Once Memorial Day hits, I can always count on my mom purchasing a gigantic basil plant that sprouts new leaves at the blink of an eye. My parents take several trips up to the cabin throughout the summer months, and they actually lug the big basil planter back and forth, 4 hours each way. Every time, my dad jokes that he craves pasta by the end of the drive because the car smells like an Italian restaurant.
I’d gladly plant-sit the basil for her, but it might not survive due to my lack of green thumb abilities. I literally know nothing about plants, gardens, lawns, and the like. I’m trying like heck to keep my Mother’s Day gifts (flowers in tiny pots) alive! Also, I just learned how to mow the lawn 2 weeks ago. #noshame #lotsofshame
I’m content with the current setup though. On the occasion when I catch my parents at home on a day when I’m cooking and need basil, I head on over to their place with my kitchen shears and snip away to my hearts content. I could snip a pound of leaves, and the plant would still look full and vibrant.
As you probably have gathered, I had unique plans for this latest basil raid. I love a traditional pine nut, parmesan, and EVOO-filled pesto any day. But this time, I had peas and pistachios on my mind. Both lend a sweet flavor and inviting texture making this version is a bit heartier and hummus-like. The lemon zest and juice add a good amount of zest to bring all the flavors together. If you’d like a more liquefied version, I’d suggest adding more olive oil, additional lemon juice, or even a bit of water to thin out the consistency.
The contents of the bowl are basic in the most scrumptious, healthy, easy weeknight-meal way. I decided to cook up some quinoa and roast my favorite veggies, but I definitely would have grilled them if it wasn’t raining! This is definitely a choose-your-own-adventure kind of recipe. You decide on the veggies and the grain. Here are a few suggestions outside of the ingredients I used:
Veggies: sweet potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, kale, spinach
Grain: brown rice, farro, whole wheat pasta, cauliflower rice, zucchini noodles, couscous
Once the veggies and quinoa are cooked, throw them in a bowl, add a big dollop of pea pesto, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and a sprinkle of chopped pistachios for some added crunch! Mix it all up and relish in the sweet and savory flavor of the pea pesto combined with the tender, caramelized veggies. It’s a wholesome meal bursting with summer farmer’s market freshness that will fill you up without weighing you down!
Looking for another summer quinoa dish? Check out this Asparagus, Strawberry, and Quinoa Caprese Salad!
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- 2 red bell peppers, sliced
- 2 zucchini, sliced into coins
- 2 summer squashes, sliced into coins
- 1 onion, julienned
- 1 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt, divided
- ¼ teaspoon pepper, divided
- 1 cup frozen peas
- ¼ cup shelled pistachios
- ⅓ cup fresh basil
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 tablespoons olive oil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
- Roast the vegetables: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spread the peppers, zucchini, squash, and onion out on a lined baking sheet. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the top and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Roast the veggies in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until tender and slightly charred on the outside.
- Make the Pea Pesto: Combine all the pesto ingredients in a food processor. Blend until the mixture is smooth. Set aside.
- Assemble the bowls: Layer ½ cup quinoa into each bowl. Then, place equal amounts of veggies into each bowl. Top with ¼ cup pea pesto. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the top and garnish each bowl with extra chopped pistachios.
Calories: 326.3 Fat: 13.1g Carb: 46.6g Fiber: 7.9g Protein: 11.4g Sugar 5.8g Sodium: 370.2mg