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Photo: Randy Mayor Photo by: Photo: Randy Mayor

Quinoa and Onion Risotto with Crème Fraîche and Hazelnuts

A powdery phytochemical called saponin covers quinoa. Rubbing and rinsing the grain rids it of that bitter coating. Serve this nutty side dish as an accompaniment to peppercorn-crusted pork tenderloin or ham.

Cooking Light MARCH 2005

  • Yield: 6 servings


  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked quinoa
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped Oso Sweet or other sweet onion
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons crème fraîche
  • 3 tablespoons chopped hazelnuts, toasted


Place quinoa in a fine sieve; place sieve in a large bowl. Cover quinoa with water. Using your hands, rub grains together for 30 seconds; rinse and drain. Repeat procedure twice. Drain well.

Combine 6 cups water, salt, thyme, and bay leaf in a large saucepan; bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cover and cook 5 minutes; discard thyme and bay leaf. Keep warm over low heat.

Melt butter in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add onion, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add quinoa; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add warm seasoned water, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently until each portion of warm seasoned water is absorbed before adding the next (about 30 minutes total). Stir in vinegar. Spoon 2/3 cup risotto into each of 6 small bowls or plates; top each serving with 1 1/2 teaspoons crème fraîche. Sprinkle each serving with 1 1/2 teaspoons hazelnuts.

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 245
  • Calories from fat: 29%
  • Fat: 8g
  • Saturated fat: 2.5g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 3.3g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 1.5g
  • Protein: 7.3g
  • Carbohydrate: 37.4g
  • Fiber: 4.3g
  • Cholesterol: 8mg
  • Iron: 4.3mg
  • Sodium: 413mg
  • Calcium: 61mg