Quinoa and Lentil “Risotto”

After my “Tea as the Ultimate Ingredient” class on Sunday morning, I ducked out of all things IACP to go to a Broadway show with my friend Matte.  I’ve always loved musicals, and used to get student or rush tickets all the time in high school.  For two years in a row, my birthday gift from my parents was tickets to the next big show to come to the Orpheum Theatre in the Twin Cities: first Lion King, then Wicked.  But I’ve never seen one actually on Broadway.

As we stood in line, waiting for the doors to the Shubert Theatre open, we chatted about the shows we’ve seen and loved, being outside a Broadway theatre, and the multiple groups of high school students (were they on band or choir trips, maybe?) that needed to chill out and remember that we were all going to get to our seats.

The curtain went up, and we spent the next three hours watching Adam Pascal (the original Roger from Rent!) and Montego Glover performing in Memphis. Afterwards, we dodged rain drops and ducked in Junior’s for some cheesecake: chocolate mousse for me, carrot cake for Matte.  Which ended up being the bulk of our dinners.

And while cheesecake is delicious, it certainly isn’t the healthiest dinner choice around.  But we rolled with it.  A class on cooking with my favorite ingredient + Broadway show + seeing Adam Pascal live on stage + delicious cheesecake = a pretty darn perfect day, don’t you think?

Quinoa and Lentil “Risotto”

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Quinoa and Lentil “Risotto”

This is the perfect dish to counter-balance the previous night's cheesecake dinner, especially when you serve it with a salad or vegetable side. This "risotto" is made of quinoa and lentils. The liquid is added bit by bit, so the quinoa and lentils cook slowly and take on a somewhat creamy quality, similar to a traditional risotto. If you don't have enough stock, you can replace up to 3 cups of it with water.


  • 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2/3 cup black lentils
  • 3/4 cup quinoa
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 bunch parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Bring the stock to a simmer in a large stock pot. Reduce the heat to low and keep the stock warm.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 4-5 minutes, until the garlic is browned and fragrant.
  3. Add the lentils, quinoa and wine, stirring until the wine is reduced to a glaze. Cover with 1 1/2 cups stock and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring constantly, until the liquid is absorbed.
  4. In half-cup increments, add the rest stock. After each addition, stir until the liquid is almost entirely absorbed before adding more.
  5. When the quinoa and lentils are tender and beginning to fall apart, remove from the heat. You may not use all the stock. Stir in the butter, Parmesan and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.




  1. says

    i have never ever ever seen a show and that makes me sad. i really need to get on it!

    also, can’t wait to make this “risotto”! i’ve been using quinoa like crazy lately & any recipe with it gets me excited!

  2. SavvyMom says

    35 years ago, I went to the Shubert to see Chorus Line. It was so exciting! Glad you were able to have the same experience.

  3. says

    Great recipe–I just looked at your site because the recipe intrigued me. However, to be honest, I seldom do because you don’t provide any nutritional information with your recipes. Could be if you added it, it might expand the number of your regular followers. Also I bet you’d be interested too to find out how healthy your dishes are. Just a thought.

    On a different note: your day sounded wonderful: getting together with an old friend, seeing a play, and then celebrating . Doesn’t get much better than that!

    • Julie says

      Thanks for your input, Ginger! I focus on cooking healthy entrees with seasonal ingredients, but my focus is not necessarily on nutritional stats, so I don’t plan to calculate the nutritional information. However, if you check out nutritiondata.com , they will help you calculate it yourself (with lots of information — the usual calories, fat, carbs, etc but also all the vitamins and minerals).

  4. Jess says

    Hi, I have made this recipe from your website 3 times now. In your picture it looks so nice and fluffy. Mine, although delicous, seems to be a little mushy and sticks together. Any suggestions as to why this is happening? Maybe I am overcooking?

    • Julie says

      I’m sorry to hear that! It should be a little creamy, but definitely not mushy. Are you using black lentils or red?

      I’d try shortening the cooking time. The lentils should be just “al dente” when you’re done!

      • Jess says

        Thanks for the quick response! I use black and will shorten the cooking time a bit to see if that helps. It is one of my favorite recipes right now though, super healthy and so yummy!