Pesto quinoa and white bean bake with spring veg is a light (but still hearty) main course that’s naturally vegan and gluten-free.
I will be real with you: this is a casserole! It’s cute to call savoury things like this a “bake,” but it is recognizably, undoubtedly a casserole. The spring weather in my area has been a bit of a joke (there were whiteout conditions last weekend!), so the coziness of a warm casserole feels just right. This pesto quinoa one is hearty, but still light and spring-y with the asparagus and herbs. A good dish for a sloooow transition to Spring ;)
You could make the quinoa and white bean base and top this with whatever roasted vegetables you’re enjoying in the moment. I think this would be particularly good with some slow-roasted tomatoes and eggplant on top at the height of summer. The beauty of this dish is that it’s pretty minimal on the ingredients front, and once you have the quinoa cooked, you’re 20 minutes away from dinner time. While the bake… bakes (haha), you can fix up a little salad or something to serve along with. I put a very hearty pinch of ground chili in ours because we cannot get enough of the spice, but honestly the pesto and shallots provide a lot of savoury and comforting flavour here.
While we wait for warmer days, may the coziness of this pesto quinoa bake keep you satisfied. I hope that everyone is staying well out there. We are grateful to be healthy and safe at home as this global event goes on. Sending you love and light this week. Thanks for being here :)
Pesto Quinoa and White Bean Bake with Spring Vegetables
- 1 tablespoon olive oil plus extra, divided
- 1 medium shallot, small dice
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 ¾ cups cooked white beans, drained & rinsed
- 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
- ½ cup vegan pesto
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- pinch of chili flakes (optional)
- ¾ lb asparagus, tough ends trimmed
- 3-4 radishes
- chopped fresh dill, parsley, or chives (or a combination), for serving
- vegan “parmesan” sprinkle (optional)
- This serves 4 as a main and 6 as a side
- You can make your own pesto or buy it for total convenience! No judgement from me. Classic basil pesto would be great, but my kale pesto would also be delicious here. For my fellow Ontarians, I buy the Sunflower Kitchen pestos often. They’re great (and nut-free)!
- I prefer a more rich plant-based milk in this recipe. Unsweetened cashew or soy would be my picks.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease an 8×8 (or an 11×7) baking dish with olive oil and set aside. Set an additional small baking sheet nearby.
- In a large saucepan, heat 1 ½ teaspoons of the olive oil. Add the diced shallot and saute until beginning to turn translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add the quinoa to the saucepan and stir to coat in the oil. Add the vegetable stock and stir. Bring the quinoa to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat to a simmer. Simmer until almost all of the liquid is absorbed, about 13-15 minutes.
- Take the quinoa off the heat and stir in the white beans, non-dairy milk, pesto, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste, and the chili flakes (if using). Once combined, transfer the quinoa mixture to the prepared baking dish. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until slightly browned on the edges and slightly firm.
- While the pesto quinoa is baking, cut the asparagus into 2-inch lengths. Place the chopped asparagus on the separate small baking sheet. Toss the asparagus with the remaining olive oil, salt, and pepper. Bake the asparagus alongside the pesto quinoa bake for about 15 minutes, or until just-tender.
- While asparagus is baking, thinly slice the radishes and chop some herbs for garnish.
- Serve the pesto quinoa and white beans bake with the roasted asparagus on top, sliced radishes, and chopped herbs. Enjoy immediately!