Quinoa and spinach are a powerfully healthy combination, whether you're vegetarian, vegan or not! The addition of pesto makes this entree absolutely delicious, so you won't feel like you're eating health food. Plus, with nothing more than some cooked quinoa, fresh spinach, pesto, and some cheese or nutritional yeast to top it all off, this is a super quick and easy (some might even say lazy!) way to get a meal on the table. Its one I turn to often when I just don't feel like cooking, or when I have leftover quinoa on hand. It's not really a full home cooked meal, but with fresh spinach, it's half way there. Add some oven-roasted vegetables, either roasted red peppers or tomatoes, if you want to round it out a bit more.
Also, since it's truly a one-dish meal (you just cook the quinoa and add the spinach and pesto right into the same pot), it's a great option for anyone cooking with just one burner (like student dorm residents or anyone cooking from a hot plate).
I love this quinoa recipe just as it is, but when I had the leftovers the next day, I couldn't help but wish that I had added some sliced cherry tomatoes or even some sun-dried tomatoes.
This recipe is vegetarian, and it can be vegan if you're using a vegan pesto and nutritional yeast in place of the Parmesan cheese. If you need it to be gluten-free as well, just cook the quinoa in water instead of vegetable broth, and, while your pesto should be gluten-free, it never hurts to double-check the ingredients list if you're using store-bought.
See also: More easy quinoa recipes to try
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 2 cups water or vegetable broth
- large handful fresh spinach
- 1/4 cup prepared vegetarian pesto
- 1/2 tsp fresh lemon or lime juice
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 tbsp fresh grated Parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast (optional)
Simmer quinoa in vegetable broth or water, covered, for 10-12 minutes, until quinoa is almost cooked.
Fold in fresh spinach and heat for 3-4 more minutes, until spinach has wilted and quinoa is cooked through.
Remove from heat. Stir in pesto, drizzle with lime juice and season well with salt and pepper to taste. Sea salt or kosher salt is always best!
Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, or stir in a bit of nutritional yeast for extra flavor (and a B12 boost for vegans!).