Kale – Cilantro Pesto with Toasted Quinoa and Black Beans

Kale - Cilantro Pesto

It’s that wonderfully crazy time of year again when I vow not to over spend, not to over commit, and not to over eat. It’s an extra ordinary challenge with the on going shopping lists, seasonal sights and sounds to attend, and beautifully decorated confections all over the place. My goal is to stay healthy, reign in the holiday busy – ness, enjoy those I love and seek God with an attitude of worship and reverence which is what my soul craves.

In keeping with my goal to eat healthy here is something I put together for a busy December weekend. I made a pot of toasted quinoa then folded in a half a can of drained and rinsed organic black beans. This pesto came together quickly, and pairs so well with quinoa plus it gives us a good dose of greens, with plenty leftover. I added a diced avocado for a fully satisfying meal in a bowl for lunch… it was so yummy!!

Kale – Cilantro Pesto (yields approx.1 cup)

1 cup packed cleaned and torn kale leaves, stems removed

1/4 cup packed cleaned and torn cilantro leaves

3 whole garlic cloves

1 Tablespoom lime juice

1/2 cup toasted chopped walnuts

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Place all leaves, garlic and lime juice in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until ingredients are finely chopped and blended.

Add toasted walnuts and sea salt. Pulse again.

With processor going, add olive oil in a steady stream to emulsify oil into other ingredients until smooth.

Toasted Quinoa

1 cup rinsed quinoa

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 1/2 cups of boiling vegetable or chicken broth

1/2 -15 oz can organic black beans drained and rinsed

Heat oil in a medium size saucepan. Add rinsed quinoa and stir, toasting on a medium high flame until it smells nutty and fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Turn heat to low, add boiling broth and 1/4 teaspoon sea salt. Cover and cook 15 minutes. While it’s cooking resist the urge to stir it. Quinoa, as well as other whole grains, have a better texture, are lighter and fluffier when left alone while cooking. Take off the stove, place black beans on top of the quinoa and put the cover back on, letting the black beans warm up, let sit untouched for 10 minutes. Lightly fold the black beans into the quinoa, mixing evenly.

To serve: plate the quinoa/black bean dish, add a dollop of pesto, topping it with a diced avocado and a diced tomato if you have one on hand. You can easily make the quinoa with black beans ahead. All of the above keep well in the refrigerator for up to a week.

now on to deeper cravings….


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0 Comments on “Kale – Cilantro Pesto with Toasted Quinoa and Black Beans”

  1. Hi Amy-
    I just wanted to let you know I made the quinoa part of this recipe
    and it was terrific. I have been wanting to use quinoa more & this
    was the best cooking method I have used. I loved the black beans
    & we had some tomatoes & guacamole on hand so that replaced
    he avocado. Next time I have kale in the house I will try the pesto.

    Just wanted to thank you for sharing your wonderful recipes, they are
    inspiring me!


    1. Thank you Christine! About cooking quinoa – I use less liquid than most recipes call for. I’m particular about the consistency of whole grain dishes and too much liquid produces a “mushy” dish. So glad you liked it and thanks for your encouraging comment!

  2. This is was GREAT! We made it last night when we had company over. It’s fun to learn how to make alternative pestos, and the quinoa is much yummier toasted and cooked in broth.

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