Per Serving: $1.10
This is one of those meals I put together for my lunch all the time. If I have a bunch of quinoa in the fridge (or freezer!), I just heat it on the stove with a little butter and pesto, and roast some tomatoes. I can’t tell you when I first had it (I used to make the same thing with couscous long ago), but Peru is where we learned from a local that butter + garlic + quinoa = BEST THING EVER. After they cook the quinoa, they remove it from the pot, melt a whole bunch of butter in there, add a whole bunch of garlic, and then mix the quinoa back in. SO GOOD.
But, for this dish, butter is optional, I promise. The pesto is the star of the show.
Or maybe it’s the roasted tomatoes.
I’m just not sure. It’s all delicious.
This dish is really simple to put together if you’ve already got pesto made, but even with the pesto-making, it’s still only going to take you about 30-40 minutes. It’s totally on the lighter side, so I normally call it a lunch meal, but you can bulk it up with cooked white beans, roasted chicken, or even a side salad as we normally do. It’s not super high in the protein department, but I think that’s okay every once in a while.
Right now it seems like cherry tomatoes are cheaper than ever, which is my normal choice for this dish! We had heirlooms tomatoes in our CSA box this time, but just use what’s cheaper! And as much as I love the nutty flavor and great nutritional profile of quinoa, you can easily replace this with barley – at $.0.99 per pound, that’s much cheaper!
I included a pesto recipe that makes about 1 cup of pesto (about $3.18 per batch), but remember that you only need 3 Tablespoons for this recipe! Store the rest in the fridge or freezer for lots of yummy pesto-licious meals to come.
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated (+ 2 WHOLE cloves + 1-2 for pesto)
- 2 cups water (or broth)
- 1 Tablespoon butter, if desired :)
- 4-5 ripe in-season tomatoes (or use whole cherry or grape tomatoes)
- 2 WHOLE cloves garlic
- 3 Tablespoons pesto
- olive oil for drizzling
- chopped basil, walnuts, and parmesan for topping
- For the Pesto:
- 3 cups basil, lightly packed
- 1-2 cloves garlic
- ¼ cup walnuts
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup olive oil (use about 4-6 Tbsp)
- pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 450º. Drizzle a little olive oil on a baking sheet or casserole dish. Slice the tomatoes in half horizontally. Place them cut side up in the baking sheet with the whole peeled garlic. Season with salt and pepper, and another drizzle olive oil. Roast on 450º for about 20-30 minutes, or until the tomatoes are super soft.
- Prepare the quinoa – rinse it under cold water and remove any debris. Mix with garlic, then add water or broth and cook on stove according to package directions, or in your rice cooker! When it is done, remove from heat, stir in 1 Tbsp butter, and 3 Tbsp pesto. Season with a little salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
- When the tomatoes are done, plate the quinoa. You should serve about ¾ cup per person. Top 2-3 tomato halves, walnuts, pesto, and fresh basil. Serve!
- For the Pesto:Blend half the basil with the garlic and lemon juice (you can add 1-2 teaspoons of water to get the blades moving). Then add remaining ingredients and blend on low until fully combined, stopping to scrape sides as necessary. (Alternatively, blend all ingredients except oil in food processor until combined, then stream oil in while processing on low.)