For a long time, a container of quinoa sat collecting dust in my kitchen cabinet.
I bought it because I’d heard – many times – about how easy and extremely healthy it is (full of fiber, protein, and antioxidants).
It made my pantry look all modern and healthy, sitting there … unopened.
The thing was, I wasn’t sure: 1) how to cook it and 2) how to season it so it tasted delicious instead of bland.
I finally decided to dive in and try it when I thought: why not mix pesto in?
I tried adding a broccoli and lemon pesto.
And I found that quinoa has a satisfying, nutty texture that’s complemented perfectly by a creamy pesto made of broccoli, onion, lemon, and pine nuts.
It was really, really tasty. And really, really easy.
I’m now quinoa’s biggest fan. Does Quinoa have a Facebook page? I would ‘Like’ it for sure.
Here’s everything you need to get started.
This recipe is simple and ready in 30 minutes!
Begin by toasting some pine nuts on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Check on these delicate little guys often – they will burn on you in an instant!
Meanwhile, quickly chop some garlic and onion.
Don’t worry about dicing everything perfectly – it will all be pureed into pesto later!
Heat some extra virgin olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
Saute the garlic and onion for a few minutes, until the onion has softened.
Grab a head of broccoli and cut off the rough stalk.
Then chop the head into florets and add to the pan.
Season well with salt and pepper.
When the broccoli has softened, throw everything into a food processor and puree.
Squeeze some fresh lemon juice and add to the food pro.
Add half of the toasted pine nuts.
Add some extra virgin olive oil.
Season with salt and pepper.
Pulse until everything is pureed.
Now, time for the quinoa!
Quinoa deserves its rep as one of the healthiest grain alternatives. It’s full of magnesium (prevents heart disease and wards off headaches), filling protein, and cancer-preventing fiber.
Plus it’s so easy: Store it in the pantry and cook up only the amount you need, just like pasta or rice. It takes about 15 minutes to cook in some boiling water on the stove top. And that’s all there is to it!
Begin by rinsing the quinoa thoroughly in a fine mesh strainer.
Heat some chicken broth in the saucepan you cooked the veggies in.
Reusing the saucepan = less dishes to wash later! (Math genius, at your service.) (I do what I can.)
Vegetarian/Vegan Alternative: substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth.
When the broth starts boiling, ladle out half a cup and set aside.
Add the quinoa.
Cover and reduce the heat to medium low.
You’ll know it’s ready when you see the little grains open up and unravel.
Add a bit of that broth you reserved to the pesto. How much you add will depend upon how thick you like your pesto. I add just a couple of tablespoons because I like really thick pesto.
Then stir the pesto into the pan with the quinoa.
Stir in the remaining pine nuts.
I love the color of this dish.
It’s a pretty, spring-like, pale green.
Here’s how I’d describe the taste: lots of velvety richness from the broccoli and lemon pesto. With a delicious, savory crunch from the toasted pine nuts.
I asked my Meat-And-Potatoes-Guy (i.e. husband, Chris) for his review.
He said “If someone told me 10 years ago I’d be eating broccoli pesto and quinoa for dinner, I would have laughed out loud. To say the least.”
And then “This is really good! I’m getting seconds!”
Here is the complete recipe:
You do such a good job with your dishes and photos – always look “have to try this tomorrow” – never eaten anything like this before – so I put this on file .. Thansk a million!
Thanks so much – I’m loving your recent tuna dish too 🙂
Please, try it … and let me know. One of my favorite!
If you have any leftovers, next day for lunch, put in a wholemeal flat bread/wrap with your favourite cheese and toast it…delicious!
Next day for lunch, put it in a wholemeal pitta bread with your favourite cheese and toast it…Yum!
Oh that sounds so tasty – definitely trying this with the leftovers 🙂
Mmm that looks really good – I love anything broccoli! But… what IS quinoa, really? Some kind of rice?
It’s a seed and, to me, it tastes a lot like brown rice 🙂
This is great idea for quinoa! I’ll have to try it, especially since I’ve never had broccoli pesto before.
Funny enough, I also just posted a quinoa recipe, too! http://wp.me/p2drm6-4v
Your quinoa dish looks sooo delicious!
Great idea! I too have a bag of quinoa in the cabinet – now you’ve inspired me! 🙂
Very cool dish! I’ve never made homemade pesto and I love that you use broccholi for added vitamins (and great flavor too). It’s great to see such a wonderful and nutritious dish only takes roughly 35 minutes to make – I have no excuse, I have to make this pronto!
it’s really nice test:)
looks delicious 🙂
Thanks so much 🙂
I’ve heard such good things about quinoa but I still haven’t jumped on the quinoa bandwagon yet. I have browsed through a few inviting recipes but I guess I’m too worried that I won’t like it. But wow, this pesto looks so amazing that I’ll definitely have to give it a try now!
If you like brown or wild rice, I think you’ll like quinoa. If you try it let me know how it turns out for you 🙂
I love reading the fun new foodies on your blog! This pesto quinoa looks so delicious and healthy! It puts the fun back in Quinoa 🙂
You’re not quinoa’s biggest fan…I am! But since you shared this great recipe, I’ll share my title with you. I’ve mostly been eating quinoa tacos, but I’m eager to try this. Thanks!
Quinoa tacos? Now that sounds so tasty – yum!
This quinoa is fabulous 😀
What a wonderfully delicious recipe – and I wanted to say thank you for subscribing as well – I hope you enjoy it 🙂
Choc Chip Uru
You are fabulous so I nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award! Come on over to pick it up!
Keep up the good work!
I have never heard of Quinoa and wondered if you can buy it at a local grocery store. It certainly sounds like it has wonderful health benefits. I would like to try it. Thanks for again encouraging me to fix healthy foods that taste delicious.
Yes, it’s really worth trying if you can find it. Otherwise, I think brown rice would be an excellent substitute 🙂
Love the broccoli pesto idea! I am a big quinoa fan and eat it at least once per week, but typically serve something over it (ie. a stir fry). I haven’t experimented very much with mixing things in and making it a dish in itself. Can’t wait to try this!
I cannot believe I didn’t think of this!
I love quinoa, but have only ever had it as a bland side-dish or in a restaurant where I couldn’t possibly figure out what they did to it to make it tasty. This would be amazing, even with a traditional basil pesto (I don’t like broccoli). Thanks for the great tip!
I think a basil pesto with parmesan (yum- my favorite!) would be delicious with quinoa!
Like many other things, quinoa is also really easy to make in a rice cooker! I am eager to try your pesto dish since I am a fan of quinoa but don’t have that many recipes to use it with.
I would like to get a rice cooker. I also need to get a larger kitchen though, because I have no cabinet space left to store one! 🙂
I absolutely love the pesto quinoa recipe! How clever you are! I’ve been just cooking up quinoa with a dab of “Bettern than Boullion” chicken base in the cooking liquid. And then, adding butter & some soy to the bowl of cooked quinoa. I’ve just made a batch of garlic scape pesto and will try that with your brocolli recipe! Many thanks.
Reblogged this on My Life is really in the Garden and commented:
Oh, how delicious this quinoa recipe is .. using pesto & broccoli!! Delicious!