Slow Cooker Quinoa and Spring Vegetables

Slow Cooker Chicken and Spring Vegetable Quinoa

Spring produce is all about the green, and so is this Slow Cooker Chicken and Spring Vegetable Quinoa! It is chock-full of green from vegetables like asparagus, peas, and green beans, not to mention basil and spinach pesto. Quinoa and chicken make this a high protein dinner that’s loaded with fiber, vitamins, and all things healthy. You may not have ever thought to cook quinoa in a slow cooker, but the creamy, risotto-like texture of this dish will win you over!

Yields: 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into cubes
  • 7 cups chicken broth (low-sodium preferably)
  • 3 Tbls. minced garlic,
  • 1/2 onion, diced small
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced small
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 tsp prepared basil and spinach pesto
  • 2 cups frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups fresh green beans, cut into bite-sized pieces (or frozen, thawed)
  • 1 bunch asparagus, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Grated Parmesan, Asiago, or Pecorino cheese for topping

Directions

  1. Rinse the quinoa and place it in a 3-quart slow cooker along with the chicken, 4 cups of the chicken broth, garlic, onion, celery, carrots, thyme, and basil. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Mix well and cover, then cook on low for 3 to 4 hours, or until chicken is not pink and quinoa is tender.
  3. When the quinoa and chicken are done, the mixture should be very thick and sticky. Add the remaining 3 cups of chicken broth 1 cup at a time and stir until the mixture resembles a creamy risotto or casserole. You may not need all of the broth, so don’t fret if there is some left!
  4. Stir in the basil and spinach pesto, peas, and lemon juice and cover to let heat through.
  5. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a skillet, then add the asparagus and green beans and sauté for around 5 minutes, or until they are just tender. Add the vegetables back to the slow cooker and stir to combine.
  6. Serve immediately topped with grated cheese.