Quinoa risotto (quinotto) with roasted cherry tomatoes

Quinotto (quinoa risotto) with roasted cherry tomatoes - risotto gets a healthy makeover | deliciouseveryday.com

Quinotto – it’s a funny name but this make over of risotto is absolutely delicious.  Gone is the stodginess usually associated with risotto as rice is replaced with quinoa for a lighter, healthier and protein packed alternative.

I used to be a huge lover of risottos. HUGE! In fact I made them all the time when I was single, but after a while the stodginess of risotto got to me. I’d always feel a little bit sick and uncomfortable afterwards, and it was a good year before I made it again. A year later it was just as heavy as I remembered so I gave up and forgot all about risotto for a while.

Then one day I decided to try using quinoa in place of rice and it worked beautifully and was a delicious and healthy lunch that I’ve made over and over again.

My favourite way to eat quinoa risotto (quinotto) is with roasted cherry tomatoes. The sweet and slightly acidic cherry tomatoes are little flavour bombs, releasing their beautiful juices as you break them open. Coupled with peppery rocket and a few dollops of pesto it’s a comforting dish you no longer need to feel guilty about enjoying. That’s assuming you don’t cover it in a mass of parmesan!

Have you tried quinotto (quinoa risotto) before? What did you think of it?

Quinotto (quinoa risotto) with roasted cherry tomatoes - risotto gets a healthy makeover | deliciouseveryday.com

Roasted Cherry Tomato Quinotto recipe - forget rice based risottos quinoa risotto is a delicious and healthy substitute | deliciouseveryday.com

5.0 from 3 reviews

Quinoa risotto (quinotto) with roasted cherry tomatoes
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A delicious and healthy rice free risotto.
Serves: 4
  • 250g (1½ cups) cherry tomatoes
  • 2 cloves of garlic, paper on
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 4 – 5 cups of vegetable stock
  • 1 tbs butter
  • ½ brown onion, diced
  • 1½ cups quinoa, rinsed under running water for 2 minutes
  • ⅓ cup white wine (optional)
  • ¾ cup rocket leaves
  • salt and pepper
  • ½ cup basil leaves, packed
  • 2 tbs cashews
  • 2 tbs grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 small clove of garlic
  • 1½ tbs olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 celsius (350 fahrenheit) and toss the cherry tomatoes and garlic in 1 tbs of olive oil and place in a small baking tray. Roast for 20 minutes or until tender and the skin has started to shrivel and split.
  2. While the tomatoes are roasting place the basil leaves, cashews, garlic, parmesan and oil in a food processor. Pulse to combine.
  3. Place a medium saucepan over a high heat and add the vegetable stock. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to low.
  4. Place a large saucepan over a medium heat and add the butter. Once the butter has melted add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove the garlic cloves from baking tray and squeeze the garlic from the paper and add to the onions. Squash the roasted garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the quinoa and coat in the butter, onion and garlic mixture until the quinoa starts to turn translucent.
  5. Add the wine and cook until it’s absorbed. Add the stock, a ladle at a time, and cook until absorbed before adding another ladleful, stirring as you go. Once the quinoa is tender remove the saucepan from the heat and add the remaining 1 tbs of olive oil and half the cherry tomatoes. Stir, squashing the cherry tomatoes against the side of the saucepan to release their juices. Check the seasoning and adjust as necessary. Lastly add the rocket leaves and stir to combine before serving immediately with dollops of pesto.


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  1. Laura (Tutti Dolci) August 16, 2013  9:44 am Reply

    What a fabulous alternative to risotto, especially with the roasted tomatoes!

  2. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef August 16, 2013  9:47 am Reply

    I had no idea it had a name of its own. This looks like something I should have on my own table. Gorgeous photos!

  3. Sarah | The Sugar Hit August 16, 2013  1:38 pm Reply

    I am IN LOVE with risotto, but also on a slight carb restriction at the moment! This looks like a perfect alternative. Especially now the weather is heating up.

  4. thelittleloaf August 16, 2013  5:43 pm Reply

    I have a soft spot for risotto but this looks delicious too! If you're looking for other rice alternatives, pearled spelt and barley are also delicious in risotto :-)

    • Jennifer August 16, 2013  5:52 pm Reply

      I've made barley risotto before, and really loved it. I have actually been looking for pearled spelt here but haven't been able to find any. When I do I'll be sure to try it.

  5. Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul August 18, 2013  11:21 am Reply

    Quinotto??? Mmmm...this looks delish. And I get the stodginess of regular risottos. Love that you used cherry tomatoes here!

  6. Thanh @ eat, little bird August 23, 2013  9:33 am Reply

    The only time I tried quinoa was when I had invited a gluten-intolerant friend over for lunch and needed to make him a gluten-free alternative to the couscous which everyone else was eating. I followed the packet instructions and, unfortunately, it didn't work for me. I think it tasted too healthy! But I love your recipe for quinotto which sounds much more flavoursome. I have sent my friend a link to your recipe :-)

  7. Will Cotterill September 18, 2013  1:31 am Reply

    I love all the ingredients you have in this recipe Jennifer! Especially, it has garlic, I love garlic!;-) I'll try this at home!

  8. Consuelo @ Honey & Figs September 19, 2013  2:46 am Reply

    I've never tried quinoa risotto, but I'm craving a big bowl of it after seeing your gorgeous pictures! This looks amazing and I love that it's lighter than average risotto. Love the cherry tomato addition as well! x


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