Quinoa with Superfood Pesto

Italian food is one of my favorite foods! It’s just so delicious, flavorful and simply comforting too. I especially love the use of herbs in Italian cuisine, probably the most used one being basil – one of my favorite herbs actually. Basil is wonderful, lovely and fragrant. What they make with basil in Italy is for example Pesto – an amazing culinary invention!

A few weeks after I started my blog, I came across an amazing book in the Barnes & Noble store close to my office, “Superfood Cuisine” by Julie Morris. She also cooks with Superfoods and her recipes are stunning! One recipe in the book caught my eye, it was a recipe for Quinoa with a “secret pesto” –  in fact, a real Superfood pesto! I wanted to make this for the longest time and well, here it is in this post! I did not follow the recipe 100% due to lack of some ingredients and to give it my own twist.  This Superfood pesto is using hemp seeds instead of the traditionally used  pine nuts, which I find a great replacement, because hemp seeds have a very similar consistency to pine nuts and a quite nutty taste.


Hemp seeds are an amazing superfood! Full of protein and fiber, rich in healthy fats, magnesium, zinc and iron  – really good for you. You can actually also make a vegan and nut-free milk with it! Like the one I made for my Chia Cheese Bread recipe.

This dish contains following 6 Superfoods:

  • Tomatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Wheatgrass
  • Garlic
  • Quinoa
  • Spinach

Ingredients: for 1 – 2 portions

  • 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves (packed)
  • 1/4 cup hemp seeds
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon freeze dried wheatgrass powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • A handful of baby spinach, finely chopped

The original recipe also called for nutritional yeast, it would give the pesto some additional “cheesy” flavor, as in the traditional pesto recipe, you would add parmesan cheese for that. However, I did not have any at home and left it out. I found that the pesto by itself tasted very intense of the basil, with a slightly bitter note, but mixed with the quinoa and seasoned with some additional salt and pepper, the dish got a really well-rounded flavor and tasted super yummy! 😉

The freeze dried wheatgrass powder looks something like this:


Like hemp seeds, wheat grass is a very powerful Superfood and can have several great health benefits for you. You can also buy it fresh, but using the freeze dried version requires a smaller amount and is more convenient as well. It can also be added to smoothies for example.



  • Soak the sun dried tomatoes in water
  • Blend together basil leaves, hemp seeds, olive oil, wheatgrass, salt and garlic in a blender until you get a smooth, pesto-like paste/ sauce
  • Mix some of it with the quinoa, serve the rest on the side
  • Add the sun dried tomatoes and spinach leaves to the warm dish
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste

Quinoa-with-Superfood-Pesto-2 Quinoa-with-Superfood-Pesto-3


  1. Hannah (BitterSweet) says

    Amazing how many power ingredients you managed to pack into this deceptively simple dish. But beyond the nutritional aspects, it just looks really delicious! There’s some basil growing in the garden out here right now, so I may just have to take advantage of that…

    • Sylvia @superfoodista.com says

      Thank you so much Hannah for this lovely comment! 😉 Means a lot coming from you – I love your blog and photos so much!! 😉 Let me know if you tried the recipe and if you liked it 😉 hugs & thanks for stopping by, Sylvia

    • Sylvia @superfoodista.com says

      Thank you Cheri! 😉 Yes, I am also quite new to these Superfoods. I think the first time I tried hemp seeds was about 6 months ago, but it’s really tasty. You need to use the hemp hearts, the already “peeled” ones. Let me know if you buy these ingredients and what you think about them 😉 hugs & thanks for stopping by!

  2. theseasonedtraveler says

    Looks delicious! I love the aroma & taste of basil too. I’ve never had quinoa with pesto, but this looks like a great combination, especially for the texture – I’m looking forward to trying it! -Laura

    • Sylvia @superfoodista.com says

      Thank you so much Laura for these kind words! 😉 Yes, it really fits, plus using quinoa instead of pasta gives you more protein and helps cut the carbs 😉 Thanks for stopping by and let me know if you make it how you liked it! hugs, Sylvia

  3. Sophie33 says

    A divine superfood pesto creation, my friend! W
    hat a delicious idea too! I have raw organic barley grass & use that in this divine pesto,…yum yum Yummm! xx

  4. Marfigs says

    Yum! If I didn’t use up all my spinach for smoothies I would have had enough left over to make this the moment I saw it – my shopping list is definitely changed for today 😉

  5. stacilys says

    The main character in our most recent film is here right now to do his voice overs. I asked him on Friday if he liked pesto and he gave a big smile and yes. So I told him that I was thinking of making a pesto pizza one of these nights for us. I think I’ll use your idea instead and make it part of our lunch. Yum.
    Thanks for yet another wonderful ‘superfood’ recipe Silva.
    Blessings =)

    • Sylvia @superfoodista.com says

      Hi Staci! Wow, nice! I didn’t know you were making films! So cool! I hope he will like it! You can also make a traditional pesto (with pine nuts, parmesan, etc.), whatever ingredients are easier to find for you. But with the quinoa it becomes way healthier than with the traditional pasta! 😉
      hugs & blessings back!

      • stacilys says

        Hey Sylvia. Yes, we make films here in Brazil. Actually, my hubby just won 7 awards at the National Christian Film Festival, including best film, best director, best script, best actor, best actress, best soundtrack, and best photography. If yo would like to watch it you can do so online. The link, as well as more about our film work is here: http://stacilys.wordpress.com/ponte-films/
        Of course it’s in Portuguese, but it has English sub-titles. The film we are currently in the post-production phase for will be released this May, just in time for the World Cup. It will be used to combat the issue of Human sex trafficking and tourism.
        Blessings =)

        • Sylvia @superfoodista.com says

          Thank you Staci!! wow, fantastic – what a nice work! I love it! I am going to have a look at it definitely! I just saw the intro to “valor de um sonho” – is it your husband making the intro? I understand almost everything ins Portuguese (I understood the intro perfectly), so I will definitely have a look. I love movies in Portuguese and I love the messages of the movies, very nice! It’s great the mission you have!!! Congrats!! :-)

          • stacilys says

            Thank you so much Sylvia. I’m encouraged by your comment. Yes, that is my hubby (bonitão neh – hehehe). I had no idea that you understood Portuguese. Do you speak it at all? I know that there is a huge community of Brazilians in Florida. You must let me know when you watch it.
            By the way, I finally made tofu. It’s actually quite easy, but it takes a while. And the end result isn’t firm, but more spongey. I made a vietnamese dish with it on Friday and a veggie/tofu stirfry today. Yummy.
            Blessings =)

          • Sylvia @superfoodista.com says

            Great hear that! 😉 Sim, ele é muito gato e simpatico! Falo mas o menos Portugués mais ta bem difícil escrever!! 😉 Temos muitos amigos Brasileiros aqui em Miami! Também tem um bairro com muitas lojas Brasileiras e restaurantes! 😉 There I can buy ingredients in case I want to make a Brasilian dish.
            Oh wow, you made the tofu?? I want to know the recipe!! 😉 Did you write it down?
            hugs right back & good night,

  6. Darya says

    I love your idea of replacing pine nuts with hemps seeds! Do you use whole hemp seeds or hemp hearts? (I can only find the whole seeds where I live). I am sure this must have been delicious. Thanks for the inspiration!


I would love to hear your thoughts!