Kale Pesto Quinoa and 10 Irish Beers for St. Patrick’s Day

| March 15, 2012 | 0 Comments
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Kale Pesto Quinoa Salad
Kale Pesto Quinoa Salad

Green beer and Shamrock Shakes are just a few of the questionable ways to go green this St. Patty’s Day. Here’s another option that is festively shamrock-hued yet delicious and easy enough to become a perennial staple: Kale Pesto Quinoa. That’s right my lucky leprechauns, I’ve taken two of the trendiest, most wildly popular superfoods right now and combined them into one mega-healthy dish. Is your body thanking you in advance for the motherload of vitamins, nutrients, and complete amino acids you’re about to give it? I thought so.

Go Green
Go Green

A pesto made of basil and kale gives this quinoa salad its vibrant color. Handfuls of barely steamed broccoli florets bump up the green quotient (not to mention Vitamin C and cancer fighting properties).

Lacinato (Dino) Kale
Lacinato (Dino) Kale

I went with the more tender lacinato kale (aka dino kale) rather than the heartier curly kale you often find at the market, figuring it would be easier to blend into a smooth paste. I had my doubts about kale pesto, but it works. You get all the flavor of the basil, nuts, cheese, and EVOO, with the added nutritional boost of raw kale, without the lockjaw from chewing all of those cruciferous greens). The pesto is versatile too. Eat it as a dip, spread it on a sandwich, spoon it over fish or chicken.

Since you’re being so responsible and healthy with this dish, you’ve earned yourself the go-ahead to indulge in other ways. Can I interest you in some Irish beers? (See how great this is working out?)

Stouts, red ales, lagers, even cider…here are 10 Irish brews beyond your traditional Guinness that are worth checking out:

  1. Beamish Irish Stout, Ireland
  2. O’Hara’s Irish Stout, Ireland
  3. Porterhouse Oyster Stout, Ireland
  4. North Coast Old No.38 Stout, California
  5. Smithwick’s Irish Ale, Ireland
  6. Murphy’s Irish Red Beer, Ireland
  7. Samuel Adams Irish Red, Massachusetts
  8. Boulevard Brewing Irish Ale, Missouri
  9. Rogue Irish Lager, Oregon
  10. Magners Irish Cider, Ireland

Admittedly, a hippie dippie quinoa salad isn’t the most likely of food pairings for a pint of Irish beer, but it’ll give you plenty of room for a few rounds of beer dessert. Cheers!

Kale Pesto Quinoa
Kale Pesto Quinoa

Kale Pesto Quinoa
This healthy yet hearty quinoa salad makes a great side or meal in itself. Fresh basil adds a wonderful herbaceous flavor, while kale and broccoli bring a vitamin-packed punch.

Ingredients:
5 ounces kale (about 3 cups)
2 ounces basil (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
1/4 cup grated parmigiano
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup quinoa, cooked
2 cups broccoli florets, steamed
1 cup cherry tomatoes
2 chicken breasts, grilled and diced
Sliced almonds to garnish

Preparation:
Make the pesto: In a food processor, blend together the walnuts until pulverized. Then add the kale, basil, parmigiano, lemon zest and juice, garlic, and salt. Process until combined, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed. With the food processor running, drizzle in the olive oil and whir until evenly combined.

Stir in as much pesto as you’d like into the quinoa. (This recipe makes about twice as much pesto as you need for this dish. Reserve the extra pesto in an airtight container or freeze it. Makes a great spread or dip.)

Mix in the broccoli, tomatoes, and chicken. Garnish with almonds and drizzle of olive oil if you’d like.

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Category: Bay Area Bites Food + Drink, holidays and traditions, recipes

About the Author ()

Stephanie Hua is the creator of Lick My Spoon, a place for all things delicious. So far she has learned that she very much enjoys salted caramel anything, a good soup dumpling is worth a scalded tongue, and there is no room in life for non-fat cheese and crappy chocolate. Also, a barrel of cheese balls never ends well. Stephanie has been known to choose her company based on how much they can pack it down. Ability to endure cramped quarters, sketchy back alleys, and uncharted paths to seek out that special dish is also a plus in her book. If you fit the criteria, drop a note. You’ll probably get along just fine. Stephanie's writing and photography have been featured in Fodor's Travel, Wine Enthusiast Magazine, Serious Eats, and Sundance Channel. Follow her on Facebook and @lickmyspoon.