Summer Vegetable Quinoa Salad with Garlic Pesto

Today is my last day of free time before volleyball starts up tomorrow with team meetings. This is the last day I get to sleep in till whenever I want and sit on my butt in front of the computer. I’m pretty excited to work with the team again this year. It was a lot of fun last year, and it’ll give me something to do with my days. However, it does mean a little less time to cook and try new recipes. But before I sell my soul to volleyball, here’s one more great summer recipe for you!

I decided to use summer vegetables, eggplant and green beans, toss them with some navy beans and quinoa to make a salad, and flavor it with a bright, garlicky pesto, using fresh basil from my basil plant! I love pesto, and the garlic just adds a nice little kick to it. Next time I might try roasting the garlic first, to give it a more mellow flavor, but I like the fresh garlic just fine, although it may be a bit strong for some. You could also switch out the eggplant and green beans for other summer vegetables, like summer squash or zucchini, tomatoes, or whatever else strikes your fancy. This dish is so simple and easy to pull together, and it’s one of those recipes that makes me fall in love with my food processor all over again. It just makes everything so easy and fast! This is also a vegan recipe, since I use nutritional yeast in the pesto for a cheesy flavor rather than cheese. You could also just throw in some Parmesan or other strong flavored cheese, but I didn’t have any in the fridge, so I went with the nutritional yeast. In any case, here’s the recipe! Hope everyone is enjoying their summer while it lasts!

Summer Vegetable Quinoa Salad with Garlic Pesto

Ingredients

Quinoa Salad

1 cup uncooked quinoa

2 1/4 cups water

Salt, pepper, and seasonings, to taste

1 tsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic

1 lb green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces

1 eggplant, diced

1 15oz can navy beans, or beans of your choice, drained

Pesto

1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves

1/4 cup walnuts

1/3 cup olive oil

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

2-3 cloves fresh garlic

Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

In a pot, bring the quinoa, water, and seasonings to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until all the liquid is absorbed. Fluff and set aside to cool.

In the meantime, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a skillet that has a cover. Add the garlic and saute until golden, then add the green beans and eggplant. Saute for a few minutes, until tender, then add a few tablespoons of water, cover, and allow to steam cook for a few minutes. If you prefer your green beans crispy, omit this step, but I like mine a little soft. When the vegetables are cooked to your liking, remove from heat. Stir in the quinoa and beans until combined.

For the pesto, combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Drizzle over quinoa salad. Serve warm or cold, either is delicious. Enjoy!

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