Another keeper from the 101 cookbooks blog... Double Broccoli Quinoa. It wins a "Best of Show" County Fair Ribbon, in my opinion, for the super foods tastily packed into one dish: quinoa, broccoli, avocado, and almonds. Quinoa simmers for 15 minutes while cooked broccoli, garlic cloves, almonds, Parmesan cheese, salt, lemon juice, olive oil, and milk is put in a food processor...
and whirled up to make pesto.
The pesto is added to the cooked quinoa to create the most wonderful flavor. Tossed with steamed broccoli florets for a bright spot of green color then topped with sliced avocado, crumbled feta or goat cheese, and almonds for crunch... ready to dig in.
Double Broccoli Quinoa
3 cups cooked (regular or red heirloom variety) quinoa*
5 cups raw broccoli, cut into small florets and stems (1 head)
3 medium garlic cloves
2/3 cup sliced or slivered almonds, toasted
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
pinch of salt
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (1/2 lemon)
¼ cup olive oil (I used 2 tbsp.)
¼ cup heavy cream (I used milk.)
Toppings: sliced avocado, crumbled feta or goat cheese
Cook quinoa* according to package directions and set aside. Note: Quinoa comes in white (traditional), Inca Red (heirloom), and black varieties. I haven’t run across the black. The white has 3 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein and the red and black have 4 grams fiber and 6 grams protein per serving.
Steam the broccoli just long enough to slightly take the raw edge off. Remove from heat and lift steamer basket from pan so that it doesn’t continue cooking. (If cooking in a pan with a little water instead of a steamer, drain broccoli in a colander.) To make the broccoli pesto, puree 2 cups of the cooked broccoli, the garlic, ½ cup of the almonds, Parmesan, salt, and lemon juice in a food processor. Drizzle in the olive oil and cream (or milk) and pulse until smooth. Just before serving, toss the quinoa and the remaining broccoli florets with about ½ cup of the broccoli pesto. Taste and adjust if needed. You might want to add more of the pesto a bit at a time, or you might want a bit more salt or an added squeeze of lemon juice. Turn out onto a serving platter and top with the remaining almonds, some sliced avocado, and feta or goat cheese. Serves 4 – 6.
*Quinoa is coated with saponins, a bitter tasting, naturally occurring coating that repels birds during its cultivation. It produces soap-like foaming when quinoa is shaken in water. Most boxed/pre-packaged quinoa has been pre-rinsed for convenience, and cooking instructions suggest only a brief rinse before cooking, if at all. If quinoa has not been pre-rinsed, the first step is to remove the saponins, which requires either soaking the grain in water for a few hours or rinsing the quinoa under running water for several minutes in either a fine strainer or cheesecloth. Soaking also causes the quinoa to germinate which boosts its nutritional value. Germination activates its natural enzymes and multiplies its vitamin content. Quinoa has a very short germination period. Soaking in a glass jar of clean water for only 2 to 4 hours is enough to make it sprout. I soak it overnight while I sleep so that it's ready when I need it the next day.