Quick Bites from Pender

Black & White Quinoa Risotto

In Recipes on June 3, 2010 at 5:01 am

black and white quinoa

How many of us knew anything about quinoa 5 or 10 years ago? (Don’t answer that if you’re native to the Andes mountains.)

Nowadays, it’s hard to find anyone who hasn’t at least heard of it.  I don’t have a lot to say about it that you can’t read somewhere else.  It’s the perfect food, contains all the essential amino acids, is an excellent source of protein, is not a grain, but rather a plant seed, and therefore gluten free.  Oh yeah, one last thing:  quinoa comes in white, red and black.

Sometimes, it’s just good to get the dry stuff over with.



This dish is a bit time consuming, but the result is a light and gnoshable side, much less heavy than traditional risotto. I don’t finish my risottos with cream (I find it makes everything kinda stodgy), but don’t let me hold you back if you’re so inclined.

I made the entire recipe for Howard and I, then turned the leftovers into Quinoa Arancini (risotto cakes).  Deep fried anything is good — even leftovers.


Black and White Quinoa

Serves 6 as a side

Black Quinoa 1/3 C 80 g
White Quinoa 2/3 C 160 g
Shallot, minced 1 large
Celery, small dice 1 med rib
Garlic, minced 2 cloves
Butter 2 T 30 g
Olive Oil 2 T 30 g
White Wine or Vermouth ½ C 125 ml
White Chicken or Vegetable Stock 4-6 C 1-1.5 L
Parmesan, grated ¼ C 30 g
Fresh Herbs, finely chopped (parsley, thyme, etc) 3 T 10 g
Fresh Lemon Juice ½ lemon
s+p TT

C=cup                   g=grams                  T=tablespoon         TT=to taste

Soak the black quinoa in tepid water for 20 minutes.  Rinse until water runs clear.  Drain well.

Rinse the white quinoa until water runs clear.  Drain well.

Heat the stock to a simmer in a saucepan over med-high heat.  Turn heat to low, cover and reserve.

In a large, heavy bottomed pan (cast iron works well), sauté the shallot and celery in the butter and olive oil over medium heat until translucent.  Add the garlic, and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add the black and white quinoa, and continue to cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for another minute or two.

Pour in the wine, and stir constantly while the liquid reduces until the pan is almost dry.  Add the stock to the quinoa, 1-2 ladles at a time.  Stir constantly, waiting for the quinoa to absorb almost all the liquid before adding more.  Monitor the temperature closely; you want the liquid at a brisk simmer, but not boiling rapidly.

Continue to cook, adding liquid as needed, until the white quinoa is just starts to break down and the black quinoa is al dente, about 30-40 minutes.  Stir in the cheese, herbs and lemon.  Season to taste with s+p.  Serve immediately, garnished with more parmesan, herbs, coarse salt and freshly cracked pepper.


  • Black quinoa has a tougher coating than the white – a quick soak for the black evens out their cooking time.
  • If you can , use the real stuff: Parmigiano Reggiano
  • I used a mixture of flat leaf parsley and thyme

black and white quinoa risotto

  1. I never even knew there was black quinoa! Looks yummy. I’d like to try something new!


  2. I love quinoa but have yet to find black ones. This makes the dish so much prettier!

  3. Ooo, you can even make risotto cakes with this, yum!

  4. This looks delicious. I am a big fan of quinoa but don’t cook with it very often.

  5. Yummy! Like the black n white mix,looks delicious:)

  6. Never had quinoa before – looks kinda birdseedy and that freaks me a little. But black and white quinoa on a plate does look beautiful enough to tempt me!

    • So funny! Bird seed isn’t big around here usually either (Howard is a CARNIVORE) — but since I decided I wasn’t buying another bag of grain — rice, couscous or pasta — until we used up what was in pantry (it was out of control), we’ve been experimenting with the alternative grains and really loving them!

  7. It never would have occurred to me to make risotto with quinoa. Love it! You’ve definitely got me thinking outside of my arborio box. 🙂

  8. i never tried black quinoa, sounds delicious

  9. I love the color combo, great recipe!

  10. I would have to say I never thought of quinoa that way!! what a wonderful recipe! I do love risotto, I will have to try making it with quinoa
    thanks for sharing!

  11. This is gorgeous! What a brilliant idea. I’m always searching for new ways to cook quinoa and this is one I have to try. Thank you for the recipe!

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