Auguest 2020: Karina Pineda

Adlai Tomato Risotto

“Take off on a food journey that is both healthy and happy” — Karina Pineda

Auguest 2020: Karina Pineda

Hello! My name is Karina, the girl behind wander little girl on Instagram. Two years ago, I initially started my food blog to document my #foodjourney—basically a marriage between transitioning to a healthy lifestyle (which was then a strictly plant-based diet) and learning my way around the kitchen. Fast forward to the present, a few things have changed, from my perspective on health and wellness to the direction of my blog. I decided to see wander little girl as a serious brand and grow it (especially now that we’re in the midst of a global pandemic).

At one point within that two-year timeline, Allison and I followed each other. Though we hardly interacted with one another, it was when she opened slots for this year’s Auguest series that we began to communicate.

When Allison told me the chosen theme and the recipe guidelines, I was thankful for having seen and grabbed the opportunity to guest in this series. Titled Colors of the Rainbow, participating guests (or should I say, Auguests) were tasked to come up with a vegan, vegetarian, or pescatarian recipe in line with their assigned color. For me, this served as a walk down memory lane, back to wander little girl’s roots.

Adlai Tomato Risotto

Having picked the color red, I challenged myself to cooking beyond my comfort zone, hence Adlai Tomato Risotto. I had never made risotto prior and I wanted to add a few twists to the beloved dish. First, the risottos that I’ve tried are usually creamy, and so I whipped up a tomato-based version; that way, it would scream bloody RED! Next, I veganized it by using vegetable broth made from scratch and vegan margarine. Last (but definitely not the least), I swapped rice (specifically arborio rice) with adlai. Before anything, please hear me out! Since I live in the Philippines, I wanted to promote a grain that was both locally produced and a healthier alternative. Since adlai absorbs more than the regular white rice here, this Adlai Tomato Risotto is just as creamy and thick as its traditional counterpart! The entire process from preparing to cooking may be tedious and time-consuming, but I promise that the hard work is worth it; it’s like a dish straight out of an Italian restaurant!

Adlai Tomato Risotto Ingredients


* Includes making of the vegetable broth


For the adlai tomato risotto

  • 1 cup uncooked adlai
  • 1 & 1/2 cup of canned diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp vegan margarine or spreadable
  • 1 tsp rosemary (+ more for topping)
  • 1 tsp thyme (+ more for topping)
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • Half a white onion (or less, depending on your taste)
  • Sliced mushrooms
  • Ground pepper
  • Spanish paprika
  • Brown sugar (optional)

For the vegetable broth

  • 6 cups water
  • Chosen vegetables (in picture: carrots, stems of sweet potato leaves, garlic, and ginger)
  • Ground pepper
  • Salt


  1. Vegetable Broth: Gather the vegetables to be used for the broth and place them in a pot. Add ground pepper and salt to taste. Pour 6 cups of water into the pot. Allow it to boil on a stove top for 30 minutes. Set it aside afterwards.
  2. Adlai Tomato Risotto: Mince garlic cloves and half a white onion. Heat a pan on the stove top. Add olive oil. Sauté the minced garlic and onions. Add margarine to enhance the flavor.
  3. Pour the cup of uncooked adlai, and cook it until slightly toasted. Start with a bit of the vegetable broth from earlier (I used a ladle and poured two servings) and stir it. Once the broth has been absorbed, pour another portion again. Repeat the process until all of the vegetable broth has been used and the adlai is cooked.
  4. Add sliced mushrooms. Pour diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Mix well until everything is incorporated and evenly colored.
  5. Sprinkle the herbs (i.e. rosemary and thyme) as well as the spices (i.e. ground pepper and Spanish paprika). Add brown sugar to taste, but this step is optional. Continue to mix everything.
  6. Once cooked, allow the risotto to cool. Transfer it into a large plate or bowl. Top it with more rosemary and thyme. Eat the risotto on its own or pair it with corn. Enjoy!

Adlai Tomato Risotto

Adlai Tomato Risotto

Photo Courtesy & Recipe Copyright © 2020 | Karina Pineda (@wanderlittlegirl)


– Karina Pineda