Growing up in Maine, I learned never to get my hopes up for signs of spring until well into May.
You’re far more likely to witness snow flurries (and people huddled in winter coats) than green leaves and blooming flowers in April in New England.
But recently I had some evidence of approaching spring: lots of tasty fresh spring asparagus on sale at the grocer’s.
It’s a little thing, but I took it and ran with it…
…It may be dark, damp and 40 degrees outside, but I happen to have this yummy bowl of parmesan quinoa with fresh mushrooms and spring asparagus.
Things are looking up!
I love this recipe because, as you probably noticed if you’ve ever made one, this quinoa dish mimics a classic risotto (one of my all-time favorites).
It doesn’t taste like the buttery, white-rice-filled risotto dish you may have ordered in a restaurant.
Quinoa has a nutty, earthy flavor that’s quite different from good old-fashioned white rice.
But that richly delicious risotto preparation – white wine, sautéed onion, and parmesan – really transforms quinoa into quite the addictive dish.
Chris set up our outdoor patio furniture a little too soon, maybe.
We continue to eat indoors, me huddled in sweaters and warm slippers, until spring finally arrives in New England.
In the meantime, I’ll stop complaining and stay content with my “springtime on a plate.”
Here’s the recipe for Spring Quinoa with Asparagus and Parmesan:
- Serving size: 6
- Calories: 435
- Fat: 17.8g
- Saturated fat: 2.8g
- Carbohydrates: 47.8g
- Sugar: 2g
- Sodium: 260mg
- Fiber: 4g
- Protein: 15.9g
- Cholesterol: 9mg
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Yield: 6 servings
- 2 cups organic vegetable broth
- 3 tablespoons plus 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1½ cups quinoa
- 1 cup white wine
- 8 ounces asparagus, trimmed and cut into quarter-inch pieces
- 4 ounces crimini ("baby bella") mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
- 1⅓ cups parmesan, freshly grated
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Place vegetable broth in a heat-safe bowl and microwave until hot but not boiling, about 2 minutes. Cover and set aside.
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until lightly softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add another tablespoon olive oil along with the quinoa. Cook, stirring often, until quinoa is lightly toasted, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the white wine and adjust the heat to a light simmer. Allow wine to cook and reduce, about 3-5 minutes.
- Pour about 2 ladles of the vegetable broth into the saucepan and allow it to simmer lightly, stirring often.
- When the broth has cooked down and reduced so that there is only about ⅓ of the broth left in the pot, add another 1-2 ladles of broth.
- Repeat this process, stirring often, until quinoa is cooked through, about 18-20 minutes. (A spiral germ will be visible around each individual grain when the quinoa is ready.)
- While the quinoa is cooking, heat one tablespoon olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the asparagus and cook until lightly softened but still crisp, about 3- 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook about 2 minutes longer, Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat.
- Add the asparagus and mushrooms to the quinoa, along with 1 cup grated parmesan. Also add 3 tablespoons olive oil. Stir until cheese is completely melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately, topping each plate with additional parmesan.
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