This Pesto quinoa is rich, satisfying, and so easy to make. It’s the next best thing to eating a bowl of pesto pasta, and it’s perfect if you’re trying to reduce your pasta consumption and up your intake of more nutrient dense grains.
Quinoa is rich in magnesium, high in plant based protein and fibre, and contains all nine essential amino acids, so it’s a pretty nutritious grain to include in a clean eating diet. It also happens to be gluten free and the pesto sauce in this recipe is both vegan and oil free.
Serve this quinoa for a healthy vegan lunch or dinner alongside a simple salad like this baby kale salad or a healthy vegan soup such as this vegan cauliflower soup. Or eat it on its own as it’s actually quite filling.
This recipe is perfect for experimentation. You can swap the spinach for any other green you prefer such as arugula or baby kale. The walnuts can be switched out for pine nuts, pecans, cashews, almonds, or even hazelnuts would be delicious.
Replace the basil in the pesto with whatever fresh herb you prefer such as parsley or mint. Not cilantro though. Never cilantro (I am one of those people!). But really, anything goes. Just keep the basic proportions of greens/herbs/nuts the same and feel free to experiment with whatever substitutions are preferable, convenient, or seasonal.
Pesto Quinoa Recipe
2 cups raw baby spinach leaves
1 cup fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup walnuts (or substitute your preferred nut or seed)
1 clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 cups cooked quinoa
Optional: garnish with sun dried tomatoes
Cook the quinoa according to the package instructions. Add the spinach, basil, lemon juice, water, walnuts, garlic, salt, and pepper to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Mix the quinoa with the pesto sauce and serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 4 servings of pesto quinoa.