Quinoa Risotto with Salmon and Kale

by Pamela

Quinoa Risotto with Salmon and Kale

Quinoa Risotto with Salmon and Kale

It’s that time of year again…a new year and new resolution for a healthier you right?

Back in August I did Dr. Alejandro Junger’s 21 day Clean detox program (yes, the one that Gwyneth Paltrow did).  I had spectacular results, like I finally lost those nagging 10  pounds that have been hanging around for the past couple of years, and I felt great.  While I have maintained that weight, some of the good habits I formed in August has kind of fallen by the wayside in December.  It couldn’t have anything to do with my marathon candy making sessions or my week long trip back to Cleveland – or could it?

Either way, we’re back to a regular schedule and the Mr. and I are going back on the Clean detox for a couple of weeks.  Okay truth is, the Mr. doesn’t really actively participate in the process.  He kind of just gets taken along for the ride.  He eats what goes in front of him.  Lucky for both of us, mostly him, he really likes the food that I prepare when I’m doing my cleanse.  He’s even gotten to the point that when he’s eating something new that he really likes, he scrunches up his nose and asks me if what he’s eating is good for him.

Something that a lot of people begin to miss when they are on the clean program is rice.  Quinoa is on the list of foods that you can eat, but after several days of eating quinoa as a side dish, it can get pretty boring.

We do love a good risotto.  Since I’ve been eating quinoa for a couple of years now, I thought I could make a pretty good substitute using quinoa as a stand in for the rice in a risotto.

I will admit that I was never a fan of kale until I made this dish.  I am now a kale convert.

Relationship Advice

If  one of you has made a resolution to get healthy this year, don’t force your resolution on your partner.  At the same time if you’re the one who has not made the “get healthy” resolution, don’t make it harder on your partner to get healthy.  For example: don’t bring home the big bags of potato chips and don’t make fun of the different foods that may be prepared.  Just try to positively support one another in their efforts.

Serves 4


  • 1 Cup Quinoa
  • 1 Medium Onion (diced)
  • 7-8 Leaves of Kale (stems removed and cut into ribbons)
  • 4-5 Garlic Cloves (finely chopped)
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil (divided)
  • 10 Ounces Poached Salmon (flaked)*
  • 32 Ounces Organic Vegetable Stock
  • Salt
  • Pepper


In a 4 quart saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat.  When oil is shimmering, add diced onion.  Saute onion until transparent.  Add quinoa to onion mixture and stir, to toast, for 2 minutes.  Add 1 cup of vegetable stock to quinoa and onions.  Stir until stock is absorbed.  Once stock is absorbed, add 1 cup of stock.  Continue stirring until stock is absorbed.  Add remaining stock in 1/2 cup intervals, stirring until all stock is absorbed.  Remove from heat.

While preparing the onion quinoa mixture, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a saute pan with chopped garlic (over medium high heat).  Once garlic is sizzling, add chopped kale to the pan.  Turn kale to coat with oil and garlic.  Turn kale mixture until fragrant (approximately 2 minutes).  Remove kale mixture from heat.

Once quinoa is complete, add kale and salmon.  Stir to combine and add salt and pepper to taste.

*To poach salmon – Fill a 4 quart saucepan with water and put salmon filet into the water.  Place saucepan over high heat until water boils.  Once water boils, remove pan from heat and let sit for 10 minutes.  Remove fish from water and flake.


Amanda July 23, 2014 at 3:37 pm

Absolutely delicious! I made my own veggie stock and used hazelnut oil instead, adds a nice nutty flavor. Ended up baking the salmon because my husband isn’t a fan of poached. We will be making this again soon.

Jill August 24, 2012 at 8:55 pm

This recipe is positively divine! We’re chowing down right now and I just had to share. It’s so perfect, however I did change a few things. I only ended up using about half the liquid called for. Maybe it was the quinoa I used? I also ended up baking the fish instead of poaching. I only had half the kale I needed so I substituted the rest for spinach. Lastly I had fresh parsley on hand and used a bit of that, it went very well. Thanks for the wonderful recipe!

Pamela August 24, 2012 at 11:31 pm

Hi Jill,

Thanks for coming here and letting me know how you liked the quinoa risotto. I’m so glad you didn’t let your pantry stand in the way making this. I love hearing about the variations people make to recipes. Things like your comments and the swaps you make really make my day. This is why I write this site. 🙂

Emily March 29, 2012 at 8:08 pm

This recipe is awesome! I have come back to it many times and is always loved, my kids (5 and 7 years old) love this dish too! Thank you for this easy, delicious AND healthy recipe!! 🙂

Pamela March 30, 2012 at 2:54 am

Hi Emily,

I’m so happy to hear that you like this recipe so much that you’ve make it often. And the fact that your kids like it is fantastic!

Thanks for coming back here and telling me. 🙂

aubrey January 31, 2010 at 7:51 pm

I’m doing the CLEAN detox as well and its going great. I’m on week three though and eager to try new food. I just tried this recipe tonight and it was DELICIOUS!! Thank you so much for the great recipe.

Pamela February 1, 2010 at 12:54 pm

I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it. While I was on the cleanse my husband even ate this and really enjoyed it.

alta January 27, 2010 at 12:57 pm

So – how did the CLEAN detox go for you? I’m working on it right now, first “official” day is today, although I ate only from clean recipes for the last two days, and yesterday didn’t have a solid meal at dinner. I just don’t count those days because I was weaning myself off of caffeine. But I’d like to know – how did it work for you? Do you feel better/different?

Pamela January 27, 2010 at 6:45 pm

Hi Alta.

I can’t say enough good things about the CLEAN detox. It went really well for me. My main goal was to do it to prepare my body for some surgery I had last fall. My healing time was dramatically reduced and, as a bonus, I lost 12 pounds (that I’ve kept off).

Caveman Cooking January 6, 2010 at 3:30 am

Looks phenomenal, Pamela! Got some risotto sitting in the pantry. Gonna have to give it a go!

Alta January 3, 2010 at 1:58 pm

Wow, I might have to check out that detox program, cause this doesn’t look like “diet food” to me, it just looks like tasty food! I want to try to make a “risotto” with quinoa this week, I love your take on it!

Pamela January 4, 2010 at 12:08 pm

That was probably why I was actually able to stick with it.

Claudia January 3, 2010 at 11:36 am

I love quinoa – this has got to be grand. Yay for you and your ten pounds. Yay for health resolutions – even if you get off the wagon, it remains there for you to get back on!

Kristi Rimkus January 3, 2010 at 9:56 am

Love it! I can’t wait to try this. Healthy ingredients, and I love any recipe that uses quinoa. Thanks!

Laura January 2, 2010 at 6:12 pm

Awesome awesome awesome! I love everything about this recipe and post… I always wondered about using something else for risotto and quinoa makes it practically guilt free! Best of luck on round two of the cleanse and fabulous idea for a tasty dish

pegasuslegend January 2, 2010 at 11:29 am

Well Salmon is one of my favorites and this one looks like a winner! Thanks for sharing 🙂

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