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Cheesy Mushroom Quinoa is a gluten-free risotto that's creamy and healthy! Serve it as a side dish or light meatless main meal.
When you need a fancy side dish, make easy mushroom quinoa! It has a meaty feel from finely diced mushrooms and a cheese flavor from grated Parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast.
Quinoa is the perfect base for this dish because the tiny little "seeds" absorb the delicious broth easily! You won't have to keep a watchful eye while it cooks, as you do with arborio rice (which is traditionally used to make risotto.).
Here's what you'll need to make the recipe:
- Quinoa - There are 3 main types of quinoa: red, white, and black. You can also buy tri-color packages with a blend of all three. Any kind of quinoa will work in this recipe. However, we recommend white because it is mild and less crunchy. The red and black varieties are the heartiest and also the chewiest. See the section below on rinsing quinoa.
- Vegetable broth that is low in salt
- Mushrooms - white or baby Bella. To prepare mushrooms, finely chop them with a knife or food processor. Yes - you can use a food processor. Just be careful not to process them for very long!
- Note: sliced mushrooms may be used instead!
- Parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast for a vegan version
- Thyme - fresh or dried
- Olive oil, salt, and pepper
Note that Parmesan cheese and vegetable broth are both high in sodium. So if you're watching your salt, use a low-sodium broth and possibly a little less Parmesan cheese.
The ingredient quantities are located on the recipe card.
Do You Need to Rinse Quinoa?
If it hasn't been pre-rinsed before you buy it, then quinoa must be rinsed to remove naturally-occurring saponin, which coats each seed. A package will clearly state if this step has been taken.
If it has not been removed, your dish will taste bitter and soapy. Luckily, it's easy to remedy. To remove the coating, add quinoa to a fine mesh sieve and run cold water over it until it runs clear.
Here's how to make cheesy, creamy mushroom quinoa:
- Place quinoa and broth in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer, cover and cook for about 15 minutes or until water is absorbed. Grains will be soft and translucent and the germ ring will be visible on the outside of the grain.
- While the quinoa is cooking, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, and saute mushrooms and onions for about 5 minutes or until softened and tender.
- When quinoa has finished cooking, add it to the skillet with the mushrooms and onions. Stir in cheese and thyme. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.
There's very little room for error when cooking this recipe, but you can easily modify it!
- For an even creamier recipe, stir in a few tablespoons of broth, especially if reheating the recipe.
- A Tablespoon of white wine can be added to the broth when cooking the quinoa.
- Add beans or meat to turn this into a hearty main dish.
- Other vegetables, such as spinach, peppers, and garlic, can be sauteed with mushrooms and onions.
- Use a different fresh herb, such as rosemary or basil.
- Refrigerator - Store leftover mushroom quinoa in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. We do not recommend freezing this recipe because the quinoa will become mushy.
- Reheat - Add 1-2 tablespoons of broth or water to the leftover portion. Warm on the stovetop over low heat, stirring until heated through. Alternatively, cover and heat in the microwave for several minutes.
More Recipes with Quinoa
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Cheesy Mushroom Quinoa
- 1 cup quinoa well-rinsed
- 2 cups vegetable broth low-salt
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 8 ounces mushrooms white or baby bella, finely chopped with a knife or food processor
- ½ white onion diced
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese grated: Nutritional yeast for vegan version.
- 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme 1 teaspoon dried
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Place quinoa and broth in a pot and bring to a boil.
- Reduce to simmer, cover and cook for about 15 minutes or until water is absorbed. Grains will be soft and translucent and the germ ring will be visible on the outside of the grain.
- While the quinoa is cooking, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Saute mushrooms and onions for about 5 minutes or until softened and tender.
- When quinoa has finished cooking, add it to the skillet with the mushrooms and onions.
- Stir in cheese and thyme.
- Season with salt and pepper, if desired.
This recipe was first published on 3/29/14 and has been updated to improve the reader experience.