We were having friends over for dinner the other day and I wanted to make quinoa as a side dish. My husband finds quinoa a little bland, so I wanted to include some mega flavor to it by doing a quinoa pesto. Basil in the garden, pine nuts in the freezer, parmesan in the fridge, garlic and oil on standby – I had it all baby! But then, my roast and trying to clean up ’round this place absorbed a lot of time. At the last second I decided on a “deconstructed pesto” meaning, throw everything into the pesto and go.

After sautéing the quinoa in bacon oil (yes, that was from making bacon earlier), and boiling the quinoa in beef broth (not vegetarians here), I threw in the pesto ingredients whole instead of blending them together in a food processor (and I used garlic powder… oh yes I did). Not rocket science, I know. But the result was an incredibly tasty and nutritious side that made a great lunch “leftover meal” too.

Quinoa with basil and pine nuts

Prep Time: 12 minutes

Cook Time: 18 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Serving Size: 4 - 6


  • 2 tablespoons oil or bacon fat
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 3 tablespoons fresh basil, cut into small strips
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup shredded or grated parmsean
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped cherry tomatoes for garnish, optional


  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add oil or fat. Once the oil/fat glistens add quinoa and sauté until you can smell a slight nuttiness, about 2 minutes. Add beef broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and reduce to a simmer, low heat, and let cook for about 18 minutes (feel free to check the quinoa toward the end of cooking to check on doneness). Remove from heat.
  2. Add basil, pine nuts, parmsean, garlic powder and salt and pepper (to taste). Stir until the cheese has melted. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with cherry tomatoes, if desired.