GREEN & WHITE QUINOA SALAD WITH ASPARAGUS PESTO

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The first thing I want to do is apologise for the delays of this weeks post. As some of you may know over here in California my boyfriend and myself had a small disaster – and by small disaster I mean we got our travel wallet stolen with both our passports, drivers licenses, credit cards, student cards, you name it inside. After 2 days of being on the verge of a mental breakdown, ID and cashless, we were this morning very luckily reunited with the travel wallet without money inside (least of our worries) but with our passports still tucked in there! I don’t think me and my boyfriend have ever felt such relief. So now I am back in the game and am enjoying my final week in sunny California before I head back home to Melbourne! Melbournians I’ll try and bring the weather home with me, but I can’t make any promises.

NOW enough about my dramas and back to the food!!! Whether it is hot, or cold, I love a good salad. I love pesto, I love edamame (think you’ve all worked that one out by now) and I love cannellini beans, so basically this salad just ticks every box for me. It is a salad that goes perfect on it’s own as a satisfying and tasty meal, and goes perfect paired alongside some protein or more vegetables. This salad is beyond easy to make and the pesto is a nice variation from the plain ol’ basil pesto we’re used too (really I am not changing it much but hey, any chance I get to squeeze in another vegetable and I’ll do it). If you want to beef it up a bit you can also add some sautéed mushrooms, or even just toss in some rocket. Easy, quick, LOVE IT.
Ingredients
Feeds 4-5 hungry tummies

For the salad
2
 cups cooked quinoa
1 cup edamame beans
1 tin cannellini Beans
rind + juice of 1 lemon
bunch flat leaf parsley
olive oil

For the asparagus pesto
1 bunch asparagus
1 bunch basil
1/2 cup pine nuts (lightly toasted) + a little extra for sprinkling on top
1/2 cup sunflower seeds (lightly toasted)
3/4 cup grated parmesan or 1/3 cup nutritional yeast for vegans
juice 1/2 a lemon
olive oil
pinch sea salt & pepper

First thing we want to do is cook your quinoa, and in a separate pot lightly cook your roughly chopped asparagus spears, you only want to very lightly cook your asparagus so don’t let them sit in the pot for too long and get all floppy. Once they are nice and tender take them out of the water, run them under the cold tap and place them aside. Do the same with your quinoa once it is cooked, drain it and run it under some cold water and place it in a bowl to the side.

In your oven lightly toast your sunflower seeds and pine nuts until they get a nice golden glow. Take out your nuts and seeds of the oven and set aside.

In a processor, place in all your pesto ingredients and blitz until you get a consitency. Keep adding oil as required. As I have some Euro in mean I am going to go ahead and say the more the better, nothing worse than a dry crumbly pesto.

In a bowl, mix your quinoa, cooked edamame, drained & rinsed cannellini beans, lemon juice & rind along with your chopped flat leaf parsley. Add in 1 tbsp of your pesto at a time with a little bit of olive oil until you’re happy with the taste and season with salt & pepper. I end up using almost all of my pesto just because myself and my family are flavour fiends and can’t get enough, but I’ll always leave a little scrape to have on some sprouted bread or crackers the following day with some avocado and lemon juice (YUM).

Top your salad with some flat leaf parsley, a little bit more oil, pine nuts and serve with some lemon wedges.

Enjoy!

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