Easy Tomato & Basil Quinoa Risotto – GF, Vegetarian/Vegan Option

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Last updated on June 17th, 2022 at 06:39 pm

This tomato and basil quinoa risotto for one, takes ridiculously little time and makes a very easy, super healthy lunch or dinner idea! The recipe is gluten-free, but I did put some Mozzarella cheese, so if you’re vegan or live dairy-free – just leave the cheese out, mkay? It’s just as good. This quinoa recipe is vegetarian, yet a good source of protein, antioxidants and suitable for weight loss.

Tomato Basil Quinoa Risotto

Quinoa is back in my life and I think it’s here to stay. I haven’t made any recipe with quinoa for a looooong time now, so I’m very excited to share this one with you. It’s so simple, but soooo good. Something like a risotto, but not really. Because it’s not rice and because you don’t have to stir until you get old and your hair gets grey (which wouldn’t really affect me – mine is grey since I was 17).

The best part is: you don’t have to worry someone’s gonna make you cry on Masterchef. Now, I don’t know if you ever watched Masterchef, but for a while I was OBSESSED with that show. Even though everything is obviously very very very VERY staged.

I was watching it without blinking, my heart beating really fast, wondering what’s gonna happen, even though it was obvious: nothing. Nothing’s gonna happen. But, um…during the dreaded pressure test? After all it’s a DREADED pressure test??

No. Nothing really EVER happened on that show. Still, I would watch it for a few hours, if you play it to me right now.

Okay, now I forgot…how did we end up here?

That’s right, risotto!

Until this very day – every time I say “risotto” my brainwashed self thinks of the Masterchef judge, who was always spitting out the contestant food. I forgot his name and it’s making me crazy. Anyway, he was so particular with his risottos: Never good enough.

Wonder if he would spit out this quinoa risotto. Probably, after all it’s a QUINOA risotto. How dare I?

But, we’ll never know. That judge wouldn’t have the chance, because I ate it all. Because it was only one serving. Yes, I was cooking just for myself, so I made one serving.

If you’re going to enjoy this in the company of another human and not while scrolling through your phone – then lucky you gets to double or quadruple the ingredients.

Tomato Basil Quinoa Recipe Ingredients

Speaking of, what are those mysterious foods that make up this tasty vegetarian meal? Well, here’s what we’ll need:

  • Quinoa. And we need it cooked here, please!
  • Zucchini. That would be the one bigger vegetable in the risotto. You can also add any other type of vegetables you enjoy eating…peppers, eggplant or even green beans will work too.
  • Garlic, basil and arugula. You do not want to skip these three! They add so much flavor and provide so many health benefits to your body.
  • Fresh tomatoes. You can also use canned tomatoes, but honestly, it’s not the same. If tomatoes are in season when you make this, go for fresh! You will also need a few sundried tomatoes.
  • Cheese and olive oil. I’ve reduced my dairy-consumption to a minimum, but I did use mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. I seem to be doing pretty well with those and they’re delicious, so I did not want to skip them. Also add the extra virgin olive oil.

How To Make This Tomato Basil Quinoa Recipe

To make this tasty quinoa risotto, you will start with an easy and tasty tomato sauce.

Blend two fresh tomatoes with sundried tomatoes that have been soaked, some basil and as much garlic as you want. I used a hand blender for this step, but you can use any food processor or blender that you have.

Chop the other two fresh tomatoes and the zucchini.

Cook the chopped tomatoes with olive oil for 1 minute in a medium-sized pan. Then add the tomato sauce you just made.

Stir in the quinoa, for about 1-2 minutes and mix well.

Add zucchini and arugula, mix that well into the quinoa, add a little bit of olive oil.

Turn the heat off and sprinkle cheese all over.

That is all, you’re done and you can dig in!

Meal Prep

So, can you make this for meal prep? Yes you can when you triple the recipe. You can even try freezing it. It will stay good in the fridge for 2-3 days. Can’t promise longer. Also, as you know: I HATE meal prep. The only things I prepare my grains or legumes, if I do it at all.

So if you don’t want to meal prep the entire thing: here’s a more common sense idea – just cook the quinoa ahead for the week. Be overly ambitious and chop the zucchini as well. When you have some cooked quinoa – this healthy recipe comes together in about 10 min. It’s perfect for busy weeknights.

Options and Notes

I used just a tiny clove of garlic, but you can add more garlic if you like. I definitely would, at least 2-3 garlic cloves. But I was going out later, so I decided to spare the people around me the stank. Even though I had a fun evening, I still think “giving up” garlic was not worth it. It never is. You know I love garlic. Garlic 4 president and king. And world leader.

Also I know, some of you might say – cheese, no, forbidden, FORBIDDEN!!! Well I say – cheese yuuuuuuuuuuuuuuum. Don’t hate. I was craving cheese like an insane person. Okay, I was craving cheese and pizza and pasta all at the same time. Now listen. I can deal with not eating gluten, even though we all know it’s the best tasting thing in the world…But come on…

The point is: for all my vegan and dairy-free friends – you can totally leave the cheese out or use a vegan cheese substitute instead. With or without cheese – this is delicious and you’ll enjoy it.

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