After making my Mini Vegan Pizza Potato Skins the other week, I had a little jarred sun-dried tomato paste left which I used to make a quick quinoa dish for lunch. I hadn’t anticipated it being that special but I loved it so much that I decided I’d have to make something similar to share with you all here.
Since I’d finished up all the sun-dried tomato paste and also because I wanted everyone to be able to make this recipe, I made my own sun-dried tomato pesto from scratch. I’m calling it a “pesto” rather than a “paste” as I left it a little chunkier and added some pine nuts to the mix for even more flavour and texture.
If you can get your hands on a readymade vegan version then you could of course use that but this recipe requires only a few easy-to-find ingredients and a minute in the food processor so it’s really not much effort.
Sun dried tomatoes have such an incredible sweet, savoury flavour that this pesto adds a bit of pizzaz to anything it touches.
I mixed a good few spoonfuls of the pesto into fluffy quinoa, along with some fresh vegetables, for a delicious meal that is just as good eaten immediately as it is the following day from your lunchbox!
I’m trying to eat as much asparagus as I can before the season’s over and it is particularly lovely in this dish but Tenderstem broccoli or French green beans would also be good options. Cherry tomatoes add little juicy pops of sweetness throughout and balance the rich flavours nicely.
I especially love this quinoa Salad over a couple of handfuls of fresh spinach with a squeeze of lemon and a dollop of homemade hummus!
- 1/2 C Sun-dried tomatoes, divided (dry-packed kind)
- 1/2 C Basil (loosely-packed), divided
- 1 Clove of garlic
- 2 Tbsp Toasted pine nuts
- 1 Tbsp Nutritional yeast
- 3-4 Tbsp Olive oil
- 3/4 C Quinoa
- Couple of big handfuls of spinach
- 1 C Cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 Bunch of asparagus (approx 200g), woody ends snapped off/trimmed
- 1 Tbsp Lemon juice
- Salt & Pepper
- Hemp seeds (optional)
- Rinse the quinoa well then place in a pan over medium heat with 1 1/2 C water. Bring to the boil then reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes until all the water is absorbed. Stir in the spinach then re-cover and leave for at least 10 minutes before fluffing with a fork.
- Soak the sun-dried tomatoes in hot water for 30 minutes while the quinoa is cooking, then drain (reserving a little water).
- Add 2/3 of the sun-dried tomatoes to a food processor with half the basil, the garlic, pine nuts, nutritional yeast and salt and pepper and pulse to combine. Stream in the olive oil while the motor is running and process until a thick paste (leave a little texture). You can add a Tbsp or so of the tomato soaking water for a looser consistency.
- Steam the asparagus for 2-3 minutes then refresh in cold water and chop each stem into 2 or 3 pieces.
- Roughly chop the remaining sun-dried tomatoes and basil.
- Stir the pesto into the quinoa, followed by the asparagus, cherry tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, basil & lemon juice.
- Check for seasoning and sprinkle with hemp seeds (if desired).
What are your favourite recipes for packed lunches or to take along to picnics and BBQS?
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