Quinoa with Arugula and Lemon Pesto

In case you were wondering why the quinoa on the plate in last night’s dinner was a lovely pale green –I thought I’d share the recipe with you. 

I love making and experimenting with pesto of all different varieties–it’s a great way to concentrate a lot of flavor into a little package.  Then you can decide in which medium to disseminate it–pasta, rice, bulgar, quinoa, couscous, etc. 

Arugula or baby spinach are particularly well-suited to pesto because they pack a punch of bright green flavor and they don’t blacken as quickly as basil.  For this dish, I’m using arugula because of the added lemony bite.  In addition, I’m adding walnuts and grated lemon zest.  Grated parmiggiano is optional, but I’m adding it, since I love lemon and parmiggiano together. 

The quinoa (or whatever grain you’re using) is simply boiled in salted water,  then drained and tossed with as much or as little pesto as you desire.

Quinoa with Arugula and Lemon Pesto

 serves 4

10-oz box of baby arugula

1/4 c walnuts

1/4 c grated parmiggiano

1/2 c extra-virgin olive oil

grated zest of half a lemon

salt to taste

2 c quinoa

Begin pesto by placing arugula and walnuts in food processor.  Pulse several times (a few seconds per pulse) until nuts and arugula are coarsely ground.  Add oil gradually and process until a light green puree forms.  Add cheese and zest and pulse 2 or 3 times.  Taste for salt (it may not need any).

Boil quinoa in plenty of salted water.  Drain and reserve some cooking liquid. In a mixing bowl, toss drained quinoa with pesto, adding pesto gradually until it’s green enough to your liking (I used the entire batch of pesto in my 2 cups of quinoa).  Add some reserved cooking liquid if the mixture is too stiff.

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