Vegan Pesto Quinoa “Couscous” Ingredient-Challenge Monday (Gluten Free, Diary Free, Soy Free)

 Couscous is one of those side dishes that goes beautifully with most any meal.  It absorbs whatever flavor you chose to pair it with and the tiny granules present beautifully as a side dish or part of a salad. 

Unfortunately, traditional couscous is made from wheat.  Wheat is a key producer of gluten.  I cannot eat gluten…but I love couscous! 

See my conundrum? 

Funny thing is, when I was introduced to quinoa (pronounced “keen-wa”), long before I knew that I suffered from Celiac, my first thought was “what a great substitution for couscous!” 

When given the opportunity to use this wonderful little grain as part of our Ingredient-Challenge Monday, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it. 

I have shared my love for quinoa previously, showing it as a great substitute for traditional stuffing; though I mentioned how much I love this healthy grain, I failed to mention the details as to why.

Beyond being naturally gluten free, quinoa is easy to prepare.  Much like medium grain rice, it takes 1 ½ c water or liquid (I prefer broth when making quinoa for dinner) to every 1 c quinoa to make.  Quinoa should be simmered, undisturbed in a covered pot for approximately 15 min.  Once the liquid has been absorbed, simply fluff the quinoa and serve! 

Unlike many grains, quinoa’s high quality protein is considered a complete protein.  In fact, says that “quinoa contains more protein than any other grain; an average of 16.2 percent, compared with 7.5 percent for rice, 9.9 percent for millet, and 14 percent for wheat.  Some varieties of quinoa are more than 30 percent protein.”  Amazing! 

I have used quinoa in soups and salads, as a substitute for rice and couscous, also as a great replacement for oatmeal at breakfast.  This diverse little grain absorbs the flavors you pair it with and is something you can feel happy to serve your family, no matter your dietary restriction!

Without further adieu, here is my contribution to this week’s Ingredient-Challenge Monday.


Vegan Pesto Quinoa “Couscous” (Gluten Free, Diary Free, Soy Free)

1 c Quinoa

1 ½ c Vegetable Broth

¼ c Vegan Basil Pesto with Kale

In large stock pot or small Dutch oven, mix quinoa and broth.  Bring quinoa to light simmer over medium heat, cover and continue to cook for approximately 15 minutes or until liquid has been fully absorbed into the grain.  Leave covered and allow to cool for approximately 5 minutes.  Using fork, slowly incorporate pesto while fluffing grain.  Enjoy!

Makes 6-8 servings

I hope you enjoy my version of Vegan Pesto Quinoa “Couscous,” please be sure to visit the remaining Ingredient-Monday contenders:

Dixie Chik Cooks

From the Little Yellow Kitchen

Marci Gilbert

And Nutitionella

May you enjoy a happy and healthy week ahead!

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