Friday, June 6, 2014

Tomato-Basil Quinoa with Spinach and White Beans

Does anyone else agree that tomatoes and basil were just meant for each other? Combine them and the taste just screams summer.

Over the winter I don't keep fresh basil around unless I need a lot for a recipe. Instead I use the basil paste that comes in a tube -

Have you tried it? I love it! Each tube has the equivalent of 3 bunches of basil and is guaranteed fresh for 3 months when kept in the fridge.

This tube of basil and a container of grape tomatoes in addition to my desire to eat a healthy lunch were my inspiration for this dish. I always turn to quinoa when I want something both healthy and filling.

To really infuse the flavor of the basil through the dish, I cooked my quinoa in a tomato-basil broth.

 Tomato-Basil Quinoa with Spinach and White Beans

  • 1 c dry quinoa, rinsed
  • 3 c vegetable broth (note, this is more than you usually need to cook 1 c of quinoa, but we are also cooking the tomatoes and beans in the broth)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 c cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 oz canned white beans, rinsed
  • 1 Tbsp basil paste from the tube (or several leaves, chopped)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 oz fresh baby spinach
  • Optional: 2 Tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Timing is important on this - you want to start your quinoa and step 2 simultaneously. Once step 2 is done it will be time to add your quinoa to the tomato mixture.
  • Combine quinoa and broth in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer.
  • At the same time, heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add garlic and onions; sauté 1 minute. Add tomatoes, white beans and basil; sauté 3-4 minutes.
  • Pour the pot of quinoa and broth into the tomato mixture. Season with salt and pepper and let simmer until the quinoa has cooked through, about 10-12 minutes. You may need to add a bit more broth to finish cooking the quinoa if the broth is absorbing too quickly.
  • Once the quinoa has finished cooking, add the spinach and stir to wilt.
  • Optional: stir in some freshly grated Parmesan cheese, or cheese of your choice.

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