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:
- Olive oil
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