This is honestly one of my favorite simple meals. Easy to make, packed with flavor, and super satisfying, this pesto quinoa is a go-to for very good reason! The simple combination of fluffy quinoa and lightly sautéed veggies is in itself so delicious, and when combined with an awesome pine nut and basil pesto, it’s seriously to die for.
This meal is perfect for an easy weeknight dinner, or a quick lunch on a busy day. It keeps really well in the fridge and even tastes amazing cold, so I often make a big batch and take leftovers with me to school for lunch. To make it even easier, I’ll make big batches of the pesto ahead of time, so the meal comes together in 15 minutes. Not to mention this pesto is also good with anything and everything. Think a dip for roasted veggies or mixed with a little olive oil and champagne vinegar for the best salad dressing!
Quinoa is one of my favorite ingredients and I use it constantly. Unlike some grains, it’s high in protein and fiber which makes it perfectly satiating. I love combining it with cauliflower rice (which you really can’t taste) because it adds volume and texture, but as mentioned in the recipe the cauliflower is totally optional–it’s delicious either way. The flavors come together so well in this dish, from the juicy cherry tomatoes to the tender and crispy brussels sprouts, it is such a winning combo! I know you will love this meal as much as I do, and remember to let me know if you make it by commenting below and tagging me on Instagram!
- ⅔ cup pine nuts (plus extra for topping)
- 2 cups fresh basil
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- ½ cup olive oil
- ½ tsp salt
- ⅔ cup quinoa
- 1½ cups brussels sprouts, halved and sliced
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 3 cups arugula
- optional: 1½ cups cauliflower rice
- First make the pesto by combine the pine nuts, basil, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt in a food processor. Process until everything is well combined. Taste and adjust as necessary, adding salt or basil for flavor, pine nuts to thicken, or olive oil to thin.
- Toast some additional pine nuts in a dry frying pan over medium-low heat for a few minutes, until brown. They burn quickly so it's best to keep them moving in the pan. When toasted, set aside.
- Place the quinoa is a sauce pan with 1⅓ cups water over high heat. Let it come to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and let it cook for 12 minutes.
- While the quinoa cooks prep the veggies. Slice the ends of the brussels sprouts, slice them in half, then thinly slice them perpendicular to the first cut. Halve the cherry tomatoes.
- When the quinoa has about 6 minutes left, place a large sauté pan over medium heat drizzle with olive oil. Add the brussels sprouts and cherry tomatoes to the pan with a pinch of salt and lightly sauté for a few minutes, letting the sprouts brown slightly
- If using the cauliflower rice, add it now with a bit more oil and salt, then continue to sauté all the vegetables while the quinoa finishes cooking.
- When the quinoa is done, add that and about half of the pesto to the sauté pan with the vegetables.
- Add the fresh arugula, and sauté everything together for a few minutes until all the vegetables are tender and everything is well combined. Add more pesto as desired!
- Serve hot with the toasted pine nuts sprinkled over the top. Enjoy!