I International grocery stores, they often have a huge variety of fresh produce and usually sold at AMAZING prices. It’s also a fantastic place to grab BIG bags of dried mushrooms, which are needed for this savoury mushroom quinoa pilaf side dish.
Dried mushrooms are a concentrated mushroom flavour booster and are great for making broths which can improve sauces, soups and any dish where a flavourful earthy broth is needed. For this reason, I highly recommend having a variety of dried mushrooms in your pantry.
Soaking Dried Mushrooms & Cook Quinoa
This recipe starts off with dried mushrooms being soaked in boiling water – which is the typical way to bring dried mushrooms back to life – it softens and rehydrates the mushrooms and flavours the water. While the mushrooms soak, you can start cooking the onions in a medium sized pot until their soft and translucent. From there tip in the minced garlic and quinoa and allow to cook for a minute or two to toast the seeds and warm the garlic. Then add in the mushroom stock (the juice leftover from soaking the mushrooms) – be careful, the pan will be hot and therefore the liquid may splatter. At this point you want to bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat just above low, cover the pan and set a timer for 12 minutes. When the buzzer goes off, check to see if there’s any liquid left at the bottom of the pan, if there is, allow it to cook for a few minutes longer.
Saute Onions & Mushrooms
While the quinoa cooks, heat a large frying pan over medium heat. When it’s hot add a splash of oil and the sliced mushrooms, spread them out, then DON’T TOUCH THEM for 5 minutes – this is important for the mushrooms to brown. Then give them a stir, add a pinch of salt and pepper and let them cook for another 5 minutes. To finish, deglaze the bottom of the frying pan with wine – this will lift any browned flavours that have gotten stuck.
Mixing Everything Together
By this time your quinoa should be done and ready to be add to the cooked mushrooms and then garnished with roasted cashews and green onions. As always, season well with salt and pepper.
Serve this as a main alongside steamed greens, roasted squash or a simple salad or as a side to a holiday feast.
Mushroom Quinoa Pilaf
- Cutting Board
- Measuring Spoons & Cups
- Medium Pot with Lid
- Large Frying Pan
- Wooden spoon
- 1 cup dried shiitake mushrooms or a mix of whatever you have
- 2 cups boiling water
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion sliced
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
- 1 cup quinoa
- ½ - ¾ teaspoon salt
- 8 oz 240 grams cremini mushrooms thinly sliced
- ¼ cup white wine
- ½ cup roasted cashews
- 2 green onions or 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
- Soak the dried mushrooms in boiling water for 30 minutes. Scoop out mushrooms and slice thinly, reserving the mushroom soaking liquid - about 1.5 cups, if you’re left with less, add a bit of water to bring the mushroom broth to 1.5 cups.
- In a medium pot, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat, add onions, cook and stir until onions have softened, about 7 minutes. Add garlic and quinoa, cook and stir for 1 minute to toast quinoa. Add mushroom soaking lid, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until water is absorbed, about 12 to 15 minutes.
- While the quinoa cooks, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan. Add both sliced mushrooms (soaked and fresh), cook for 5 minutes undisturbed to allow mushrooms to caramelize on one side; stir and cook for 5 more minutes until well browned. Season with a pinch of salt and deglaze the pan with white wine.
- To pot of cooked quinoa add browned mushrooms, roasted cashews, sliced green onions. Season well with salt and pepper.
- To deglaze the pan with wine, means to add wine to the hot pan, stir, lifting off any browned pits of flavour stuck to the pan and add them back to the dish – in this case, back into the mushrooms. If you don’t have wine, you can use vegetable stock or any leftover mushroom soaking liquid
- To enhance the umami flavours, combine 1 tablespoon of hot water and white miso. Stir into cooked quinoa.
- Substitute roasted cashews for roasted sunflower seeds, pine nuts or almonds.