This post was created in partnership with Everclear® Grain Alcohol. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Who knew that quinoa could make a beautiful, creamy, time-saving substitute for arborio rice? I didn’t really believe it either until I tried it. But trust me when I say this quinoa risotto is so warm and comforting, you won’t even miss the starchy heaviness (or hours spent stirring) of the real thing.
Quinoa Risotto with Asparagus and Peas Recipe
This reimagined risotto gets its creaminess from blended white beans and zippy flavors from tart lemon juice, fresh herbs and a dash of Everclear® Grain Alcohol.
Yep, that Everclear!
We’ve used Everclear Grain Alcohol to make perfume and in cleaning, but there are so many uses for it in the kitchen, too! In this dish, Everclear helps balance out the creaminess and bring out the flavors and aroma. It also helps the fats bind to the other liquids in the recipe, resulting in a smooth, creamy risotto.
How to use Everclear in cooking
When cooking, use Everclear just like you would wine. Here are the secret tips:
– Use it sparingly to enhance the flavors, not compete with them.
– Add it early in the cooking process so the alcohol has time to evaporate.
– Pour it into the pot slowly over low heat to prevent any unexpected flareups.
– Give it time. It takes time for alcohol to bring out the flavors in a dish.
Let your quinoa simmer for at least 10 minutes before giving it a taste test. If you think it needs more herbs or spices add them at the end rather than overdoing it at the beginning.
How to make creamy quinoa risotto
The real beauty of this dish is that you can make it as creamy as you like. A white bean puree provides the richness without the heavy dairy. And unlike regular risotto, quinoa will absorb most of the excess liquid as it sits so you don’t have to worry about overdoing it.
If you plan on having leftovers, I recommend setting aside some of the white bean sauce for later. Just prior to reheating, top it off with more sauce and broth and give it a good stir.
Celebrate fresh spring produce
While risotto is great on its own, it’s even better as a vehicle for fresh toppings. And as spring produce starts to hit stores, this dish is the perfect way to celebrate.
Roast some extra asparagus spears in olive oil and a dash of salt. Top with peas and freshly chopped herbs for a brilliant green finish.
Give it a squeeze of lemon juice or a drizzle of olive oil for zest. And don’t forget the shaved Romano (if you’re vegan, use a pinch of nutritional yeast instead)—it makes it sing!
You can find Everclear at your local retailer or online via Cask Cartel, Caskers or Drizly. You can also search Everclear’s product locator page online!
Creamy Quinoa Risotto with Asparagus and Peas
- Dutch oven
- Blender or food processor
- 2 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 3 shallots diced
- 2 teaspoons thyme leaves fresh or dried
- 1 cup quinoa rinsed
- ½ cup Everclear Grain Alcohol
- 1 ¾ cups vegetable broth
- 1 can white beans drained and rinsed
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Pinch salt
- 1/3 cup frozen peas
- 1/3 cup chopped asparagus
- Parsley, extra peas, roasted asparagus, olive oil, lemon juice or Romano cheese for garnish
- In a large Dutch oven, combine 1 tablespoon olive oil with chopped shallots. Soften over medium-low heat for 2-3 minutes. When soft, add 2 teaspoons thyme and sauté for another minute.
- Turn down the heat and add the rinsed quinoa and ½ cup Everclear Grain Alcohol. Let simmer 1 minute before adding the vegetable broth. Cover and continue simmering on low for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, add white beans, lemon juice, remaining olive oil and a pinch of salt to the base of a blender or food processor. Puree until smooth, adding vegetable broth as needed to reach the right consistency.
- Add the peas and asparagus to the cooked quinoa and continue cooking 3-5 more minutes, or until quinoa has absorbed most, but not all, of the liquid.
- Combine the cooked quinoa with the white bean puree and stir well. If needed, add more vegetable broth or white beans until you get a creamy consistency. Feel free to make this as creamy as you like!
- Garnish with parsley, extra peas, roasted asparagus, a drizzle of olive oil or a sprinkle of freshly shaved Romano cheese.