The pairing of red lentils and quinoa is perfect for a plant-based, protein-packed risotto. 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. Quick and low-maintenance, this is also a cheat’s risotto with less ladling and stirring than traditional versions.
Reprinted with permission from "The New Porridge," by Leah Vanderveldt, 2018. —Food52
(90g) dried red lentils, soaked, then drained and rinsed
(85g) quinoa, soaked, then drained and rinsed
3 1/2 cups
(875ml) stock of choice
Salt, to taste
finely grated Parmesan (optional), plus extra to serve
Combine the lentils, quinoa, stock, and salt to taste in a medium saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove the lid and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes. Take off the heat when most of the liquid has been absorbed, the red lentils have broken down, and the texture is creamy.
Stir in the Parmesan (if using), then taste for seasoning.
Meanwhile, heat a frying pan/skillet over medium heat. Add enough olive oil or butter to cover the base of the pan in a thin layer and heat through for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Add the asparagus, sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt, and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the asparagus is browning in spots but still bright green.
Add the garlic and 2 or 3 tablespoons of water if the pan is dry and toss to combine.
Cover and cook for another minute. Remove the lid and stir in the peas, then remove from the heat and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Add the lemon juice just before serving.
Serve the risotto topped with the asparagus and peas and more Parmesan, if desired.