You’ve likely seen quinoa bowls gaining popularity, but have you ever thought to mix in Peruvian pesto for a unique and flavorful combination? Explore new flavors with this pesto quinoa bowl.
While making this bowl, I share what makes Peruvian pesto different, and the benefits of the combination of herbs, vegetables, grains, and other key ingredients. Plus, you can have this recipe cooked in less than 30 minutes with leftovers for the rest of the week!
It’s both National Fruits and Vegetables Month and National Latino and Hispanic Heritage Month, so this recipe is celebrating both of these festivities! I’m excited to share with you how to make one of my go-to quinoa bowls inspired by flavors from my home and ingredients from my local grocery store!
What is Pesto?
While pesto has evolved into a food that is made in many different cultures, pPesto first originated in Genoa, Italy. The word “pesto” is the past tense of the Genoese verb pestâ which means “to pound” or “to crush.” This is because before the time of blenders or food processors, people would use a mortar and pestle to crush the ingredients together.
What Ingredients are in Pesto?
While there are many different ways to make pesto, the original version includes basil, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, salt and Parmesan cheese. However, many people will sub walnuts for pine nuts, spinach or arugula for basil…the list goes on!
Peruvian Pesto vs. Regular Pesto
So how is Peruvian pesto different than the pesto you may buy in the store? Peruvian pesto adds in red onion, spinach, and milk, and subs queso fresco, and walnuts for the usual Parmesan cheese and pine nuts.
Peruvian food is a fusion of different cultures – French, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, African. What could be better?!
Peruvian Pesto Quinoa Bowl with a Fried Egg
As an RD I always recommend including veggies in your recipes and from all kinds of fruits and vegetables from fresh, frozen, canned, dried, to 100% fruit juices. This pesto quinoa bowl does just that!
For the quinoa
- 1 cup dry quinoa
- 2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables (peas, corn, carrots, green beans)
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 4 fried or poached eggs, for topping
For the Peruvian pesto
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ cup diced red onion
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 5 cups fresh spinach leaves, packed
- 2 cup fresh basil leaves, packed
- ¾ cup 2% milk
- 10-ounces Queso Fresco (about 2 cups)
- ¼ cup walnuts
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- For quinoa: In a small saucepan, place the quinoa, vegetable stock, vegetables, and sea salt. Bring it up to a boil, then simmer. Cook for 15 minutes or until the quinoa is cooked. Set aside and cool.
- For the Pesto: Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté the red onion until translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and sauté 1 minute more, until fragrant.
- Stir in the spinach and basil and sauté until wilted, about 5 minutes.
- Transfer the spinach mixture to a blender or food processor. Add the milk, Queso Fresco, walnuts, salt, and pepper and blend until smooth and creamy.
- Put the quinoa back in the pot and add the sauce, mix well, topped with egg and serve.
Chef Note: If you can’t find Queso Fresco, substitute feta. Both kinds of cheese are salty, so you don’t need to add a lot of salt to this recipe.
Now it your turn to make my Fried Egg Over Peruvian Pesto Quinoa Bowl. For other Peruvian inspired recipes like this pesto quinoa bowl, try whipping these up in your kitchen.