Quinoa–Red Lentil Risotto With Asparagus & Peas

April 11, 2018

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes:

The pairing of red lentils and quinoa is perfect for a plant-based, protein-packed risotto. The lentils cook quickly and lose their shape, adding to the creaminess of the dish, while the quinoa provides a pleasantly nutty flavor and bite. Quick and low-maintenance, this is also a cheat’s risotto with less ladling and stirring than traditional versions.

Reprinted with permission from "The New Porridge," by Leah Vanderveldt, 2018.


Serves: 2
Cook time: 30 min



  • 1/2 cup (90g) dried red lentils, soaked, then drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup (85g) quinoa, soaked, then drained and rinsed
  • 3 1/2 cups (875ml) stock of choice
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan (optional), plus extra to serve

Asparagus & peas

  • 1 splash olive oil or grass-fed butter
  • 1/2 bunch asparagus (about 225g/8oz), woody ends trimmed, cut into 1-inch (2.5cm) pieces
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup (75g) frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 squeeze of fresh lemon juice
In This Recipe


  1. Combine the lentils, quinoa, stock, and salt to taste in a medium saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Remove the lid and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes. Take off the heat when most of the liquid has been absorbed, the red lentils have broken down, and the texture is creamy.
  3. Stir in the Parmesan (if using), then taste for seasoning.
  4. Meanwhile, heat a frying pan/skillet over medium heat. Add enough olive oil or butter to cover the base of the pan in a thin layer and heat through for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  5. Add the asparagus, sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt, and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the asparagus is browning in spots but still bright green.
  6. Add the garlic and 2 or 3 tablespoons of water if the pan is dry and toss to combine.
  7. Cover and cook for another minute. Remove the lid and stir in the peas, then remove from the heat and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Add the lemon juice just before serving.
  8. Serve the risotto topped with the asparagus and peas and more Parmesan, if desired.

More Great Recipes:
Risotto|Italian|Lemon Juice|Lentil|Parmesan|Pea|Quinoa|Asparagus|One-Pot Wonders|Quick and Easy|Weeknight Cooking|Easter

Reviews (15) Questions (1)

15 Reviews

verborgenheit January 21, 2019
Honestly I thought this was rather bland as is- but then I put Parmesan "Whisps" (available a t Costco and very addictive) on top, which melted partially and elevated this dish to the heavenly plane...!!<br /><br />No need to pre soak the red lentils, just rinsing is enough.<br /><br />Yes the amount of water was too much when I made it, although maybe it depends how fastidiously you drain the lentils and quinoa.
Kirsten P. May 29, 2018
Just made this and it turned out very well. I think I will always include lentils with my quinoa from now on. I used about 2.5 cups of liquid, which worked out well.
Natasha K. May 5, 2018
This was so good— super nutritious, and very tasty! Like another commenter, I also let things sit for awhile before dinner, so I had no issues with extra liquid. Very glad I doubled the recipe— the leftovers are gonna be great!
Angie T. May 2, 2018
I tried this in my instant pot utilizing an america's test kitchen hack. I cooked the lentils and quinoa for 4 min of pressure with about 3 cups of broth than I removed the lid and put it on saute and then added more liquid in increments until it got creamy and the lentils broke down. much faster!
Dodge August 25, 2018
<br />What is the hack for using instant pot? The recipe took a lot longer than 30 min, so I’d like to try my IP.
Dodge August 25, 2018
I mean, what is the formula for the hack? So I can use the hack for other recipes. I see you explained how to do this one. Thanks! :)
Angie T. August 27, 2018
https://www.kcet.org/food/weekend-recipe-pressure-cooker-parmesan-risotto<br /><br />Here's a link to the recipe they use. I've had great success with it both with regular rice and with this recipe
Maureen M. April 29, 2018
Saw this recipe and happened to have all the ingredients so I made it, not expecting too much. What a pleasant surprise! So delicious and healthy to boot. Like others here I had too much liquid definitely fixable. Plus I thought along with peas and asparagus sautéed mushrooms would be a great addition. Thanks for the recipe making again tonight!
Katherine L. April 28, 2018
Delicious! We didn't have a problem with too much liquid, but also made it an hour or so before we were going to eat it and just left it on the stove with the heat off and the top off. Will definitely use this method again!
Cindy April 23, 2018
This was delicious! It did take a bit longer for the liquid to absorb to a creamy consistency but was well worth the wait. I also included white wine in the liquid ratio to bring it to the next level of flavor. Added mushrooms to the veggies. Yum! Great vegetarian meal for a meatless Monday. Thanks! :)
China April 21, 2018
Made this tonight. Too much liquid. I matched the weights/measurements, so I don't know why this was so soupy. Strained it, served it and it tasted great.
Kelsey B. April 19, 2018
This looks amazing but the only vegetable I hate is peas! What do you think would be a good substitute?
Estelle G. June 3, 2018
I always substitute shelled edamames for peas; works well and adds additional protein.
Tracie April 16, 2018
This was so delicious and so easy. Definitely going into my rotation!
Nora April 16, 2018
Looks great, and it's a pantry dish for me. Question: how long do we soak the lentils and the quinoa?