I feel like I can’t get enough basil lately. Every time I think about what flavor I want in my food, I want basil. That’s what made me come up with this basil hummus dressing and that’s also what made me make this pesto quinoa salad. The other reason I made this salad?
It was ridiculously hot.
We had just gotten back from Traverse City and I was in no mood to be an adult. Chicago felt like it was melting compared to the cool and comfortable 70’s we had just left in Michigan so there was no way I was even going to turn on our oven. I tried to think of the laziest meal possible and a cold salad came to mind. And what dressing should I use for salad? Pesto obviously! I actually made this right before we left for the beach (told you I wasn’t ready to adult yet) and when we got back I literally had to do nothing for dinner but mix everything together.
Throw in a few cherry tomatoes and some cooked quinoa and you have a simple dinner that is perfect when you’re covered in sweat. There might have also been copious amounts of watermelon with this meal. Because watermelon is a delicious way to eat your water.
And who doesn’t want to eat water?
Pesto Quinoa Salad
For the pesto:
- 1.5 cup basil, tightly packed (you can use more… I may have used more)
- 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
- 3 cloves garlic
- 3 tbsp nutritional yeast (or good parmesan if you’re down with cheese)
- juice of one lemon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 3-4 tbsp olive oil
- Toast the walnuts in a dry frying pan over medium heat until lightly browned and fragrant. Remove from heat and let cool.
- Once walnuts are cool, combine them with the garlic cloves in a blender and blend until you have a paste. Add the rest of the ingredients EXCEPT the olive oil and blend until the basil is broken down.
- Add the olive oil in a tablespoon at a time. I tend to use a little less olive oil than normal. Just enough to keep things moving as it blends but not enough that it’s drowning in oil. Use your judgment.
- Store pesto in the fridge in an airtight jar until you’re ready to use.
For the salad:
- 1 batch of pesto
- 3 cups cooked quinoa
- 8 oz container of cherry tomatoes
- 2/3 cup scallions, sliced
- Cut the cherry tomatoes into quarters and slice scallions. Then, combine everything in a large bowl and mix until everything is coated in pesto.
- Serve right away or let it sit in the fridge for a few hours so all the flavors combine.
It’s a really simple meal and could probably be a lot fancier but sometimes you just need simple. You can dress it up any way you would like. Add cooked chicken or chickpeas, or steak or zucchini. Or just leave it the way it is and enjoy it!