This is one of those healthy recipes that is so ridiculously easy to prepare and delicious rolled into one. This Vegetable Parmesan Quinoa is naturally gluten-free, vegetarian, healthy, quick and easy.
This is what I like to call perfection in a slow cooker. Do you love cooking with your slow cooker as much as I do? It just makes life so much easier, especially with these busy kids!
Because who doesn't love prepping for a meal in the morning and then coming home later to dinner all done? I have three busy kids who I am running around after school and most nights. Enter my slow cooker and my night is simplified!
Many of my recipes are vegetarian or some even vegan. That's mainly because many of you ask for lower calorie dishes (especially in January!) and I figured one easy way to cut calories to cut back on the meat.
Side note: I am not a huge meat eater. I eat chicken on occasion.
That means I am not a vegetarian, I totally get that and I never claimed to be one. But man, I get some really weird comments and emails sometimes. One woman sent me a very long email explaining what a true vegetarian is and how dare I call myself one...
I realize that many of my readers are vegetarian or vegan, some might be trying to cut back on eating meat and others might be curious in trying new, meatless recipes. Whatever the reason is, I am happy you are here.
If you are looking for some other healthy dishes, try this Zucchini Ravioli, Eggplant Parmesan, Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Soup, Alfredo Spaghetti Squash and Easy Baked Ziti. Al of these would be even more tasty with some Spiked Apple Cider!
Why You Should Make This vegetable Parmesan Quinoa
All of the different textures in this dish blend together perfectly. I also love that I used the slow cooker. I need to use my slow cooker more. The first time I made this I was shocked how easy it is to cook quinoa in the slow cooker!
Also, go ahead and use whatever vegetables you'd like in this dish. Just be careful of the cooking time. I've used sweet potatoes, zucchini, bell peppers, carrots...you name it!
The only exception would be a leafy green vegetable like spinach, kale, collard greens etc. I wouldn't add those until the last 20 minutes or so until they get slightly wilted, but are still brightly-colored green. This way no nutrients are lost in the cooking!
On those REALLY busy nights, I just might buy a bag of pre-cut broccoli and pre-chopped sun dried tomatoes. Whatever makes my life easier on those nights, I am taking advantage.
You can easily add some cooked shredded chicken or even some cooked chicken or turkey sausage to this dish. On busy weeknights, I just shred a rotisserie chicken and add it the already cooked quinoa.
One thing to know, there is enough protein without the meat. Sometimes you just need a little more. But yes, you can get all of your protein eating a plant-based diet.
You just have to be more prepared, that's all. But before you message me and complain, it absolutely can be done. You just have to do it the right way, that's all.
But before you ask me, I choose not to eat red meat or pork not for health reasons. I cook meat for my family all the time. It's all about texture for me. Even the more perfectly cooked steak or pork chop doesn't do it for me. And that's ok.
I am just a super picky eater. I think that's why I work with a lot of children. They relate to me because I totally get it.
I have come so far though since I was a picky little kid. I am still picky, just WAY healthier. But still picky nonetheless.
This recipe is a perfectly well-balanced, healthy, vegetarian dish. The quinoa and beans add enough protein to help keep you full and each serving has a generous helping of vegetables. And vitamins. And nutrients. You get my point.
Oh and it's pretty amazing. Man I love sun dried tomatoes...
Make your life easier and chop the vegetables the night before (if you didn't surge on the pre-chopped veggies!). This way, it will take you minutes to put everything in the slow cooker and dinner will be ready a few hours later. This is my kind of dinner!
Go ahead and sprinkle some extra Parmesan cheese on top. I always do. I actually love the big chunks of freshly shaved Parmesan!
Healthy Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore from Creme de la Creme
Eggplant Parmesan from Lauren Kelly Nutrition
Tomato Kale Quinoa Soup from Damn Delicious
Healthy Mexican Casserole from Lauren Kelly Nutrition
Vegetable Parmesan Quinoa in the Slow Cooker
- 2 cups quinoa rinsed and drained
- 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
- 1 small white beans rinsed and drained
- 1-2 cups broccoli florets chopped
- ½ cup sun dried tomatoes chopped (not in oil)
- 1 small onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 large zucchini sliced
- 1 cup mushrooms wiped clean and sliced
- ½ teaspoon salt optional
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- salt and fresh black pepper to taste
- ¼ cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
- In a 4 o 5 quart slow cooker, place quinoa and broth and top with remaining ingredients.
- Place on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 5-6 hours.
- Fluff with a fork, top with Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper if desired. Serve immediately.