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  • Writer's pictureDanielle Taylor

MISO QUINOA RISOTTO - A delicious way to keep your blood pressure at bay!

Updated: Feb 28, 2021


I absolutely LOVE mushrooms! They have their own distinct little kingdom of umami, and add richness in flavor to any meal. They are also very dynamic, fitting into just about most kinds of savory dishes and meals.

Mushrooms don’t just impart incredible flavor, they also contribute extraordinary health benefits, which is why they make their way into at least one of my meals just about every single day. There are a dizzying assortment of mushrooms to choose from, each having their own flavor and texture. Although many mushrooms are considered medicinal and are typically found in supplement form (such as chaga, reishi, or turkey tail), there are also many benefits to reap from eating your culinary varieties as well.

Most of us are familiar with white button, crimini, and portabella mushrooms, which are actually, in fact all the very same mushroom (agaricus bisporus), just harvested at different times during development. Although I would like to suggest branching out with your shrooms, trying anything you can get your hands on varieties like shiitake, maitake (a.k.a. Hen of the Woods), trumpet, oyster, pioppini, beech, straw, chanterelle, porcini, wood ear, alba, morel, and lion’s mane mushrooms (and the list goes on). One of the great things about mushrooms is how most mushrooms can be cooked fairly similarly, so you don’t have to be nervous to experiment with them.

As I mentioned in a previous Buy Any Greens Necessary article, mushrooms boast anti-cancer and cholesterol-lowering properties, so this time I thought I would brag about their anti-diabetic powers. Oyster mushrooms are a regular household favorite here, and one particular study didn’t just show their positive influence over insulin and glycogen, but impressively improved damaged pancreatic cells (the organ responsible for insulin secretion).

And for those moving towards more healthy, plant-based diets, they are excellent substitutes for meat ingredients without sacrificing on the flavor. Yet it’s their health benefits that can really wow those sitting around the dinner table. A surprising amount of research has been done on these little guys, demonstrating their anti-inflammatory, anticancer, anti-diabetic, antimicrobial, and antiviral properties, along with their magical role in fighting cardiovascular, liver, and neurological diseases (and of course there’s more to that list!)

And mushrooms aren’t the only ingredient contributing to the umami in this recipe, miso paste is bringing in its own brand of charisma as well. Miso is a staple in Asian cooking, especially in Japan. There are a few different types of miso, but a majority of miso found in the markets are made from fermented soybeans. The fermentation process can actually enhance the bioavailability of nutrients and digestibility of soybeans, which is an added bonus to the already helpful probiotic endowment.

Because of the fermentation process miso can have a high salt content, which has inspired a lot of research around the blood pressure effects of eating this food. Yet finding after finding has shown that miso doesn’t increase blood pressure, it actually seems like it can even lower it. Interestingly the fermented soybeans in miso have been shown to be a natural ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) inhibitor thanks for the small peptide by-products that aid in relaxing your blood vessels.

Both human and animal studies have measured miso’s relationship with stroke reductions, and this was with consideration of miso’s salt content. One such study noticed that they didn’t just find improved blood pressure from slurping down some miso soup, but also saw improvements in the damage to the heart and kidneys as well.

So if all of that goodness doesn't inspire you to try this Miso Quinoa Risotto recipe, or "Misotto", as I have been so fondly calling it these days, I don’t know what will. As it will surely keep your blood pumping happily with every bite!



25-30 mins prep+cook time, 6 servings

Gluten Free, Sugar Free, Dairy Free


  • 1 cup quinoa (or buckwheat, or a mix of both of them)

  • 3 1/4 cups vegetable broth (or water + vegetable bullion, my favorite is Seitenbacher)

  • 3-4 medium cloves garlic, chopped

  • 2-3 small shallots (1-2 medium shallots), chopped

  • 4+ cups (~9oz) chopped mixed mushrooms (I love oyster, maitake, and king trumpet)

  • 1+ Tbsp oil

  • ⅛ - ¼ tsp salt (optional)

  • 3 Tbsp rice vinegar

  • 1 tsp nutritional yeast (or substitute with rice vinegar)

  • 2 Tbsp miso paste (I recommend white miso for this, but any will do)

  • ~2+ cups frisée lettuce (or other delicate greens, like watercress, arugula or baby greens)

  • Optional garnish with chopped chives, green onions, chopped brazil or cashew nuts

Hot and Ready:

  1. Heat broth on medium-high to a boil, and then reduce heat to low simmer

  2. Chop garlic and shallots (I use a small processor to save time).

  3. Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat, sauté onions and garlic for 3-4 mins until fragrant and beginning to brown.

  4. Add 1 cup quinoa to pan, sautéing for another 3 mins, then turn heat down to medium low.

  5. Add about 1 cup of broth to quinoa; add 2 Tbsp of rice vinegar, ⅛-¼ tsp salt (not usually necessary if there is salt in your broth) to quinoa and stir in, using a spatula to move and flatten rice so the broth distributes evenly, and allow to cook off.

  6. Continue to add broth about 1 cup at a time after each cup is cooked off, but before pan gets dried out.

Room for Shrooms:

  1. White quinoa is cooking roughly chop 4 cups mushrooms and add to a large hot sauté pan (medium-high heat), instead do using oil, add about ¼ cup of the vegetable broth to help soften mushrooms, stirring frequently, for about 7-8 mins.

  2. Once mushrooms are mostly cooked, add 1 Tbsp rice vinegar to mushrooms mixing well to allow them to lightly brown (about 2 mins) and then remove from heat.

  3. After adding the last of the broth to the rice and allowing liquid to cook off mostly, add mushrooms and miso paste, and nutritional yeast and mix well; turn off the heat and allow to stand for 5+ mins.

  4. Pro Tip: For richer taste, add 2 Tbsp plant based butter at the end with the miso.

You Just Got Served!

  1. While risotto is standing, lay a layer of frisée on each plate and prepare garnish.

  2. Plate risotto on top of frisée and top with garnish to serve.

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