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.
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!
- 1 & 1/3 cup water
- 2/3 cup dried quinoa
- 2 TB sun dried tomato, chopped
- pinch of sea salt
- 1 TB extra virgin olive oil
- Fresh squeezed juice of 1/4 lemon
- 1 cup fresh basil, packed
- 1/3 cup raw pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 avocado
- 2 cloves of AVC-fermented garlic (substitution: 2 tsp garlic powder)
- 2 TB extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 tsp coarse gray sea salt
- 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- Rinse quinoa thoroughly in a fine mesh strainer.
- Add water and a pinch of sea salt to medium sized pot on the stove until boiling.
- 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).
- When finished, transfer to a bowl and stir in the 1 TB of extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice.
- Add another pinch of salt if you like (I do).
- 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.
- 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.
- Garnish with thinly sliced basil leaves, a bit of extra quinoa, and fresh ground pepper.
- If you decide to use a ring mold, twisting it gently will keep the top layer smooth as you remove the tamper.