Bitter Garlic Quinoa Risotto

I created this recipe for a quinoa class because I wanted to experiment with adding some dark flavors to quinoa. To achieve those dark flavors, I created a broth made from caramelized, bitter garlic. The flavor is intense, off the beaten path, and delicious. Keep in mind, this is not a real rissoto, but it’s cooked in the same style so that the quinoa slowly absorbs wine and veggie stock until it is cooked perfectly al dente. 


Time to Make: 1 hour 15 minutes
Makes 4 cups


15 cloves of garlic
Olive oil
1 1/2 cups of quinoa
1/4 cup of white wine
About 4 cups of veggie stock
1 teaspoon of fresh thyme
1/3 cup of sliced sundried tomatoes
Salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
Crushed red pepper to taste


Lightly coat the garlic in olive oil and wrap the cloves in a packet of foil. Roast the garlic at 350°F for 50 minutes, until the garlic is heavily browned. Puree the garlic with the stock and set it aside.

“The garlic should be heavily browned, and some of it might even be crispy. This is what produces both the caramel and bitter flavors. If you don’t want the bitter flavor from the garlic, only roast it for about 35 minutes.”

In a pan or wok, toast the quinoa over medium heat for 4 minutes, gently stirring it. Add the wine and cook this until the quinoa has absorbed most of the wine. Ladle 1 cup of the broth into the pot and slowly stir until the stock is mostly absorbed. Continue this until the quinoa is just al dente. Add one last cup of stock, the sundried tomatoes, thyme, salt, and pepper and cook until the stock is fully absorbed. Plate and garnish with crushed red pepper.

“The amount of stock you need is largely determined by the shape of your pan, so it’s always better to make a little more stock than you expect to use. Also, many of the ingredients are added at the end of the cooking process so that they don’t completely infuse the quinoa. That keeps the quinoa from being homogenous. Finally, unlike a standard risotto, you don’t need to constantly stir the quinoa. A stir every couple of minutes will suffice.”


Pot or Wok
Stirring Spoon
Measuring Cup
Measuring Spoon
Cutting Board