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Pesto Quinoa Salad

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pesto quinoa salad

It’s that time of year again. Time for picnics and potlucks and family gatherings. It’s always tough to figure out what to bring.

Are you sick of potato salad and pasta salad? Or are your kids like mine and won’t touch either of those anyway?

This pesto quinoa salad is my solution! It has a lot of flavor from the pesto. But it’s not overpowering. So even my sensitive palate daughter enjoys it.

The other great part is that this salad is very allergen friendly. It basically has three ingredients – quinoa, peas and olive oil. You can swap peas for another vegetable if you don’t like them or don’t tolerate them.

As an added bonus you don’t have to worry about this salad spoiling after being outside for a little bit.

Pesto quinoa salad can be served as a warm side dish or chilled. The leftovers are great for easy lunches. You can add a little cooked chicken for a complete meal. I even added a few chickpeas and topped it with a fried egg for lunch! It was delicious.

I use a very simple pesto made with peas. A traditional basil or spinach pesto would also be delicious. For a nutrient boost you could even make it with pummus!

If you’re looking for an alternative salad for your next picnic or just want a new side dish for your dinner at home try this pesto quinoa salad. Both of my kids said it was great! If they approve, it must be good.

 pesto quinoa salad 2

Pesto Quinoa Salad
Serves 4
A simple spring salad that is perfect for picnics.
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  1. 1/2 cup quinoa - soaked and drained
  2. 1 cup water or chicken broth
  3. 1/2 - 1 cup peas (frozen, thawed or fresh)
  4. 1/4 cup pesto (I use pesto made with peas* - you can use any pesto you like)
To taste (optional)
  1. salt
  2. garlic powder
  3. parmesan cheese
  4. chopped nuts
  1. Soak the quinoa for 1 - 24 hours. Rinse and drain.
  2. Bring water or broth to a boil in a sauce pan. Add the quinoa, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 12 minutes.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat. Keep the lid on.
  4. After 10 minutes add the peas to the pan of quinoa. Cover and let sit 5 - 10 minutes.
  5. Stir in the pesto.
  6. Season to taste.
  7. Add nuts or cheese if desired.
  8. Serve immediately or chill until ready to serve.
  1. If you are taking this to a group gathering double or triple the recipe.
  2. *For a simple pesto blend 2 cups thawed peas, 1/2 - 1 cup extra virgin olive oil (can replace some of the oil with water for a milder flavor), sea salt and garlic powder to taste in a blender until smooth.
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