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!
- 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
- 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.
- Mix well and cover, then cook on low for 3 to 4 hours, or until chicken is not pink and quinoa is tender.
- 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!
- Stir in the basil and spinach pesto, peas, and lemon juice and cover to let heat through.
- 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.
- Serve immediately topped with grated cheese.