What to CookRisotto

Whip Up a Batch of This Easy-Peasy Dinner, Feed Yourself All Week

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Creamy, rich, slightly al dente risotto is so easy to eat. But standing over a stove, patiently coaxing as much starch as possible out of rice with lots and lots of stirring? Not so much. Risotto-making is a great way to warm up on gray winter weekends, but we’re in the bright, bold throes of spring, and I’d much rather get my warmth from sunshine.

Cookbook author and recipe developer Leah Vanderveldt has the perfect compromise in her latest book, The New Porridge—a creamy quinoa-lentil risotto that comes together with minimal stove-hovering.

Photo by Bobbi Lin

“The pairing of red lentils and quinoa is perfect for a plant-based, protein-packed risotto,” she writes. “The lentils cook quickly and lose their shape, adding to the creaminess of the dish, while the quinoa provides a pleasantly nutty flavor and bite.”

To complement the velvety grains, Vanderveldt adds just-barely-cooked asparagus and peas along with a generous sprinkle of Parmesan. Each bite feels just as comforting as the real deal, but with a fresh, springtime crunch.

Vandervelt’s recipe says it serves two, but I found it to be a generous two. You could easily double the recipe and have a week of dinners (or lunches!), and still have time to enjoy the springtime sun.

Quinoa–Red Lentil Risotto With Asparagus & Peas

Quinoa–Red Lentil Risotto With Asparagus & Peas

Food52 Food52
Serves 2


  • 1/2 cup (90g) dried red lentils, soaked, then drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup (85g) quinoa, soaked, then drained and rinsed
  • 3 1/2 cups (875ml) stock of choice
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan (optional), plus extra to serve

Asparagus & peas

  • 1 splash olive oil or grass-fed butter
  • 1/2 bunch asparagus (about 225g/8oz), woody ends trimmed, cut into 1-inch (2.5cm) pieces
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup (75g) frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Go to Recipe

Would you try a lentil-quinoa risotto? Or do you swear by arborio rice?

Automagic Spring Menu Maker!
Automagic Spring Menu Maker!

Tags: Spring, Books