Chicken and Mushroom Risotto – Grain free

I am always looking for new inspiration on ways to transform old classic dishes using whole food ingredients. This one came to me when I was lucky enough to have the most divine grain free risotto at a little wholefood café in Bondi over the weekend. Combining the classic flavour combination of chicken, mushroom and thyme in a creamy risotto like dish, this recipe utilises quinoa instead of Arborio rice which is a great option for those looking to cut down on their intake of grains or for those who experience bloating following rice based meals (you’re not alone!).

The beauty of this risotto is that it doesn’t require constant stirring, nor does it require much love during the cooking process. You simply sauté your leeks, garlic and thyme, add the mushies and then add the quinoa and chicken stock and simmer away until it is thick and creamy. The chicken is cooked separately and added at the last minute to the dish.

I love the texture that the quinoa brings to this dish. The little quinoa balls burst in your mouth, making each bite exciting and the kids love it too.

From a nutritional point of view it is a well-rounded dish combining a good mix of macronutrients in the form of lean protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats with a serve of vegies to boot. Serve it with a little green side salad of baby spinach, mini asparagus, macadamia nuts and thin slices of parmesan cheese and you have a corker of a dinner.

So here you have it, Creamy Chicken and Mushroom Grain Free Risotto.


  • 1 leek, white part only, sliced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 5 thyme sprigs, leaves only
  • 6 button mushrooms, sliced thickly
  • 1.5 cups of white quinoa, washed twice
  • 4 chicken thighs, cut into small chunks
  • 3 cups of chicken stock
  • 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Parmesan cheese to top it off


  1. Heat half of the oil in a large frypan or saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add the leek, onion, thyme and garlic to the pan and saute for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the mushies and cook for a further 3 minutes.
  4. Add the rinsed quinoa and chicken stock (it will look like a lot but it will reduce), a pinch of salt to taste and simmer uncovered for about 25 minutes.
  5. During the last 10 minutes of cook time, add the remainder of your oil to another pan and heat on medium heat.
  6. Add your chicken pieces and fry for 5 minutes, turning regularly, to ensure a golden colour on all sides.
  7. To dish up, serve a few generous spoonfuls of risotto and top with chicken, season with salt and top with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese or thyme leaves. Enjoy!

Stephanie Meades is a Health and Wellness Coach at Life Wellness Co. For more wholefood inspiration and tips on living well, visit or follow on facebook/lifewellnessco.


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