Herbed Quinoa and Roasted Asparagus with a Kale Pesto Sauce

Herbed quinoa and roasted asparagus make a delicious combination in this quick side dish, especially when paired with kale pesto.

Slideshow: Quinoa Recipes
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4

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kale pesto
  • 1 bunch Tuscan kale
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 2 small garlic cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 2 tablespoons water
roasted asparagus
  • 1 bunch slender asparagus spears, trimmed
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
herbed quinoa
  • 1 1/4 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1/2 bunch chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

How to make this recipe

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°.

  2. Make the Kale Pesto

    Remove the ribs and stems from the kale leaves. Rinse and then add the leaves to a pot with 1/4 cup of water over medium heat. Cover and simmer until kale is tender but can still hold its shape, about 4 minutes. Drain excess water from the braised kale leaves, and add to the bowl of a food processor.

  3. Make the Kale Pesto

    Combine the kale, almonds, garlic, red pepper flakes and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until almonds are finely ground. Start by slowly drizzling in the olive oil, and process until smooth. Transfer the pesto to a bowl, and fold in the grated Parmesan cheese. If consistency is too thick, loosen with a tablespoon or two of water. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

  4. Roast the Asparagus

    Lay the asparagus in a single layer on a small rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil over asparagus and turn to coat. Season with salt and pepper and roast until just tender and bright green, about 8 minutes.

  5. Make the Herbed Quinoa

    In a 1 1/2-quart saucepan, add the quinoa with 2 1/2 cups of salted water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until all water is absorbed, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Drain the quinoa in a fine mesh sieve to discard excess cooking liquid. Transfer to a bowl and let cool.

  6. Make the Herbed Quinoa

    To serve, add the chopped parsley and half of the mint to the bowl of quinoa, and toss to distribute throughout. Spoon the quinoa onto a serving dish and arrange the asparagus over top. Whisk in a tablespoon of lemon juice and up to 1/2 cup of pesto to loosen it into sauce. If consistency is still too thick, add a tablespoon of water or olive oil. Spoon the kale pesto over asparagus, garnish with remaining mint leaves, and season with salt to serve.


Remaining pesto can be frozen for later use.

Contributed By Photo © Sarah Bolla Published September 2014

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