Quick Asparagus & Tomato Quinoa Risotto

Asparagus and Tomato Quinoa Risotto with parmesan on top on a plate with fork.
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Asparagus and Tomato Quinoa Risotto with parmesan on top on a plate with fork and pan in background.

I know you don’t have time to stand over the skillet adding broth to risotto every 5 minutes, so I have a quickie version for you today!  Asparagus and Tomato Quinoa Risotto is such a hearty, delicious, and healthy dinner.  This is yet another way to incorporate that fantastic superfood, Quinoa, into your dinner rotation!  The Quinoa beautifully absorbs and plumps up with all of the flavor from the broth, onions, garlic, tomato paste and oregano. Then cut asparagus is mixed in along with nutty and creamy parmesan cheese for a perfect finish.

WHY QUINOA IS SO SPECIAL

Quinoa is actually a seed, not a grain, but the texture is similar to a grain.  It has a mild, slightly nutty taste, but it’s mild, so it really absorbs any flavors you mix with it.  It’s a great side on it’s own or ingredient to bulk up other foods, such as stuffings.  It can replace pasta or rice in most recipes and adds more protein and fiber…

Which brings me to the health benefits of Quinoa.  1 cup of cooked quinoa has 8g of complete protein and 5g of fiber.  It also has Iron, Manganese, Lysine, and magnesium!  Combining quinoa with veggies, such as Asparagus here gives you a complete balanced meal with vitamins, fiber, protein, and other nutrients.

Try these other easy and delicious Quinoa Recipes!

Quick note!  This post contains affiliate links, which means I earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase from them.  This commission is what helps me keep this blog afloat :).  I also share these links because I have used the products, genuinely love them, and want you to know exactly what I used. 

EQUIPMENT NEEDED

For this recipe, you need just a couple basic cooking items. A small-medium pot with lid for the quinoa.

Also a large skillet/frying pan for making the veggies and curry sauce. I use my absolute favorite 12″ Ceramic Pan, which is great because food really does slide right off with minimal oil and I don’t have to worry about food sticking and burning. 

And mincing garlic is made super easy with a Garlic Press.

PREP-AHEAD STEPS FOR THE ASPARAGUS & QUINOA RISOTTO

We are all extremely busy and making dinner during the week can be overwhelming. Here are steps you can prepare ahead to save time on busy nights! (See the full recipe below) 

Start by rinsing the quinoa thoroughly in a strainer, then adding it to 3 cups of the Vegetable Broth in a pot with a fitting lid. Bring to a simmer, then turn it down to the lowest setting and cover. Cook covered for 20 minutes. You can do this step ahead and store in the fridge for up to 4 days ahead.

Dice the onion, mince the garlic. Rinse the asparagus and pat it dry. Cut off the woody ends, then cut into 1/2 inch pieces on a bias (angle).

Raw Asparagus on counter being cut on a bias.

What kind of quinoa should I buy?

For this recipe, I find that white quinoa works best.  Red quinoa is not as soft and may take longer to cook and give you a more coarse texture.  You can find quinoa in the grain section of just about any grocery store these days.  If you missed all of the benefits of Quinoa up above, be sure to scroll back up!

What other vegetable can go into this?

If you are not an asparagus fan, then you can add peas straight from the freezer.  You can also add in green beans, broccoli, bell peppers, zucchini, or mushrooms.  For each of these veggies, just follow the same instructions for cooking as the asparagus.

COOK YOUR ASPARAGUS QUINOA RISOTTO 

In a preheated (High Heat) large frying pan, add 1 tsp Olive Oil, the cut asparagus, 1/2 of the minced garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir everything together, spread out into an even layer, turn the heat down to medium, and cook for 3-4 minutes. Transfer the asparagus to a plate.

Cut cooked asparagus on a plate for Asparagus and Tomato Quinoa Risotto

To the same large pan on Medium heat, add another 1 tsp of olive oil plus the onions and the garlic. Cook for 5-8 minutes, stirring every couple minutes, until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the tomato paste, oregano, and the last 1 cup of vegetable broth. Whisk to combine.

Add the pre-cooked quinoa and stir to combine and then simmer uncovered until the quinoa absorbs all of the liquid, about 10 minutes.  Stir in the asparagus.

Adding cooked cut asparagus from a plate to risotto in pan for Asparagus and Tomato Quinoa Risotto
Remove from the heat and stir in the parmesan a little at a time, so it doesn’t melt into a clump.

Parmesan cheese added to Asparagus and Tomato Quinoa Risotto in a pan.

Asparagus and Tomato Quinoa Risotto in a pan.

Can you make this ahead and reheat it?

Yes, you can make this ahead and store it in the fridge.  When you reheat it, you may need to add a splash of broth to help loosen it up again.  You can also garnish with fresh parmesan to bring it back to life.  This is not an ideal dish for the freezer, however.  The quinoa can do ok in the freezer, but the asparagus may get mushy.  If you do want to make the quinoa ahead and freeze, add the asparagus fresh once you reheat it for best results in texture and flavor.

ENJOY!  😍 Carrie

Asparagus and Tomato Quinoa Risotto with parmesan on top on a plate with fork.

Have you tried this recipe? If so, please leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ star rating in the recipe below! I love to hear your feedback and your rating helps others to find this recipe. Thanks so much!

Asparagus & Tomato Quinoa Risotto

This Asparagus and Tomato Quinoa Risotto is quickie-version that's such a hearty, delicious, and healthy dinner.  It's yet another way to incorporate that fantastic superfood, Quinoa, into your dinner rotation!  The Quinoa beautifully absorbs and plumps up with all of the flavor from the broth, onions, garlic, tomato paste and oregano. Then cut asparagus is mixed in along with nutty and creamy parmesan cheese for a perfect finish.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword asparagus, healthy dinner, quinoa, risotto
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Carrie Tyler

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons Olive Oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 4 cups Vegetable Broth (3 for cooking Quinoa, 1 for Risotto Sauce)
  • 1 ½ cups Quinoa
  • 1 teaspoon Oregano dried
  • 2 tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 1 bunch Asparagus
  • 1-2 teaspoons Salt
  • 1-2 teaspoons Black Pepper
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated

Instructions

Prep-Ahead Steps

  1. Start by rinsing the quinoa thoroughly in a strainer, then adding it to 3 cups of the Vegetable Broth in a pot with a fitting lid. Bring to a simmer, then turn it down to the lowest setting and cover. Cook covered for 20 minutes. You can do this step ahead and store in the fridge for up to 4 days ahead.

  2. Dice the onion, mince the garlic. Rinse the asparagus and pat it dry. Cut off the woody ends, then cut into 1/2 inch pieces on a bias (angle).
    Raw Asparagus on counter being cut on a bias.

Cooking Steps

  1. In a preheated (High Heat) large frying pan, add 1 tsp Olive Oil, the cut asparagus, 1/2 of the minced garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir everything together, spread out into an even layer, turn the heat down to medium, and cook for 3-4 minutes. Transfer the asparagus to a plate.
    Cut cooked asparagus on a plate for Asparagus and Tomato Quinoa Risotto
  2. To the same large pan on Medium heat, add another 1 tsp of olive oil plus the onions and the garlic. Cook for 5-8 minutes, stirring every couple minutes, until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the tomato paste, oregano, and the last 1 cup of vegetable broth. Whisk to combine.
  3. Add the pre-cooked quinoa and stir to combine and then simmer uncovered until the quinoa absorbs all of the liquid, about 10 minutes. Stir in the asparagus.
    Adding cooked cut asparagus from a plate to risotto in pan for Asparagus and Tomato Quinoa Risotto
  4. Remove from the heat and stir in the parmesan a little at a time, so it doesn’t melt into a clump. Serve and enjoy!
    Parmesan cheese added to Asparagus and Tomato Quinoa Risotto in a pan.

Easy Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken

Bowl of Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken with a dollop of sour cream and a tortilla chip dipped in.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cheese, rice and corn tortillas.
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Bowl of Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken with a dollop of sour cream and a tortilla chip dipped in.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cheese, rice and corn tortillas.

Their eyes, intensely focused on me, conveyed urgency and despair. Words that shot through their lips were sharp. The air was thick with tension. Was this an angry mob? No, this was my family…looking for dinner. Again. Is this a familiar scene?? Yes, well then, you are probably a Mom. But here is a make-ahead dinner to turn this nightly nightmare into a beautiful dream.  This is my Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers Skillet with Ground Chicken!

This recipe takes a stuffed pepper and deconstructs it is so it’s super easy to make.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cilantro, cheese, and corn tortillas. Finally, nutty and hearty brown rice is mixed and cooked in with all of this goodness to created one delicious dinner.  It’s smokey, savory, hearty, and utterly delicious!

Want more tips for making busy family dinners easier?  Click here for my Free Printable 5 Simple Steps to Easy Family Dinners!

BELL PEPPERS HAVE MORE VITAMIN C THAN ORANGES!

Bell peppers come in a variety of colors and add so much color and flavor to recipes!  But, aside from looking pretty and tasting good, they also have some wonderful health benefits!  They are low in calories and exceptionally rich in vitamins and antioxidants.  Bell peppers are rich in Vitamin C and are a great source for vitamins B6, K1, A, and E.  In fact, bell peppers have more vitamin C than oranges!  One medium-sized red bell pepper provides 169% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for vitamin C.  They also have minerals, such as potassium and folate.

So eat bell peppers for a snack or add them to scrambled eggs, mix into salads, or try them in these recipes:

Quick note!  This post contains affiliate links, which means I earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase from them.  This commission is what helps me keep this blog afloat :).  I also share these links because I have used the products, genuinely love them, and want you to know exactly what I used. 

EQUIPMENT NEEDED

Nothing special for this one! Just a medium pot with lid for the rice and a wide-bottom pot, such as a dutch oven. My prized possession dutch oven was perfect for this! Or any good quality enameled cast iron 5-6 quart dutch oven with lid is great.

PREP-AHEAD TO MAKE YOUR TEX MEX UNSTUFFED PEPPERS

We are all extremely busy and making dinner during the week can be overwhelming. Here are steps you can prepare ahead to save time on busy nights! (See the full recipe below)

Clean the bell peppers and discard the seeds and membranes. Rough chop into 1/2 to 1 inch chunks. Chop the cilantro.

Chopped green and red bell peppers and cilantro on a cutting board for Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cheese, rice and corn tortillas.

The corn tortillas act as a thickener as well as bring a familiar corn flavor to this dish!  Cut them into 1 inch long, 1/4 inch thick strips. Measure out all of the seasonings (onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, chili powder, cumin, and salt).

Hand holding tortillas cut into strips for Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cheese, rice and corn tortillas.

Can I use any other types of peppers?

Absolutely!  Poblano or Cubanelle peppers would be fantastic peppers to include.  These are less sweet than bell peppers, but do not carry much heat, so still a nice mild option.  If you want to add heat, then jalapeno peppers would be a great addition.  Of course, you can go with other peppers that carry even more heat, but then you are getting into “spicy” territory and I know my kids would run the other direction! 

Can I use fresh onion and garlic?

Of course fresh is always a preference, however, that will add prep time for dicing and mincing.  If you have the time, great!  When you get to the cooking steps, you will add these in half way through the chicken cooking. So you start searing and browning the chicken, then stir and add the onions and garlic, finish cooking the chicken, and then continue to follow the steps from there.

COOK YOUR TEX MEX UNSTUFFED PEPPERS

For the rice, I used a medium-grain brown rice because it adds more flavor than white rice.  However, you can of course use any rice that you prefer.  You can cook it ahead and store the rice in the fridge. Just warm it up before adding it to the pot in the step below.

Everything else cooks in one large pot.  I start with the peppers and then remove them while cooking the chicken so that they don’t get too mushy.  Cook the peppers only for 3-4 minutes, just until they start to glisten. Transfer the peppers to a plate.

Chopped green and red bell peppers cooking in pot for Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cheese, rice and corn tortillas.

To the same pot/pan on high heat, add the ground chicken and seasoning blend.  Mix to combine, then let sit! Let it brown on one side for 3-4 minutes. Then stir again and let cook through for another 4-5 minutes, until there is no longer any pink – stirring after a few minutes to ensure even cooking.

Hand holding small bowl of seasonings over ground chicken cooking in pot for Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cheese, rice and corn tortillas.

Seasoned ground chicken cooking in pot for Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cheese, rice and corn tortillas.

Once the chicken is cooked, mix in the peppers you set aside, the canned diced tomatoes, green chilies, and tortilla strips. Turn the heat to Medium and cook, covered, for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, mix in the rice and cook for a final 5 minutes covered.

Pouring broth into pot with ground chicken cooking, peppers, and tomatoes for Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cheese, rice and corn tortillas.

Mixing cooked rice into pot with ground chicken cooking, peppers, and tomatoes for Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cheese, rice and corn tortillas.

Turn off the heat and mix in 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (the remaining will go on top) and chopped cilantro (leave a small amount for garnish).

Adding shredded cheese to pot of cooked Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cheese, rice and corn tortillas.

Pot of Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken and cheese sprinkled on top op.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cheese, rice and corn tortillas.

Serve a heaping bowlful with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of cheese and cilantro.

Can I freeze this?

Yes, this will freeze quite well.  Cool the cooked recipes in the fridge first, then freeze in a freezer-safe container.  It will keep for 4-6 months.  When you’re ready to eat it, thaw it in the fridge for 24 hours before reheating.  You can also reheat it from frozen state in the oven 350 F degrees for 60 minutes or until the center is hot.

ENJOY!  😍 Carrie

Bowl of Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken with a dollop of sour cream and a tortilla chip dipped in.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cheese, rice and corn tortillas.

Have you tried this recipe? If so, please leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ star rating in the recipe below! I love to hear your feedback and your rating helps others to find this recipe. Thanks so much!

Bowl of Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken with a dollop of sour cream and a tortilla chip dipped in.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cheese, rice and corn tortillas.
5 from 1 vote
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Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken

Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken takes a stuffed pepper and deconstructs it is so it's super easy to make.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cheese, and corn tortillas. Finally, nutty and hearty brown rice is mixed and cooked in with all of this goodness to created one delicious dinner.  It's smokey, savory, hearty, and utterly delicious!

Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword chicken recipes, easy dinner, ground chicken, rice, stuffed peppers, Tex Mex
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 379 kcal
Author Carrie Tyler

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Uncooked Brown Rice (you can use white)
  • 3 Sweet Bell Peppers (red, yellow, green, or orange)
  • 1 pound Ground Chicken (I used 99% lean)
  • 2 teaspoons Olive Oil (divided)
  • 1 teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic Powder
  • 2 teaspoons Dried Oregano
  • 1.5 tablespoons Chili Powder
  • 1 tablespoon Ground Cumin
  • 2 teaspoons Salt
  • 28 ounces Diced Tomatoes
  • 4 ounces Green Chilies (1 can)
  • 5 Corn tortillas, size 6”
  • 1 cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 1/4 cup Fresh Cilantro, Chopped

Optional Toppings (not included in Calories per serving)

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 1/4 cup Fresh Cilantro, Chopped

Instructions

Prep Steps

  1. Clean the bell peppers and discard the seeds and membranes. Rough chop into 1/2 to 1 inch chunks. Chop the cilantro.

    Chopped green and red bell peppers and cilantro on a cutting board for Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cheese, rice and corn tortillas.
  2. Cut the tortillas into 1 inch long, 1/4 inch thick strips. Measure out all of the seasonings (onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, chili powder, cumin, and salt).

    Hand holding tortillas cut into strips for Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cheese, rice and corn tortillas.

Cooking Steps

  1. Cook the rice. Rinse the rice under water in a strainer until the water runs clear. Add to 2 cups of water with a pinch of salt and bring up to a boil. Turn the water down to a low simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes. Once the rice is done, turn off the heat, but leave the pot covered and undisturbed until you are ready to use. (NOTE: you can also do this step ahead and store the rice in the fridge. Just warm it up before adding it to the pot in the step below).)

  2. Preheat a large pot/pan on High heat. To the hot pan, add the olive oil and chopped peppers. Stir to coat in oil and then let cook for 3-4 minutes, just until they start to glisten. Transfer the peppers to a plate.

    Chopped green and red bell peppers cooking in pot for Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cheese, rice and corn tortillas.
  3. To the same pot/pan on high heat, add another teaspoon of olive oil, the ground chicken, onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, chili powder, cumin, and salt. Mix to combine, then let sit! Let it brown on one side for 3-4 minutes. Then stir again and let cook through for another 4-5 minutes, until there is no longer any pink – stirring after a few minutes to ensure even cooking.

    Seasoned ground chicken cooking in pot for Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cheese, rice and corn tortillas.
  4. Once the chicken is cooked, mix in the peppers you set aside, the canned diced tomatoes, green chilies, and tortilla strips. Turn the heat to Medium and cook, covered, for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, mix in the rice and cook for a final 5 minutes covered.

    Pouring broth into pot with ground chicken cooking, peppers, and tomatoes for Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cheese, rice and corn tortillas.
  5. Turn off the heat and mix in 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (the remaining will go on top) and chopped cilantro (leave a small amount for garnish).

    Adding shredded cheese to pot of cooked Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cheese, rice and corn tortillas.
  6. Serve a heaping bowlful with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of cheese and cilantro. Enjoy!

    Bowl of Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken with a dollop of sour cream and a tortilla chip dipped in.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cheese, rice and corn tortillas.