Basil Quinoa with Red Bell Pepper
With quinoa playing the starring role, nutrients abound in this full-flavored side dish. A great addition to any dinner, this dish goes especially well with a crisp salad. To make ahead, prepare as directed, except do not sprinkle with sunflower seeds. Cover and chill for up to 6 hours. Sprinkle with sunflower seeds before serving.
- 1 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced (2 teaspoons minced)
- 2 cups cooked quinoa*
- 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
- 1/2 cup sliced green onions
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup shelled sunflower seeds
- In a small saucepan, bring 2 cups water to boiling. In a small bowl, combine cold water and ice cubes to make an ice bath. Add the basil to the boiling water; stir once and drain immediately. Place basil in the ice bath to cool quickly. Gently squeeze out any excess water.
- Place basil in a food processor. Add Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic. Cover and process until nearly smooth.
- In a medium bowl, stir together cooked quinoa, bell pepper, and green onions. Add basil mixture; stir to coat. Season to taste with kosher salt and black pepper. Sprinkle with sunflower seeds.
*Note: Look for quinoa at a health food store or in the grains section of a large supermarket. To make 2 cups cooked quinoa, in a fine strainer rinse 2/3 cup quinoa under cold running water; drain. In a small saucepan, combine 1 1/3 cups water, the quinoa, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Let stand to cool slightly. Drain off any remaining liquid.
Recipe reprinted from The Sonoma Diet Cookbook (Meredith Books), 2006, by Connie Guttersen. Republished with permission from the author.
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