asparagus and fry until it begins to soften and lightly caramelize, 1½ to 3 minutes, depending on how thick your asparagus spears are. Stir in the cherry tomatoes and fry for 2 minutes. Finally, reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic and thyme. Stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Season with a pinch each of salt and pepper. Scoop all the vegetables into a bowl.
4. Return the pan to medium heat and add the remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil. Add the quinoa and the reserved cauliflower rice. Stir until the quinoa and cauliflower are coated in the oil, about 2 minutes. Pour in the white wine and scrape up any of the flavorful bits that found their way onto the bottom of the pan. Cook, stirring, until the wine is fully absorbed.
5. Add about 1/2 cup of the warm vegetable stock and cook, stirring, until the stock has been almost totally absorbed, 3 to 5 minutes. Continue adding stock 1/2-cup at a time, continuing to stir, until the quinoa is tender but still a bit wet—neither soupy nor dry—about 20 minutes. You’re not looking for that super-dry, fluffy consistency you normally aim for when you whip up a batch of quinoa. This usually takes 4 to 5 cups of stock, but yours could take the full 6 cups.
6. Stir in the frozen peas, ricotta cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano, lemon zest, and the reserved cooked vegetables. Stir until the peas have thawed through, then season with sea salt and a generous helping of cracked black pepper.
7. Divide the quinotto among 4 bowls or plates. Top each serving with additional Parmesan, lemon zest, and thyme leaves, if desired, and serve.
Abbey’s Tip: Whereas traditional risotto has a strict “à la minute” serving protocol, quinotto can be made ahead, refrigerated for up to 3 days, and reheated. It will thicken as it sits in the fridge, so if you want to loosen it up again, just swirl in another dollop of ricotta or a splash of vegetable stock.