Slow Cooker Chicken and Quinoa with Spring Vegetable
1½ cups dry quinoa1 lb. raw chicken breast, boneless, skinless, cut into 1-inch cubes7 cups low-sodium organic chicken broth, divided use4 cloves garlic, finely chopped1 tsp. dried basil (or chives or parsley)Sea salt (or Himalayan salt) and ground black pepper (to taste; optional)6 tsp. prepared pesto sauce3 cups fresh or frozen peas1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice2 tsp. olive oil2 cups shredded (or grated) carrots1 bunch asparagus, cut into bite-sized pieces (about 2 cups)½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Instructions:Place quinoa, chicken, 4 cups broth, garlic, and basil in a 3-quart slow cooker. Season with salt and pepper if desired. Mix well and cover; cook on low for 3 to 3½ hours, or until chicken is not pink and quinoa is tender. The mixture will be very thick and sticky.Remove lid. Add remaining 3 cups broth, 1 cup at a time, until mixture resembles the consistency of risotto. You may not need to add all of the broth.Add pesto sauce, peas, and lemon juice; mix well and cover. Set aside.Heat oil in medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.Add carrots; cook, stirring frequently, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until carrots are tender-crisp.Add asparagus; cook, stirring frequently, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until asparagus is tender-crisp.Fold carrot mixture into quinoa mixture; mix well.Top each serving with 1 Tbsp. cheese.