Fresh from the market Latino!

Squeeze some lime and top with a little chopped cilantro

You must think I’m turning all health nut on you. I realize that many of my recent entries have been focusing on healthful cooking and wholesome recipes, but that doesn’t mean I’m leaving my Latin roots behind. The truth is that this semester a Consumer Journalism class at school has opened my eyes to some of the realities of our country’s food system. Coincidentally, I’ve come across some interesting articles recently that bring fresh ideas to the Latin kitchen. One of my favorite Latin food bloggers Ana Sofía Pelaez, recently wrote about the benefits of Latin American super-grains amaranth and quinoa. Lorenza Muñoz shed some light on the vegetarian options that abound in Mexican cooking in her latest story in the LA Times.

It’s dawned on me that with so much variety in ingredients, textures and flavors found in Latin dishes, one can easily prepare fresh and tasty meals without sacrificing the depth of flavor and complexity that’s inherent in Latin cooking.

So this week, I bring you a light and delicious recipe for Bolivian quinoa risotto ( I know, who knew!) from Viva Vegan!, Terry Hope Romero’s vegan ode to Latino cooking which reinterprets traditional Cuban ropa vieja, Venezuelan arepas and Dominican habichuelas, in a fresh and environmentally conscious way.

Mushroom Quinotto Serves 2-3 as main course


1/2 lb. oyster or cremini mushrooms

3 tablespoons of olive oil

2 cloves garlic, chopped

3 shallots, chopped

1 cup dried quinoa, rinsed in a fine-mesh strainer

1/2 cup white wine

1/2 teaspoon thyme

1/2 dried oregano

3 cups of broth (vegetable or chicken)

1 lime

cilantro, chopped


Clean mushrooms with a towel to remove dirt. Slice thinly and sautee in a heavy saucepan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil until golden. Remove from heat and set aside.

Sautee garlic and shallots in 1 tablespoon of olive oil until golden. Add quinoa and stir, until quinoa gets some color (2-3 min). Pour in white wine to deglaze pan and stir in oregano and thyme.

Pour in 1 cup of broth and continue to stir until liquid is absorbed. Add mushrooms and save some fro garnish. Continue like this, adding the broth and stirring as the quinoa absorbs the liquid, for about 30 minutes. It will be ready when the quinoa is tender and the mixture is moist but the liquid has been absorbed.

Remove pan from heat, cover and let rest for 10 minutes.

Return the mushrooms you saved to the pan and fry until crispy.

Spoon the quinoa onto a dish, squeeze some lime juice, top with cilantro and golden mushrooms.

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