Quinoa with Brocolli Pesto

Quinoa with Broccoli Pesto is so delicious and easy. It’s love at first bite when all the fresh and creamy flavors come together. Broccoli pesto?  Really? Really….

Brocolli Pesto

Broccoli, almonds, parmesan cheese, olive oil, cream and garlic! Cook’s note to my vegan friends: I list vegan substitutes in the recipe below. One optional topping is the red chile oil recipe below. Promise me you will add it. Except for the kids… They should pass on the fire oil, but with all the other good flavors, this might be the new way to get them to eat their broccoli. This tastes even better the following day so it’s a wonderful make-ahead dish.


Quinoa with Broccoli Pesto
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Vegetarian Main Dish or Side
Serves: 4-6
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 cups water
  • 5 cups fresh broccoli, cut into small florets (about 2 good size broccoli crowns)
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • ⅔ cup freshly grated parmesan, divided
  • ⅔ cup sliced or slivered almonds, toasted, divided
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Juice from one fresh lemon, about 2 tablespoons
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • Optional toppings: chopped basil, red chile oil (recipe below), sliced avocado
  • To make this dish vegan, substitute the heavy cream with coconut milk. For the parmesan, you can use Parma, or add about ¼ cup sesame seeds in place of the parmesan.
  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the quinoa with 2 cups water until boiling. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until all the water is absorbed and quinoa fluffs up, about 15 minutes. Quinoa is done when the seeds have sprouted. Set aside.
  2. Heat a large pot of water to boiling and add the broccoli. Cook just long enough to take the raw taste out and until broccoli is bright green. About 90 seconds. Drain broccoli and rinse with cold water to stop broccoli from continuing to cook. Set aside.
  3. To make the broccoli pesto, puree 2 cups of the cooked broccoli, garlic, ⅓ cup of the almonds,1/3 cup of the parmesan, salt and lemon juice in a food processor. Drizzle in the olive oil and cream and pulse until nearly smooth.
  4. Just before serving, toss the quinoa and remaining broccoli florets with the broccoli pesto. Taste and you might decide to add more lemon juice or salt at this time. Add the remaining ⅓ cup parmesan cheese and taste. Add more if you like.
  5. Spoon mixture onto serving platter or plates. Add toppings of your choice. I highly recommend the sliced avocado and liberal amounts of the red chile oil.
  6. Red Chile Oil:
  7. Heat ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil in a small saucepan until heated, but not so hot that it smokes. Turn off the heat and stir in 1½ teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes. Set aside and let cool. This is good prepared the day before and kept in refrigerator overnight. Bring back to room temperature again before using.

Recipe adapted from 101 Cookbooks.

Simple Share Buttons