SPRING QUINOA RISOTTO by BROWN PAPER BAG September 22, 2014September 15, 2015 Jacq Alwill from Brown Paper Bag and I have collaborated to bring you a series of incredible recipes and I am so excited to share the first one. The recipes are by Jacq, and like everything she does, they’re inspiring, healthy, luxurious yet humble all at once. It’s exactly why I love her, and her delightful cooking. Now to be honest, usually anything ‘Vegan’ scares me still just a little as I equate it (incorrectly) with ‘tasteless’. This Spring Quinoa Risotto though is off the hook. And quick to make. Get involved. SPRING VEGETABLE QUINOA RISOTTO Serves 6 You will need… 1tbsp coconut oil 2 leeks, finely sliced, white part only+ 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped 1 fennel bulb, roughly diced (creates approx 2 cups)+ 3 cups (450g) quinoa, rinsed+ 5 cups (1.25L) vegetable stock 2 bunches asparagus, woody ends trimmed and spears cut in thirds 4 kale leaves, stalks removed, leaves roughly torn 2 cups peas, fresh or frozen 4tbsp nutritional yeast+ 2 cups baby spinach ½ cup loosely packed flat parsley sea salt and pepper to taste Then to make… Place a large saucepan on the stove over medium heat and melt coconut oil. Once melted, add leeks to saucepan, stir, reduce heat to low and cook approximately 5minutes or until transparent. Add garlic and fennel to the leek and cook a further 4-5minutes, stirring frequently to ensure the ingredients do not stick to the base of the saucepan. Add quinoa and allow to cook (without any liquid) 3-4 minutes or until the quinoa grain becomes slightly golden in colour. Once you can see a tinge of colour in the quinoa, add 2 cups of stock and stir to combine all ingredients. Be sure to keep the lid off of the saucepan at all times throughout cooking or the quinoa will cook too quickly. Allow the liquid to be absorbed before adding the next 2 cups of stock and continue stirring until it is almost absorbed. As you start to see the tails of the quinoa appear, add asparagus, kale leaves, and the last cup of stock and cook a further 2-3minutes. Stir peas through the risotto and leave on heat for approximately 1 minute before turning off the stove and adding nutritional yeast and baby spinach. The aim is to keep the greens vibrant in colour so be careful not to add your peas and spinach too soon or they lose their beautiful colour. Season with sea salt and black pepper and garnish with flat leaf parsley and fennel tops, and serve. NOTES + No need to throw away the green part of the leek, pop it into a pot of water with carrots, celtic salt and celery and create a home made vegetable broth. + Reserve the fine leafy tops of the fennel for garnish over the risotto just prior to serving + Rinsing the quinoa is an important step when cooking quinoa as it removes saponins which are bitter in taste + Nutritional yeast is rich in B vitamins and a wonderful substitute for cheese in risotto. You will find nutritional yeast at your health food store. If you don’t have any on hand a prefer cheese then approximately ½ cup shaved pecorino or parmesan works beautifully. Photography by Jacqui Lewis. Copper Drinking Vessel by The Broad Place (click here to be taken to our store), Linen Napkin by The Broad Place (coming soon) and Ceramic Feasting Plate by The Broad Place (coming soon).