A Porcini Mushroom Quinoatto!

Who does not like to Quinoa these days? It seems to be the grain of choice everywhere. Is it true that quinoa is better than rice? Is it better nutritionally or for weight loss? If you have these questions, then check out the end of this post for the answers.

Here, I use Quinoa instead of rice and cook it very similarly to how I would cook a porcini Risotto, the outcome is a delicious twist on that most popular risotto. Also these days I am on a quest to eat less meats and try to have as many meatless meals as I can and this one is a very satisfying one where meatless or plant-based are concerned. This dish, if omitting the cheese, is an excellent vegan choice for your vegan family members and friends. The porcini enriches the flavour and makes up for the absent meat for the aspiring vegetarians!

This tasty concoction is perfect as a light and meatless lunch, perfect as a side to meaty foods, and works very well as a salad, especially for your BBQ’s, all you need to do is toss in some leaves and perhaps some chopped sun dried tomatoes, black olives… a fab option now that Dubai’s weather is more forgiving for outdoor meals. Give it a try and see how you are going to love it and be loved for making it ūüėČ

Since fresh porcini mushrooms are not always available, you can use the dried porcinis instead. Make a porcini mushroom stock and use it in cooking the quinoa. Just make sure not to go too heavy on the porcinis because they are very pungent and you still have some to be used in the dish too.


Serves: 3-4
  • 3 tbsp DS Premium Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 100g porcini mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 small brown onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 springs fresh thyme
  • 350g Quinoa
  • 1.3 ml homemade porcini stock
  • 1/4 cup white wine or 2 tbsp white grape vinegar
  • Juice of 1 large lemon
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Grated Grana Padano¬†cheese

In a large bowl, mix together the porcini stock, wine/vinegar and lemon juice. Set aside.

In a large skillet, sauté the onions and garlic in the heated olive oil until translucent, then add the chopped mushrooms and thyme springs and season with salt and black pepper. Continue to sauté until the mushrooms are cooked through.

Add the quinoa, and stir to coat. Gradually ladle the vegetable stock mixture into the quinoa, stirring after each addition until all the liquid is absorbed. Continue to ladle the stock and stir until all the liquid had been added and the quinoa is cooked through. Transfer to a serving dish, discard the thyme springs and garnish the tops with fresh thyme leaves and freshly cracked black pepper. Top with grated parmesan cheese.

What is the nutritional value of Quinoa VS Rice? & Which is better for you?

While most people happen to think that Quinoa is healthier than brown rice, less fattening, packs more nutritional value… and hence are lately choosing Quinoa over rice; this here is not 100% accurate! I do love Quinoa, and have nothing against it, and by many measures it wins over brown rice in nutritional value, however, brown rice too has amazing power to it that makes it also very good for you. I do think we should ‘know’ instead of just follow recommendations. Once we know we understand our options and our choices become clearer. Remembers what works for one body, does not necessarily work for every body!

Let’s compare the nutritional value of 1 cup cooked Brown Rice VS 1 cup cooked Quinoa:

Calories: Rice has 216 calories in 1 cup, while Quinoa has 222 calories in 1 cup.

Fat: Works better for brown rice as while both are low in their fat content, Quinoa has double the fat (3.6g) than rice (1.8g)

Protein: Quinoa’s power and reputation is mainly due to its protein content with (8g) as opposed to the still high in protein content brown rice (5g).

Carb: Works in favour for Quinoa as it contains (13%) as opposed to brown rice (15%).

Fiber: Is most important for metabolism and especially for burning carbs and Quinoa wins the fiber round with (21%) VS (14%) for brown rice.

Calcium: Quinoa packs (3%) and brown rice packs (2%), both are poor in calcium which is essential for bone health.

Magnesium: another bone building nutrient and the champion is Quinoa (30%) while brown rice (21%). This here is essential especially for those following plant-based diets and not consuming dairy products.

Iron: an essential nutrient for immunity and the immune system. Quinoa has (16%) 4 times more the brown rice (4%).

Phosphorus: a cell protective nutrient is higher in Quinoa (28%) as opposed to brown rice (16%).

Potassium: Is also higher in Quinoa (9%) as opposed to (2%) found in brown rice.

Sodium: An essential nutrient to consider especially for those with high blood pressure, circulation problems and water retention issues. Brown rice wins this round with (10%) as opposed to Quinoa packing (13%).

Vitamin B3: Is known to lower cholesterol levels, which is necessary for those suffering from high cholesterol levels. Brown rice happens to be rich in Vitamin B3 with (15mg) as opposed to the meager (4%) found in Quinoa.

Zinc: is a nutrient best for fighting flus and Quinoa packs (13%) of it while brown rice packs only (8%).

Folate: An important nutrient for women, especially pregnant women, and one hard to obtain. Quinoa is a champ when it comes to folate with (20%) as opposed to the very small (2%) found in brown rice.

Manganese: Brown rice happens to pack all your needs of this cell protecting nutrient with (90%) as opposed to Quinoa’s (60%).

Selenium: A nutrient essential for the body as it uses it to make antioxidants, which necessary for detoxing and fighting cancerous cells. Brown rice wins with (27%) against the (7%) in Quinoa.

In a nutshell – both Quinoa & Brown Rice are gold metal grains, packed with essential nutrients, vitamins, minerals.. If you can compromise a bit on fat and cholesterol, then, Quinoa wins as it is packed with other nutrients, minerals and vitamins. However if you suffer from cholesterol, and need to consume less fatty foods then your choice is better with brown rice. You see, again, it keeps going back to the same old “healthy is balanced eating” consuming a balanced diet of everything.¬†mixing and matching where some days you eat this grain and other you have that, you will find that in the end you are obtaining all the necessary nutrients for your body and you are overall doing better on all health fronts. Be active, eat less quantities and more meals, eat varied and you will definitely be healthy. Remember organic is the way to go, you do not need (and should stay away from) all the synthetic pesticides, added chemicals, medicines, hormones, and all those carcinogens as no matter how much nutritional value any food packs, you will always suffer and your body cannot counterpart the effects of those poisonous materials in non-organic foods.

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