recipe: quinoa with pesto

A couple of days ago we shared with you an easy, nutritious eggplant & potato curry recipe —> key word being easy.  You know one of those meals that you can just quickly pull together and pair with a steaming bowl of brown rice or your grain/bread of choice.  Since many of us are back at it after time off for the holidays  – I have been thinking of simple, healthy recipes for dinner that can be prepared with no major effort.

In our home, we have been experimenting with quinoa in the place of rice.  My boys love quinoa khichdi.  Since it’s been quite the hit, I decided to try it with pesto.  The flavors came out great, so much so that I have to admit that I actually preferred pairing the pesto with the quinoa instead of the pasta.  (My husband might take some more convincing but he agreed it was a nice twist on a family favorite.)


To make this dish, you’ll need to prepare the pesto first.  Store bought is ok for when you’re really pressed for time.  Costco even has a great one that we’ve used in the past.  But as with most things, homemade is just better.  Take a look at my pesto recipe here but try adding in some spinach and decreasing the amount of cheese and oil.  I’ll write up the exact measurements for this pesto soon, but the beauty in creating things like this is that you can’t really go wrong if you have a good ingredients and basic proportions.  Just taste and adjust – that’s what I do and usually I’m pleased with the end results.

Next step is to cook the quinoa.  Cooking it is easy – just rinse it well.  Add a cup of quinoa and two cups of water to a pot with 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt and let it come to a boil.  Once boiling, turn flame to a medium low setting, cover the pot and set a timer for 15 minutes.  Your quinoa is done and perfect!  You can also cook quinoa in a rice cooker the same way you cook rice. Just remember for every cup you will need two cups of water.

Then just mix the two together with both of these ingredients being room temperature.  Add in chopped veggies of your choice such as tomatoes, shredded spinach, red onions, asparagus, zucchini, mushrooms sauteed in garlic, fresh Italian basil…really, anything works here.  Even beans like cannellini.  Toss in a little bit of crumbled goat cheese or freshly grated parmesan and a of squeeze fresh lemon juice  – brings all the flavors out even a little more.  Done and done!

Simple, flavorful and so quick to pull together on busy weeknights.  Especially the first week back to work and school after the holidays which is such a drag for everyone.  Don’t forget to share your quick, healthy weeknight recipes by posting a comment below!

Wishing you all an easy breezy week ahead!

quinoa with pesto
Recipe Type: Main
Cuisine: Italian Fusion
Author: Shraddha
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: Serves 4
Pairing quinoa with pesto – why not?! Actually why didn’t I do this sooner…you’ll ask yourselves the same thing. It’s THE perfect marriage…bold flavors of garlic and basil combined with the nuttiness and earthiness of the quinoa. Who knew eating something so tasty can also be so healthy! Great way to kick off the new year!
  • Pesto – see link in post for recipe
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup sliced grape/cherry tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • The next time I make this, I will be adding in more vegetables like mushrooms, spinach, asparagus, zucchini and basil. Maybe even some cannellini beans too! Try anything you want – you cannot go wrong!
  1. Combine cooked quinoa and 1/3 cup pesto (add more to taste if needed, thinning out carefully with water if necessary) together.
  2. Then toss in vegetables of your choice and cheese.
  3. Finish with a tablespoon or two of finely chopped basil and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
  4. Now eat!



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