Broccoli pesto = double broccoli quinoa. Sound exciting? No. Not so much? Well I realize the photo doesn't prompt you to salivate at your computer screen, but don't let its humble appearance deceive you because this was a wonderful surprise! I'm still trying to detox from Thanksgiving so this hit the spot! Dishes like this make me believe I could become a vegetarian or a fruitarian. :) Although, I doubt my carnivorous hubby would approve. The Texan W.M. and sister-in-law would have a field day for sure - it would be the end for this little Korean blogger.
For some reason I can never get excited about describing savory foods as much as I do desserts - so I'll keep this short and sweet. Quinoa is one of my favorite grains and I absolutely heart vegetables. Those two ingredients alone had me hooked and it was a fabulous double whammy of healthiness. Zesty lemon and salty parmesan make this the quintessential side dish for any meal. Add some grilled chicken and you have a perfect meal in itself. I hope you try it and enjoy it as much as I did.
Double Broccoli Quinoa
Recipe adapted from 101 Cookbooks
3 cups cooked quinoa*
5 cups raw broccoli, cut into small florets and stems
3 medium garlic cloves
2/3 cup sliced or slivered almonds, toasted
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
2 big pinches salt
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil***
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Optional toppings: slivered basil, fire oil (optional)**, sliced avocado
crumbled feta or goat cheese
Heat the quinoa and set aside.
Now barely cook the broccoli by pouring 3/4 cup water into a large pot and bringing it to a simmer. Add a big pinch of salt and stir in the broccoli. Cover and cook for a 2-3 minutes, just long enough to take the raw edge off. Transfer the broccoli to a strainer and run under cold water until it stops cooking. Set aside.
To make the broccoli pesto puree two cups of the cooked broccoli, the garlic, 1/2 cup of the almonds, Parmesan, salt, and lemon juice in a food processor. Drizzle in the olive oil and pulse until smooth.
Just before serving, toss the quinoa and remaining broccoli florets with about 1/2 of the broccoli pesto. Taste and adjust if needed, you might want to add more of the pesto a bit at a time (I added half the pesto and seasoned more with salt and pepper and red pepper flakes) or you might want a bit more salt or an added squeeze of lemon juice. Turn out onto a serving platter and top with the remaining almonds, a drizzle of the chile oil, and some sliced avocado or any of the other optional toppings.
*To cook quinoa: rinse one cup of quinoa in a fine-meshed strainer. In a medium saucepan heat the quinoa, 1.5 cups of chicken broth, and a few big pinches of salt until boiling. Reduce heat and simmer until water is absorbed and quinoa fluffs up, about 20-25 minutes. Quinoa is done when you can see the curlique in each grain, and it is tender with a bit of pop to each bite. Drain any extra water and set aside.
**To make the red chile oil: You'll need 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil and 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes. If you can, make the chile oil a day or so ahead of time by heating the olive oil in a small saucepan for a couple minutes - until it is about as hot as you would need it to saute some onions, but not so hot that it smokes or smells acrid or burned. Turn off the heat and stir in the crushed red pepper flakes. Set aside and let cool, then store in refrigerator. Bring to room temp again before using.***I left my pesto a little chunky - if you want it more pureed add more olive oil. I would even add substitute that with more chicken broth.
Optional: This would also be delicious scrambled with eggs I think :)