Pesto Quinoa with Italian Roasted Tomatoes
Are you craving classic Italian flavors, but don’t want a bowl full of pasta? This Pesto Quinoa with Italian Roasted Tomatoes is exactly what you need to make.
This easy, vegetarian pesto bowl is made up of two main parts: quinoa and roasted tomatoes. Baked tomatoes with mozzarella give this vegetarian bowl an Italian flare.
My husband, JJ, and I love cooking this meal together because we each have our own task and don’t step on each other’s toes in the kitchen. His job is to make the quinoa and mine is to roast the tomatoes to perfection. When this pesto grain bowl is complete it’s a match made in flavor heaven.
Benefits of Quinoa
Instead of making this Italian flavored meal with pasta, I love using quinoa.
Quinoa is a grain with superfood status. It contains all eight essential amino acids, making it a complete source of protein. It also provides a great range of minerals, B vitamins, and omega 6 fatty acids.
Quinoa cooks in a similar way to rice and has a mild nutty flavor. Quinoa is my go-to grain because it’s healthy and you can add so much flavor to it.
Let’s Make This Pesto Quinoa with Italian Roasted Tomatoes!
Like I mentioned earlier, when cooking this vegetarian quinoa bowl, my husband and I each take on one part of the recipe. But, don’t worry, this is a simple recipe and can easily be made by one person.
JJ likes to cook quinoa in an Instant Pot, but I prefer cooking it in a saucepan on the stove. It’s a personal preference and you can cook it either way.
First, start the quinoa because it usually takes slightly longer to cook than the tomatoes. I like using vegetable broth to cook quinoa with because I think it adds more flavor than cooking it with water.
When the quinoa has finished cooking, mix in spinach, mozzarella cheese, and pesto. Pesto is the perfect sauce for quinoa bowls. To make this a vegan quinoa bowl, simply omit the cheese or use vegan cheese. It’s simple to make this an Italian vegan recipe.
Next, slice cherry tomatoes (or grape tomatoes) in half and throw them into a baking dish with olive oil and spices. I like to broil the cherry tomatoes to soften and blister the skins. The oven roasted grape tomatoes are the star of this recipe.
After broiling the tomatoes for about 10 minutes, take them out and add the butter/breadcrumb mixture on top. Pop them back in the broiler for round two for a few minutes to brown the breadcrumbs and form a crunchy crust.
Assembly: Add the pesto quinoa mixture to a bowl and top it with the roasted Italian tomatoes. To add a bit more crunch to this dish, you can add toasted pine nuts as well. And, of course, I’m a cheese lover, so I add lots of grated parmesan cheese on top. Voila!
More Recipes to Try:
- Spicy Vegan Taco Bowl with Cashew Cheese Sauce
- Roasted Veggie Loaded Baked Potato
- Pumpkin Ravioli with Sage and Walnut Parmesan
- Buffalo Chicken Bowl
Pesto Quinoa with Italian Roasted Tomatoes
- Baking Dish
- 1 1/2 cups quinoa, uncooked
- 3 cups vegetable broth (or water)
- 5 cups spinach
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 7 oz. jar pesto
Ingredients for the Roasted Tomatoes
- 2 pints cherry tomatoes
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons basil
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- In a medium saucepan, bring quinoa and broth to a boil. Cover saucepan with a lid and cook on low heat for 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat, leave the lid on, and let stand covered for 3 minutes or until broth is absorbed.
- Add in spinach and stir for 1-2 minutes to allow spinach to wilt.
- Add in mozzarella cheese and pesto. Mix.
Directions for the Roasted Tomatoes
- Preheat broiler.
- Cut cherry tomatoes in half and add them to a medium-large baking dish.
- Add olive oil, garlic, and spices to the cherry tomatoes. Stir to mix.
- Broil tomatoes for 10 minutes.
- Mix melted butter and breadcrumbs together in a bowl.
- Take tomatoes out of the oven and add the butter/breadcrumb mixture to coat the top of the tomatoes.
- Broil again for 3 minutes until the breadcrumbs are turn light brown and crunchy.
- (optional) Top finished bowl with grated parmesan and/or toasted pine nuts.