Talking about basil in last Friday’s audio tip got me thinking about one of my favorite side dishes – quinoa with basil pesto. Quinoa (pronouced keen-wah) when mixed with fresh pesto, makes an easy, healthy and delicious side dish.
For those of you that don’t know, quinoa is a whole grain from South America that’s gaining popularity in this country. I love it because it’s gluten-free, low in fat, high in protein, cooks in only 15 minutes and it’s delicious. I use it as a breakfast pooridge or side dish, and include it in my meal planning almost every week (this week I’m eating quinoa with spinach and pine nuts). You can find quinoa at health food stores (buy it from the bulk bin for the best value), at Trader Joe’s, and now even at most large supermarkets. At my local Stop & Shop, I can find it in the natural foods section.
This recipe is so amazingly quick and simple – you cook the quinoa and add fresh pesto to it. I love pesto because it’s so easy to make and has multiple uses, plus it tastes fabulous. Check out the pesto recipe below or use your own. It’s something fun to experiment with based on your taste.
Quinoa with Basil Pesto
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
½ tsp. salt
2 cups fresh basil leaves
½ cup walnuts or pinenuts (I’m a big fan of walnuts)
2-3 cloves garlic
¼ cup fresh parmesan cheese, grated (optional)
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil.
2. Rinse and add quinoa and salt. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 15 minutes or until water is absorbed.
3. Make quinoa by combining basil, nuts, garlic and cheese in a food processor. Drizzle olive oil in and mix.
4. Add pesto to cooked quinoa, mix well and serve.
Give it try and let me know what you think, I can’t wait to hear what you have to say.