Creamy Carrot Cake Quinoa Risotto with Seared Scallops

carrot risotto, quinoa risotto, carrot quinoa

On my ever-packed list of things I should be doing, I currently have:

Walking the dog (but she seems perfectly happy sleeping all day!)

Attacking all the unread items in my google reader (you don’t even want to know.)

Writing my e-book (it’s gonna be epic, I promise!)

And things I should not be doing? Posting about scallops during Passover. Which is why I had to hold back on this one, till now.

It doesn’t make much sense, I know. First of all I don’t keep kosher. (If I did, I surely wouldn’t be eating scallops!) But during Passover, there’s an unspoken rule in our home that we’ll lay off the shellfish. And furthermore, I didn’t eat this meal during Passover. Maybe it was about a month ago? I’ve lost track. Someday I will be one of those people who eats-blogs-eats-blogs-eats-blogs.

Someday, like when my blog makes enough money to buy me a Vitamix so I can fully immerse myself in green smoothie culture without having to pretend that I mind the chunky bits of greens mingling with my berries and almond milk. (In case you missed that convo on the book yesterday.)

Anyway, what I was trying to say is that I have morals and they tell me that not-even-eating-but-just-posting-about scallops during Passover feels wrong.

And now? Everything is right again. Right down to using dessert to inspire your dinner, because let’s face it, who can wait?

In the mood for creamy carrot risotto warmly spiced with cinnamon and cardamom, I decided to make quinoa risotto instead. You could make gluten-free risotto with either traditional arborio rice or quinoa, but quinoa is more nutritious, containing higher fiber and protein. And guess what? It’s just as easy, creamy and delicious.

Things you should be doing? Making this.

PrintPrint SaveSave

Creamy Carrot Cake Quinoa Risotto with Seared Scallops

Yield: 2 servings


1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1 medium carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1/2 cup dry quinoa
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
2 cardamom pods
2 tablespoons (20gm) golden raisins
1 cup carrot juice
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 lb raw scallops, patted dry
pinch of salt & pepper


In a large glass measuring cup, heat the carrot juice until hot.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, cook the onion and carrot in 1/2 tablespoon olive oil until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and saute for one more minute, stirring.

Add quinoa, cinnamon stick and cardamom pods. Stir to combine and cook for another minute. Add raisins and about 1/3 of the carrot juice and cook, stirring over medium-high heat, until the liquid is absorbed. Add remaining carrot juice in two additions, reheating if necessary and stirring until absorbed before adding the next portion. Once all of the carrot juice has been added, repeat with almond milk. The entire process should take about 40 minutes.

In a cast-iron skillet, heat remaining 1/2 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the scallops with salt and pepper, and add to the hot skillet, cooking for about 3 minutes per side or until a nice brown crust forms.

Remove the cinnamon sticks and cardamom pods from the risotto, and divide among serving plates. Top with the hot scallops and serve immediately.

Nutrition Facts:

Amount Per Serving
Calories 439.5
Saturated Fat 6.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.4 g
Cholesterol 37.4 mg
Sodium 527.1 mg
Potassium 838.8 mg
Total Carbohydrate 54.7 g
Dietary Fiber 5.2 g
Sugars 15.8 g
Protein 26.5 g

  Pin It

15 Responses to “Creamy Carrot Cake Quinoa Risotto with Seared Scallops”

  1. 1

    Alisa — April 17, 2012 @ 11:53 am Reply

    Ah, if only blogging were instantaneous! As for that google reader, it’s called “mark all as read.” Start over. You didn’t miss anything – I promise πŸ™‚
    We love shellfish in our house, and I really need to add more meals like this!

  2. 2

    Marishannon — April 17, 2012 @ 1:25 pm Reply

    How do you think this would work with cow’s milk?

    Oh, and I really like the “mark as read” button too πŸ™‚

    • 2.1

      Cara — April 17, 2012 @ 8:46 pm

      hehe, I might have to become friends with that button! I think that almond milk lends a nice flavor, but cow’s milk should work just fine too.

  3. 3

    Joanne — April 17, 2012 @ 8:41 pm Reply

    You know what makes me happier than tricking myself into thinking I’m eating dessert for dinner? nothing. This looks amazing! I love all the warm spices in it…they’re kinda sorta my faves.

    I totally get what you mean about passover. Back when I still ate meat, I would feel weird about posting a vegetarian post on wednesday and a meat post on monday due to meatless mondays. Now that’s just plain old neurotic!

  4. 4

    Kate — April 18, 2012 @ 10:00 am Reply

    I love the idea of carrot cake risotto!

  5. 5

    Shannon — April 18, 2012 @ 11:22 am Reply

    not a huge fan of scallops, but wow does that risotto sound like a fantastical idea! glad things went well at noursihed πŸ™‚ sorry i missed it!

  6. 6

    Linz @ Itz Linz — April 18, 2012 @ 6:03 pm Reply

    i looooove scalllops but have never cooked them myself! i just order them sometimes when i’m out for a special treat!

  7. 7

    Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen) — April 19, 2012 @ 2:12 pm Reply

    Wow, this sounds amazing! I hear ya, after being in Chicago for the weekend, I feel like I will never get caught up on everything. Oh well, I guess life does go on…

    It was great meeting you at Nourished on Friday! Loved your photography session. Thank you for sharing all your tips and tricks! Good luck getting through the rest of your week! The weekend is right around the corner!

  8. 8

    Natalie — April 20, 2012 @ 7:52 am Reply

    Omg! This recipe sounds absolutley DEEEEELISH! I love quinoa, I love scallops, and everything else in the recipe combined sounds amazing. Where does one find cardamom pods?

    Cara, I stumbled upon your recipes via Twitter and had to email off a few of your recipes, then tell everyone to book mark your website! I love how healthy, nutritious, and varied the recipes are! Amazing!

    Natalie πŸ˜‰

    • 8.1

      Cara — April 20, 2012 @ 8:08 am

      Hi Natalie, thanks so much your sweet words, and for spreading the love! I really appreciate it πŸ™‚ Now I’m sorry I’m a little too far to stop by for a facial!

      I bought my cardamom pods in an Indian grocery store. They are actually a great resource for spices in large quantities for not a lot of money! If you don’t have one nearby, I’m sure you can get them online. hope that helps!

  9. 9

    Natalie — April 20, 2012 @ 8:19 am Reply

    Thank you, Cara!

    I think that there is an Indian store by my place of biz, I will check them out.

    Yes, too bad you are so far away….I am the BEST in town for waxing and chemical peels. πŸ˜‰

    Take care and have a blessed day!

    Natalie πŸ˜‰

  10. 10

    Rachael — April 22, 2012 @ 3:39 pm Reply

    Made this last night, HUGE HIT!!! The spices perfectly balanced, so that it was both savory and sweet. So yummy πŸ™‚ I used the left over carrot juice in my pancakes this morning, making two carrot cake inspired meals. Thanks Cara!

    • 10.1

      Cara — April 22, 2012 @ 4:51 pm

      So glad you liked it! And what a great use for the leftover carrot juice – yum!

  11. 11

    Elina (Healthy and Sane) — May 3, 2012 @ 11:09 am Reply

    This sounds delicious! I’ve made risotto with steel cut oats but never with quinoa. Where do you get carrot juice?

    • 11.1

      Cara — May 3, 2012 @ 7:45 pm

      I can’t wrap my head around using oats or steel cut oats for savory dishes – I don’t know why! We use every other grain for savory stuff, why not oats? I am weird πŸ˜‰ You can get carrot juice in a regular grocery store. I can’t remember what brand we had but it was in a glass bottle, so I guess in the unrefrigerated juice aisle? I bet they also sell it refrigerated too (I think odwalla might make it.)

Leave a Comment