Broccoli Pesto with Quinoa

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

(Serves 4)

-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.

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No Comments

  • Reply
    The Candid RD
    February 28, 2012 at 7:07 am

    Broccoli and nutritional yeast, in a pesto?! Brilliant! I’m loving this recipe. It’s just too bad garlic is such an integral part of pesto, because it tastes so much better with it (and I can’t eat it…). I will have to try using garlic olive oil instead!

  • Reply
    Namaste Mari
    February 28, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    I have been seeing Quinoa everywhere lately..I think it is a sign that I finally need to try it! =)

  • Reply
    Raquel @ Ovenmitts Vegan Blog
    February 29, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    How creative! I’ve always thought of pesto being only ever made with basil, but this sounds tempting. I also have your same basil-growing predicament… I live central California and we’re still having frosty nights! I’m struggling just to keep my perennials alive…

  • Reply
    Ragamuffin Diaries
    February 29, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    This is such a cool idea! I’ve heard of arugula pesto, but the idea of kale & broccoli pestos is so unique! This sounds like a very delicious meal….

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