One thing I have been making a lot of lately is pesto. I got the idea to make a “pesto” inspired by the flavours of one of my favorite soups – carrot and coriander. I roasted the carrots to give them more flavour – the end result was great. I then moved back towards more traditional pesto’s – basil or herb-based with simple authentic flavours like good quality olive oil, freshly squeezed olive oil and a little Parmesan and garlic, along with some nuts or seeds for texture.
You can’t really go past a traditional pesto in terms of delicious, simple, and fresh flavours, but it’s always a good idea to experiment with food – you never know when you’ll come across something amazing, plus its important to eat a wide variety of fresh whole foods to ensure you’re getting maximum nutritional benefits.
This salad I’m sharing today was one I ate during my cleanse the other week. It is quite light yet still filling from the quinoa, and also contains a hefty dose of veggies in the form of lightly fried zucchini and fresh basil, plus the broccoli in the pesto.
The pesto I’ve used here is a slight adaptation of one I’ve been eyeing off since I received this cookbook last Christmas. It uses a whole head of broccoli, a cruciferous veggie which actually encourages the detoxification of the liver – thus making it the perfect inclusion of your diet during a cleanse, or at any time really!
This salad keeps well if being made ahead, though it is best if served when the zucchini is still slightly warm. I have made it again since finishing my cleanse and served it with some flaked smoked salmon and goats cheese stirred though which added some great extra flavours and made for a more filling meal. Some chopped nuts such as walnuts would be a lovely addition too.
- Broccoli pesto (adapted from Green Kitchen Stories)
- 1 large broccoli (around 2 cups)
- ¼ cup fresh basil or sage
- ½ lemon, juiced
- ½ cup roasted hazelnuts, pistachios or cashews
- 1 large clove garlic
- ½ cup olive oil
- salt & pepper to taste
- Green pesto quinoa salad
- 1 cup broccoli pesto (recipe above)
- 3 cups cooked quinoa
- 1 medium sized zucchini, thinly sliced
- 2 Tbsp coconut or olive oil
- 1 generous handful spinach, torn
- Torn basil leaves to serve
- To make the pesto, combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend around 10 - 20 seconds - the time will depend on how powerful your machine is, and also how smooth you prefer your pesto to be
- To make the salad, heat the oil in a large frypan over high heat. Add the zucchini rounds and fry a minute or two until starting to brown, then flip and repeat on the other side (note the second side will brown quicker than the first).
- Combine the pesto and quinoa in a large bowl until well mixed, then stir through the spinach and zucchini. Top with torn fresh basil leaves