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Lemon Asparagus Quinoa Risotto

Today, I have a super delicious preview recipe from the upcoming Food Babe Eating Guide! This lemon asparagus quinoa risotto is a perfect dish to make right now, since asparagus are in season and abundant at the market. It’s also very light, filling and incredibly nutritious (just like the rest of the recipes in the Eating Guide program, especially if you would like to shed a couple of pounds before Summer!). Asparagus keep the bloating and under-eye circles in check too. This is such a gorgeous plant to eat on a regular basis just for that.

Also, there are so many great options to use for risotto instead of the standard arborio white rice that risotto recipes usually call for. I love having the option to choose another grain besides nutritionally-lacking white rice. This recipe calls for cauliflower and quinoa, but you can use barley, brown rice, brown lentils or buckwheat instead. This dish is very versatile. Get creative!


Lemon Asparagus Risotto

Food Babe's Asparagus Lemon Quinoa Risotto
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 2
  • ½ head cauliflower, chopped into pieces
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil or olive oil, divided
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ pound asparagus, trimmed and chopped into 1” pieces
  • ½ small onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced
  • ½ cup quinoa
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 to 2½ cups vegetable stock
  • ½ teaspoon curry powder
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • parsley to garnish
  • Choose either cashew cream or sour cream for top:
  • ½ cup cashews, ¼ cup water and pinch of salt (if making cashew cream)
  • sour cream
  1. Heat your oven to 400 degrees. On a baking sheet toss the cauliflower with 1 tablespoon of oil. Season with salt and pepper. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until tender and slightly browned.
  2. While the cauliflower is cooking, bring a pot of water to boil and blanch the asparagus for 1 minute. Drain under cold water and set aside.
  3. In a large saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil until hot. Add the onion and saute for 3-5 minutes. Add in the garlic and saute 1 minute.
  4. Add in the quinoa and salt and saute for 2 minutes.
  5. Add in 1 cup of stock at a time, stirring after each addition until the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa is cooked.
  6. When the cauliflower is done, toss with ½ teaspoon curry powder and place in a food processor and pulse until it looks like the size of rice.
  7. Add the cauliflower to the quinoa mix and fold in the lemon zest, cashew cream or sour cream and asparagus and continue to cook 2-3 minutes.
  8. Top with fresh chopped parsley and serve.
  9. To make cashew cream: Place cashews, water and salt in a blender and mix until a thick consistency is formed. *There will be some cream leftover if you wish to add more to the recipe or use for leftovers.
***Please choose all organic ingredients if possible.***


If you know someone who would like to eat a recipe like this, please share this post with them. Encouraging everyone to eat and choose healthier options is changing the world! I see it happening everyday.

Bon Appétit, 


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104 responses to “Lemon Asparagus Quinoa Risotto

  1. About how long will it take for the quinoa to cook? Is it about 20 minutes like arborio?

    1. Any type of risotto is authentically prepared much more slowly over a period of several hours, adding the liquid by 1/4 c at a time, slowly stirring almost nonstop until it is not only done but extremely creamy.

      1. Thats very true- the arborio rice is specifically what is used for risotto. It is not a true risotto without it, there is a texture and mouthfeel you don’t get without arborio rice. Mind you, this is a good recipe, but its not risotto.

  2. Asparagus is a favorite in our home (all 3 kids like it) but we have a bad cashew allergy. What do you think would be a good sub.? He’s allergic to pistachio and cashew. We are good with all other nuts.

    1. I used 1/3 cup of organic full fat coconut milk from the can. Blended it with the cauliflower then added it to the quinoa 🙂

  3. Hi! I too live in CLT. Is there a good farmer’s market you would recommend shopping at for fresh, organic fruits and veggies? I have 4 kids and like to buy organic only but it is so expensive.
    Thank you so much for all your information. I follow all your research and implement your findings for my family. You are the best!

    1. I love Atherton Market and the Matthews Farmers Market. Also Whole Foods, Healthy Home Market and Earth Fare sometimes have specials on produce that is in season and organic. Happy Shopping!

    2. I also live in Charlotte, but in the Lake Norman area. The Davidson Farmers Market is another really nice market!

  4. Sorry to post this comment here but I’m starting the lemon/cayenne water detox in the morning and can’t find the amount for the cayenne. Is it just a sprinkle or an exact measurement.
    Thank you for all your info

    1. I use 1/8 of a teaspoon or less – usually just a sprinkle. Good Luck! You are going to love this habit.

  5. I love your site, I live in Ireland and find it hard to get the ingredients but I try to .
    Some of the ingredients I’ve never even heard of but I am trying. Keep up the good work.


    1. You could just leave out the curry powder if you don’t like it. Also about a tablespoon of sour cream on top will do 🙂

  6. This looks so good, I will also have to substitute some of the ingredients. We love asparagus and I am always looking for new recipes , love the health benefits never knew it helped with under eye circles.

  7. I made this for lunch today with a few tweaks based on ingredient availability. Loved it! This is the first time that I have used cauliflower for rice and I am amazed. Food babe – Can you please post the calorie information too, going forward. Thanks a lot!


  9. Hi Foodbabe, love your website, tips, recipes, etc. One comment/suggestion that I would love to see is the basic nutritional info for your recipes (calories/fat/carbs/protein). Every time I make one of your recipes (which is often) I go into My FatSecret (or other calorie counting website) enter in the recipe and get the breakdown. This is not difficult, and I’m not an obsessive calorie counter, but like to keep track of my macros, and it would be handy if you included it with your recipes when posting….just a thought. Keep up the great work!!

  10. Hi Vani,

    This looks delicious! I’m going to make the risotto with either farro or freekeh. Have you ever tried any of these grains? I love freekeh but will be trying farro for the first time. Thanks for sharing!!


  11. Vani, I’ve been following your site and activity for a while now and want to thank you for everything you do! I have introduced already quite a few of your recipes to my family. Your Forever cookies are my favourite forever 🙂 I just like adding sunflower seeds to them as well.
    just a quick question, when you say vegetable broth- do you mean baught at the store? ok to use just water? I stay away from all ‘broths’ from the store.

    1. There are some broths that are ok to buy – organic and without yeast extract and/or additives. And yes, you can use water!

    2. For the future, it’s really easy to make your own chicken (or other meat) or vegetable stock at home. I sort of have an ongoing process, so that I have stock readily available in small qty in the freezer (I freeze in ice-cube trays, then store in a Ziploc), or I can make a whole pot the day before I know I want a lot of it.

      For chicken stock, put some chicken bones (ideally organic) in your slow cooker with some sea salt and apple cider vinegar or lemon juice. Cover, and set it on high until it boils (or you can start with a kettle of boiling), then reset it to go overnight on lowl. Great nourishment for bone and joint health!

      For both more complex flavor and added nutritional bonus, throw some vegetables in. I hang onto all the odds and ends of vegetables (ends of carrots, parsley stems, etc.) from whenever I’m cooking, and store them in the freezer until you’re ready to make stock. (And actually I keep chicken bones in the freezer the same way). Add a couple large handfuls to the above pot of water. [Avoid adding large quantities of broccoli/cabbage; gets smelly.]

      The next day, strain and use, or store in the freezer.

      It’s sort of free once you get into the rhythm, b/c you’re turning scraps that were headed for the garbage or compost bin, into delicious organic stock!

  12. I can’t wait to try this! My boyfriend will usually eat anything I put in front of him as long as there is some sort of meat or fish on the plate too and I am horrible at knowing which types of sides to pair with which lean protein. Can you recommend something that might be good with this?


  13. Out of this world delicious! I used cashew cream. I roasted my cashews before making the cashew cream. It gave the cashews a buttery flavor. Yum yum. I will definitely be making this again.

  14. Just made this and it is AMAZING!!!! I love the cashew cream sauce. Outstanding! Thanks, Food Babe! I paired this with a chardonnay and used farro instead of quinoa to spice things up.

  15. So I did indeed make this for dinner tonight, loved it and my daughter had two servings. She is my real test.

  16. You and I are seriously so in sync! I am posting a video I made about Asparagus tomorrow! Love those mighty stalks 🙂 Going to definitely NEED to try this recipe – and the best part is that I just picked up a head of cauliflower too! 🙂

  17. I too would like the calorie / nutritional content.

    I wasn’t sure how much sour cream to put in – looked at the cashew sauce and figured it was about 1/2 cup of sour cream so I put that much in. just read comments and you had said 1 TB ! Can you pls add that to the recipe ?


  18. why don’t you list calorie and nutritional info for recipes?
    that is something important to me…
    am considering joining your monthly meal program but I need this info…

  19. Vani-

    Subway does not seem to have made any changes yet Neither has anyone else.

    Don’t let anyone take advantage of you.


  20. We just had this great dish for dinner. It was awesome! I also made Salmon with it on the side. We will make this yummy dish again. Thank you !

  21. Made this for dinner for me and my brother who is an athlete and we both LOVED it. Super easy too 🙂

  22. Loved this recipe. One addition – I sprinkled Nutritional Yeast Seasoning to have a more traditional Risotto consistency. It was delicious.

  23. I noticed some folks are demanding calorie/nutritional content with recipes. So I want to represent those don’t require this extra step, because we know eating healthy isn’t about counting calories, diets, and such. And that so long as we’re using whole, unprocessed foods and eating normal sized portions, the calorie content is irrelevant. Foodbabe, don’t feel pressured by the diet industry and those who participate in it by labeling your recipes in a manner which enables their behaviors and supports the idea that “Dieting” is healthy. At the same time, I do understand you want to appeal to a broad audience in hopes of educating folks who otherwise might not learn the truth. Whatever your decision, we are grateful for all that you do and continue to support your efforts. Onward!

  24. Where can I find the cayenne pepper lemon “habit” mentioned above … I’ve missed that …
    Thank you for ALL you teach us …

  25. Thank you for your wonderful recipes! I love curry and I plan to add a little chicken to this one.

  26. Just want to say I made this last night and it is amazing!!!!! I’m having the leftovers for lunch today and can’t wait! I was skeptical about cooking the quinoa like risotto since the amount of liquid required is double what it usually is to make quinoa, but it worked beautifully. I also loved the addition of the cauliflower “rice”. This is a keeper. Also I think this could be experimented with/tweaked to include whatever veggies you like and to exclude the curry if you’r not a fan of it. Love the recipes Vani. Keep them coming:)

  27. I made this last night for my husband and me and IT WAS DELICIOUS!! I double the recipe so we could have leftovers for lunch today and it was even better today! This recipe will definitely be a staple in our weekly meal plans for sure. We both raved about it. Thanks Vani for all you do! Keep the good recipes coming!

  28. Hi, my name is William Beard Of the Los Angeles Civil Lawsuit BEARD V. SUBWAY e.t., Fred Deluca, Peter Buck, & do defendants 1-100’000. I joined your petition & I’m proud to say so. I don’t have words to thank you for your courage & bravery. It is said we have that in common, as you can say I have a reputation for representing myself in lawsuits, likened to the biblical “David”, armed with a “slingshot”. However, taking on & defeating Corporate Giants the likes of armies of “Goliaths”))). Getting to the point, conducting my initial legal research I came across your amazing mission and stunning reputation as a force to be reckoned with. It was through your work I realized I was a victim fraudulently induced by subway under fraudulent misrepresentation that I was eating healthy & Fresh to my actual injury and damages as if it weren’t for subways fraudulent misrepresentations I would not have patronized their business in the first place. However, I am a double major Law/ Electronic Engineering Student, studying to be a patent attorney. Never the less, I was having diner in a subway restaurant studying when I was injured by a raging lunatic indecently exposed to say the least, third party criminal assailant as I was forced to subdue the individual who was at least twice my size. Although in avoiding legalities subways begs to differ, after the police arrived to find the guy still exposed, arresting & prosecuting “the other guy”, concluding their investigation determining I did not initiate the incident, I was justified in utilized reasonable force in subduing the guy who was exposed engaging in lude conduct with myself & several “young”, ladies as well I was commended as being somewhat of a brave hero. However, As a result of the incident i lost access to school books during midterm exams & so I contacted the owner of the franchise before my financial damages began accruing to have books reimbursed as if subway had the security guard in which they terminated more over, never employing new security guard it would have been the securities problem to subdue the lunatic & not mine to begin with. However franchisee refused to settle our differences out of court for around 300 dollars for 2 law books & refused to refer me to her insurance. She was rude although I explained to her I was a law student & didn’t want to sue her but if she didn’t aid me I would fail classes & loose my financial aid & not only be forced to drop out of school although as well be forced to sue her. Unfortunately I was forced to drop out of school & was forced to not only sue her but the entire corporation as well. However to avoid legalities subway attempted to (defamation of my character which they are being sued for as well) accusing me of starting the altercation although their own video & the police reports contradict their desperate attempts. Furthermost, if I had not been fraudulently induced by subways fraudulent misrepresentations of serving healthy & fresh food as opposed to toxic under, a foot long controlled substance sandwiches (as petroleum derivative sodium benzoate Yellow#5 die in subways banana peppers combined with vitamin c or asorbic acid in the stomach = “benzene“ a primary element used in manufacturing “pcp” & ammunitions & pyrotechnics & is known to induce behavioral issues such as the lunatic I was forced to subdue) however if I had not been fraudulently induced to eat that crap in the first place I would have never patronized said fraudulent business in the first place. With all that said, if its o.k. with you, if any one of your soon to be over 100’000 petitioners feel as if they have been victim to Subways fraud please have the contact me ([email protected] or 323 804 7127 Hollywood Ca,) as a class action is forming regarding benzene related illnesses. As well I would like to file injunctions to force these franchises who fraudulently poison us to give us the option of knowing were being poisoned in forcing these franchises to place all relevant hazmat (MSDS’s) of all the poisons clearly in plain view or at least as starbucks is doing now thanks to you))) they now post notice of hazardous chemicals at the counter in plain view. Thank you for listening and continue to be you as their aren’t enough “sheeple”))) who have the balls to stand & be me or you)))

    1. I am not a big fan of lawsuits and I suspect your’s won’t go anywhere but honestly I hope it does. The courts will rule, in the end, that Subway’s food eaten in moderation is fine based on the best, objective science out there. That won’t be the result you want but it will be the one you get. Good luck to you in getting it heard.

  29. Do I need to soak the quinoa before using it, or is buying pre-rinsed quinoa good enough? I’ve never cooked with it but plan to this weekend. Thanks!

  30. I too have to give praise for this recipe. We had it for dinner tonight, and the kids, husband, and I all loved it. We will definitely be making it again… soon!

  31. Food Babe does it again! Just made this recipe for the first time with sour cream and I must say it was delicious. Thanks again Food Babe for continuing to post recipes that are healthy for the whole family!!!

  32. HI, I prepared this wonderful recipe this morning. However, I left out the quinoa on behalf of my husband who is a diehard Atkins follower for years. Yes, a plant based diet wife and a meat only husband. Anyway, I added the juice of one lemon because I’d zested it and eliminated the quinoa and broth. It is fabulous! The roasty cauliflower was perfection. I also cooked the asparagus a little softer. Anyway, this will be a staple dish in our house. Thank you!!!!

  33. I made this tonight, and served it with the rest of the roasted cauliflower, as well as grilled salmon with avocado remoulade. The quinoa was delicious! My husband had two helpings, one of which he polished off before he even touched the fish or the cauliflower. The flavor of the quinoa reminds me a tiny bit of the murg korma I used to get at a really great restaurant in Jackson Heights, NJ (I used the cashew cream sauce). I think the next time I make this dish, I’ll grill the chicken with a lemon pepper marinade and serve it on top of the quinoa. Thanks so much for the recipe!

  34. This looks absolutely amazing! I can’t wait to try it.

    On a side note, I was in NC for the first time last week for spring break and I loved it there! Thought of you every day I was there, hoping I could run into you haha. You live in a beautiful state!

  35. Also, I see people requesting calorie count/nutritional facts, which I usually appreciate, however, I personally would much rather you spend your efforts improving the food industry which you’ve been doing so successfully! Thank you and keep up the good work!

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