White Bean Quinoa Risotto from the First Mess Cookbook

One of the things that excites me most about food, besides eating it, is the sharing of ideas and inspiration. One recipe could lead to 100’s of variations which in return, could lead to 100’s of more variations. There’s an element of play, which I always encourage. Today I’m sharing a recipe from a blogger I think is one of the most inspirational plant-based women in the field. Laura from The First Mess is always coming up with new combinations and ways to cook with regular pantry ingredients. Her new blog-titled book, The First Mess, just hit shelves. If you are into plant-based recipes, which if you’re reading this site, I have a sneaking suspicion you are, I cannot recommend her book enough.

This quinoa risotto was one I tested and I knew the moment I tasted it, I wanted to share it once the book launched. Laura uses a white bean puree mixed with a bit of lemon and nutritional yeast to form the creamy risotto base. Best of all, thanks to quick cooking quinoa, this risotto is much faster than the traditional rice-based version!

White Bean Quinoa Risotto with Roasted Brussels Sprouts from the First Mess Cookbook

Creamy White Bean and Quinoa Risotto with Crispy Brassica Florets

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Category: Main Course


A beautiful vegan quinoa risotto from The First Mess Cookbook. This risotto uses pureed white beans to add creaminess and roasted brassica to top.


  • 5 to 6 cups small florets of cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, or romanesco (or a mix)
  • 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons virgin olive oil (divided)
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 2 cups cooked white beans (such as navy or cannellini)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Pinch of nutritional yeast
  • 2 1/3 cup vegetable stock (divded)
  • 4 to 5 shallots (fine dice (roughly 2/3 cup))
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves (about 4 sprigs)
  • 1 cup any color quinoa (rinsed)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (divded)
  • Drizzle of virgin olive oil (for serving)


  1. Preheat oven to 400˚F (200˚C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Place the small florets on the baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat and slide the baking sheet into the oven. Roast the florets until the edges are evenly brown and crispy, flipping the pieces over occasionally to ensure equal doneness, about 20 to 25 minutes. Set aside.
  3. While the florets roast, in a blender, purée the white beans with the lemon juice, nutritional yeast, 2 teaspoons of the olive oil, and 1/3 cup of the vegetable stock. As soon as you have a smooth and creamy purée, stop the blender. Set the been purée aside. 
  4. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a braiser or medium-sized soup pot over medium heat. Add the shallots, and sauté until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the fresh thyme and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  5. Add the rinsed quinoa to the pot and stir to coat in the oil, herbs, and shallots. Then, add the remaining 2 cups of the vegetable stock to the pot and stir. Bring to a boil, then simmer until the quinoa has absorbed almost all of the liquid, about 13 to 15 minutes.
  6. Scrape the white bean purée into the pot and stir to combine. the quinoa should have a creamy consistency without seeming dry. If it seems dry, add a good splash of vegetable stock.
  7. Season the risotto with salt and pepper. Add half of the parsley to the pot and sit to mix throughout. Divide the quinoa risotto among 4 bowls. Top all portions of risotto with the crispy roasted florets and remaining parsley. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the top if you like. Serve hot. 


Tips & Tricks: For this version, I used all Brussels sprouts for the topping.

Stock up: get the pantry ingredients you will need: Quinoa, Brussels Sprouts, Thyme

Attribution: Reprinted from The First Mess Cookbook by arrangement with Avery Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © 2017, Laura Wright

White Bean Quinoa Risotto with Roasted Brussels Sprouts from the First Mess Cookbook