Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wednesdays With Abby: Warm Cabbage and Quinoa with Walnut Pesto

Well, it's Wednesday again and you know what that means: no roommate to cook for. I need a one-serving meal with minimal dishes and a similar amount of effort.

If my record reveals anything, it's that grain salads are my go-to meal these days. I can't help it, especially with quinoa. It cooks in less than 10 minutes and it's a complete protein! Plus the box calls it an "ancient grain." Doesn't that make my dinner sound epic?

Meanwhile, there's withering lettuce and parsley in my fridge--sad remnants of my CSA and farmer's market glory days, now over. Somewhere in my memory, I remembered a pesto made of these very ingredients. (Google helped a little.) I decided to bulk up the nutritional content of my pesto by bringing walnut oil and walnuts to the party, simultaneously adding depth to the mixture and flood my system with Omega-3s and antioxidants. No small feat for an average Wednesday evening.

So if you don't go for the whole cabbage/quinoa thing, at least make the pesto. It's pretty good tossed with pasta or salads, spread on sandwiches, and whatever else one does with normal pesto.

Warm Cabbage and Quinoa Salad with Walnut Pesto
serves 1; takes about 30 minutes; totally stolen (and bastardized) from various sources

For the pesto:
1 small head (or 1/2 large head) romaine lettuce
1/3 cup chopped parsley
1 clove garlic
3-4 Tbsp walnut oil (olive oil will sub fine)
1/4 cup walnut halves
splash lemon juice
salt and pepper

For the salad:
1 cup finely sliced or chopped cabbage
1 rib celery, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
1 Tbsp thin sliced red onions or scallions
feta, goat, or other cheese
  1. Place lettuce, parsley and garlic in food processor and pulse until broken down. Add oil a little at a time until it reaches a thin consistency (you may not need it all). Now add splash of lemon juice, salt, pepper, and walnuts. Process until smooth and uniform, about 30 seconds. Season to taste and/or add oil to reach desired consistency. Store extra, covered, in the refrigerator.
  2. First, put your quinoa on to cook. Second, film a small skillet with olive oil and set over medium heat. When pan is hot, toss in cabbage and celery, and season with salt and pepper. Toss just 1 minute or so, until cabbage is warm but still crisp. Add vinegar and stir to coat, cooking another 30 seconds.
  3. Drain cooked quinoa and toss in a bowl. Add cabbage, onions, cheese, and 2 good spoonfuls of pesto. Toss and eat.

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