Recipe: Roast Vegetable Quinoa with Basil Pesto



Today's recipe is my first post-Christmas recipe and I really hope you enjoy it. It's pretty easy to make, it can be adapted so that you can use whatever vegetables you have in the house and the vegetable element of the dish works as a good side for anyone who is also feeding meat eaters. For lunch today, I had the vegetables and quinoa tossed in pesto while the rest of my family had the vegetables tossed in pesto along with meat and potatoes. Recipes like this one are ideal for anyone who is trying to increase their plant based eating while at the same time having to cook for the rest of the family who may still want their meat.

Importantly for this time of year, this dish is really easy to digest and I felt totally satisfied afterwards without feeling full and bloated. If you are worried about the fact that you are eating quinoa with your vegetables and pesto while the rest of your family are eating protein rich meat, worry no more. Quinoa is a really good plant based source of protein. In fact quinoa is a complete protein, containing all nine of the essential amino acides, which cannot be made by our bodies and therefore must come from our food.

If you are short on time or just don't fancy making the pesto yourself, there are some really good and minimally processed pestos available to buy. It's always handy to have one in the fridge. When looking for a brand of pesto to buy, I like to chose an Irish brand and one that contains ingredients I recognise. In other words, I avoid artificial ingredients and ingredients that sound more like they should be in a lab than in food.

If you have any leftovers, store in the fridge and eat cold the next day.


Ingredients:

1 butternut squash

1 red pepper

2 cups of brussel sprouts

1 cauliflower

1 broccoli

1 cup of quinoa

For the pesto:

2 cups of fresh basil leaves

1/3 cup of pine nuts

1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves of garlic

1 tabelspoon of lemon juice

Sea salt and black pepper

Method:

1. Start with the roast vegetables. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees celsius / gas mark 5. Peel the squash and cut it into small bite size pieces. Chop the cauliflower into small florets. Cut the sprouts in half. Deseed the pepper and chop it into small bite size pieces. Add all the vegetables to a roasting dish and drizzle with a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and season with sea salt and black pepper. Place in the oven for 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile cook the quinoa. Rinse the quinoa in a fine sieve and place in a saucepan with two cups of water. Bring to the boil and reduce the heat and allow to simmer for about 15 minutes until the water has been absorbed and the quinoa is fluffy. Drain off any excess water and add the quinoa to a large bowl.

3. Cook the broccoli by cutting it into florets and lightly steaming it for no more than five minutes. When done, add to the quinoa. Don't throw out the stalk as it can be juiced and added to your green juice or grated and added to salads.

4. Prepare the pesto, by adding all the pesto ingredients to a food processor and pulsing until mixed to a pesto.

5. Once the roast vegetables are done, add them to the quinoa and broccoli and toss. Add the pesto a little at a time and toss with the vegetables. If you like lots of pesto, add it all, or else add half and keep the rest in the fridge for adding to salads or making pasta.

6. Serve immediately and store any leftovers in the fridge as it can be eaten cold the following day.


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