Why take a dish that works and change it? Well, for one, if I had basil growing in my backyard, maybe I’d consider using it, but given the frost still occasionally building on my windshield, that’s not looking too promising. However, even if basil were to be in season, pesto proves to work wonderfully in many different forms, so why not test out something new?
Last year’s kale pesto was a perfect exhibit of how pesto can make kale irresistibly delicious, even for the non-kale-lovers. Similarly, this recipe packs a ton of green veggie power (6 cups of broccoli, to be exact) into one easy dish, while surprisingly shying away from having an overbearing broccoli flavor. I’ve even incorporated extra broccoli aside from the pesto into this quinoa dish, but if you’re not a fan of the green crowns, feel free to add another form of green texture instead, like snow peas or string beans. However, if you’re a broccoli lover like me, as an alternative to quinoa, the pesto makes a great dip too. If you choose to go this route, simply thin out with a tablespoon or two of extra olive oil or warm water and serve with lightly steamed broccoli or crudites.
Broccoli Pesto with Quinoa
-1 cup quinoa
-6 cups broccoli florets
-3 garlic cloves
-1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
-1/4 cup walnuts
-1/2 cup nutritional yeast
-1 lemon, juiced
-1/2 cup olive oil
-1 tsp. salt, plus pinch
-1/2 tsp. pepper, or to taste
Bring quinoa and 2 and 1/3 cups of water to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook 20 minutes, until quinoa is sprouted and tender.
Steam broccoli in a steamer basket. After 3 minutes, remove 4 cups and set aside for pesto. Cook remaining 2 cups another 2-3 minutes, or until fork tender, and cut into bite-sized pieces.
Meanwhile, blend garlic and pumpkin seeds in a food processor. Add walnuts, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper, lemon and 4 cups of cooked broccoli. Start to process in food processor, and begin streaming in olive oil. Puree until pesto is smooth.
Toss pesto with quinoa. Stir in remaining 2 cups of broccoli.