Sun Dried Tomato Quinoa & Avocado Pumpkin Seed Pesto (Vegan)

Sun dried tomato quinoa with pumpkin seed avocado pesto

This quinoa and pesto dish was inspired by an over-abundance of basil on my porch, and some ACV fermented garlic that I’ve been culturing for the last 6 weeks. I’m a big fan of cultured foods. I try to incorporate some into my diet every single day.

I created a twist on traditional pesto based on the ingredients I had on-hand and my dietary restrictions, and I’m quite happy with the results! Pumpkin seeds are a lot more budget-friendly than pine nuts. They add a little bit of texture and some health benefits, like being a good source of zinc, which is a great immune booster. The avocado provides a familiar creamy texture that pine nuts and cheese would have provided, and is a healthier source of fats than dairy.

apple cider fermented garlic and fresh basil, waiting to become pesto

Garlic cloves fermented in unfiltered apple cider vinegar and fresh home grown basil. Pesto is a natural thought that comes to mind when pondering the ways to marry these flavors.

Here in sunny Florida, we’ve already got a head start on our spring planting, even those of us without yards. Right now, on my small 3rd floor terrace, I’ve got tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, marigolds, basil, aloe, a small avocado tree (which will eventually need a yard), and some micro-greens.

I am looking forward to creating more unique pesto recipes throughout the warm weather season as my little plant continues to blossom and produce more basil leaves. By the looks of it, I should have some fresh tomatoes to add to my homegrown ingredients list within a few more weeks!

Sun Dried Tomato Quinoa with Avocado Pumpkin Seed Pesto
Serves 3
This recipe is a delicious and filling vegan appetizer or side dish that is quick and easy to prepare. The quinoa contributes protein, the avocados add fat, and the pumpkin seeds are a good source of zinc, which helps to strengthen the immune system.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Quinoa Ingredients
  1. 1 & 1/3 cup water
  2. 2/3 cup dried quinoa
  3. 2 TB sun dried tomato, chopped
  4. pinch of sea salt
  5. 1 TB extra virgin olive oil
  6. Fresh squeezed juice of 1/4 lemon
Pesto Ingredients
  1. 1 cup fresh basil, packed
  2. 1/3 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  3. 1/2 avocado
  4. 2 cloves of AVC-fermented garlic (substitution: 2 tsp garlic powder)
  5. 2 TB extra virgin olive oil
  6. 1/4 tsp coarse gray sea salt
  7. 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
Directions for the quinoa
  1. Rinse quinoa thoroughly in a fine mesh strainer.
  2. Add water and a pinch of sea salt to medium sized pot on the stove until boiling.
  3. Add quinoa and sun dried tomatoes to pot and reduce heat - simmer 15-20 minutes until water is absorbed (alternatively: you can use a rice cooker).
  4. When finished, transfer to a bowl and stir in the 1 TB of extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice.
  5. Add another pinch of salt if you like (I do).
Directions for the pesto (prepare while quinoa is cooking)
  1. Add all ingredients into a variable speed blender and mix until well-combined. The basil should be shredded and the pumpkin seeds should be chopped. I have a Vitamix and the mixture incorporated well on the 4-5 setting.
  1. If you want to make it fancy like the photo, use a 2.5" ring mold and layer the ingredients so there is roughly a 3:1 ratio of quinoa to pesto.
  2. Garnish with thinly sliced basil leaves, a bit of extra quinoa, and fresh ground pepper.
  1. If you decide to use a ring mold, twisting it gently will keep the top layer smooth as you remove the tamper.
A Taste of Two Plates

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