Pumpkin & spinach risotto

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Post by Miriam Chin29 Aug 2013

Quinoa (pronounced ‘keen-wah’) is a good source of dietary fibre, folate and magnesium. It is high in protein, compared to other grains, and has a low glycemic index, meaning it will keep you fuller for longer and can help with controlling blood glucose levels.

Unlike many other plant proteins, quinoa is a complete protein, containing all the essential amino acids our body needs. Quinoa makes a gluten-free alternative to couscous and can be used instead of oats in porridge. Try using quinoa instead of rice in soups, casseroles or, as here, in risotto.


  • 900g butternut pumpkin, peeled and cubed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely grated
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 4¼ cups hot vegetable stock (preferably low-sodium)
  • salt
  • pepper, freshly cracked
  • 200g fresh baby spinach leaves
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C and line a baking tray with non-stick paper. Place the pumpkin on the tray, lightly coat with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 20-30 minutes until the pumpkin is tender and a little charred.
  2. Heat oil in a large saucepan; add the onion and sauté until soft. stir in the garlic and nutmeg and cook for about 30 seconds. add the quinoa with the stock and season with salt and pepper to taste. (Keep in mind that some parmesan cheese and store bought stock can also be quite salty.)
  3. Stir well, bring to the boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 15-20 minutes until all the stock is almost absorbed. If you think of it, and only if you think of it, give the pot a stir once or twice.
  4. Add the spinach and mix it in with the quinoa until it wilts, cook for 2 minutes then stir in the parmesan cheese and the pumpkin. take off the heat and leave to stand for about 5-10 minutes until the quinoa is soft and creamy.

Recipe from Everyday Quinoa published by New Holland Publishers, released September 2013. $29.95

For more on quinoa, got to www.fao.org/quinoa-2013/en/

Miriam Chin is a dietitian at the Albion Centre in Sydney. Dietitians are university-qualified health professionals trained to assess nutritional needs and help people to manage their health by providing individualised eating plans, nutrition counselling and support. To see a dietitian specialising in HIV, speak to your HIV care provider.