Lately, I've been on a quest to add new whole grains into the Ko family diet. Like many contemporary Americans, whole grains have not historically been part of my diet. Growing up in an Asian household, the primary grain in my diet was white rice. And while brown rice is a whole grain, switching from white rice to brown rice isn't particularly helpful because the glycemic index of brown rice is nearly just as high as that of white rice.
That is why I am always on the lookout for possible substitutions for rice. Cauliflower rice is one example of a healthy substitution for rice. Another healthy rice substitution is quinoa. Quinoa is an edible seed that is considered a pseudograin, as it is not a member of the true grass family.
I have previously featured quinoa as a substitute for other grains in sweet breakfast dishes like coconut cranberry quinoa and peanut butter and fruit quinoa. One of my most popular posts features quinoa in a savory vegan chili, courtesy of chef Kristen Leidelmeijer.
In my search for recipes that use quinoa as a substitute for rice, I came across this tasty recipe for mushroom quinoa risotto. Traditionally, risotto is made from rice. Hot stock added in small increments softens the rice and adds flavor. Cooking quinoa in a similar fashion to traditional risotto, enhanced with the umami of mushrooms, results in a fluffy quinoa very similar to fluffy rice. I feature this dish in the first of a three part series entitled, "Monty Python and the Wholly Grain."