Spring Quinoa with Asparagus and Parmesan


Growing up in Maine, I learned never to get my hopes up for signs of spring until well into May.

You’re far more likely to witness snow flurries (and people huddled in winter coats) than green leaves and blooming flowers in April in New England.

But recently I had some evidence of approaching spring: lots of tasty fresh spring asparagus on sale at the grocer’s.

It’s a little thing, but I took it and ran with it…


…It may be dark, damp and 40 degrees outside, but I happen to have this yummy bowl of parmesan quinoa with fresh mushrooms and spring asparagus.

Things are looking up!


I love this recipe because this quinoa dish is cooked just like a risotto (and it has all of that rich flavor too!)

It doesn’t taste like the buttery, white-rice-filled risotto dish you may have ordered in a restaurant.

Quinoa has a nutty, earthy flavor that’s quite different from good old-fashioned white rice.

But that richly delicious risotto preparation – white wine, sautéed onion, and parmesan – really transforms quinoa into quite the addictive dish.


Chris set up our outdoor patio furniture a little too soon, maybe.

We continue to eat indoors, me huddled in sweaters and warm slippers, until spring finally arrives in New England.

In the meantime, I’ll stop complaining and stay content with my “springtime on a plate.”


Here’s the recipe for Spring Quinoa with Asparagus and Parmesan:

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Spring Quinoa with Asparagus and Parmesan

  • Author: Jen Elizabeth's Journals
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Vegetarian


  • 2 cups organic vegetable broth
  • 3 tablespoons plus 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 8 ounces asparagus, trimmed and cut into quarter-inch pieces
  • 4 ounces crimini (“baby bella”) mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
  • 1 1/3 cups parmesan, freshly grated
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Place vegetable broth in a heat-safe bowl and microwave until hot but not boiling, about 2 minutes. Cover and set aside.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until lightly softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add another tablespoon olive oil along with the quinoa. Cook, stirring often, until quinoa is lightly toasted, about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add the white wine and adjust the heat to a light simmer. Allow wine to cook and reduce, about 3-5 minutes.
  5. Pour about 2 ladles of the vegetable broth into the saucepan and allow it to simmer lightly, stirring often.
  6. When the broth has cooked down and reduced so that there is only about 1/3 of the broth left in the pot, add another 1-2 ladles of broth.
  7. Repeat this process, stirring often, until quinoa is cooked through, about 18-20 minutes. (A spiral germ will be visible around each individual grain when the quinoa is ready.)
  8. While the quinoa is cooking, heat one tablespoon olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the asparagus and cook until lightly softened but still crisp, about 3- 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook about 2 minutes longer, Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat.
  9. Add the asparagus and mushrooms to the quinoa, along with 1 cup grated parmesan. Also add 3 tablespoons olive oil. Stir until cheese is completely melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately, topping each plate with additional parmesan.

Keywords: healthy, risotto, quinoa, asparagus, mushroom, parmesan, spring



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  1. May 2, 2014 / 5:06 pm

    The colours certainly are reminiscent of spring, delicious looking healthy dish 😀
    And I am a big fan of quinoa!

    Choc Chip Uru

  2. May 2, 2014 / 6:41 pm

    Looks amazing! Maybe I can finally tempt my boyfriend into trying meatless mondays haha… have been barking up that tree for months with no success.

  3. May 3, 2014 / 6:58 am

    this looks absolutely fabulous. I was hesitant to board the quinoa train, but im pretty sure I could eat this all day. f

    • Jen Elizabeth's Journals
      May 3, 2014 / 3:13 pm

      Thanks so much! I was hesitant at first too, but now I’m trying to help spread the word: quinoa is as easy to make and as versatile as pasta and rice 🙂

  4. May 11, 2014 / 5:10 pm

    We just came up to our summer cottage in Maine to get it ready for summer. The ice on the lake just melted two weeks ago and the perennials are just starting to peak through the ground, everything is about a month behind. Love your spring dish…it looks great.

  5. May 26, 2014 / 12:46 am

    This looks fantastic! Seasonal and springtime! Colorado asparagus is still available for a bit longer and this dish is perfect!


  6. April 12, 2015 / 11:43 am

    This is a lovely recipe. I added garlic though, and topped the dish off with chopped spring onions and parsley

    • April 15, 2015 / 9:28 am

      Those sound like wonderful additions, and thanks so much for taking the time to send in your review 🙂

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