Book Reviews · Cookbooks · cooking · Dinner

Beet Quinoa with Pea Pesto

I recently received a copy of Raw Food Detox: Over 100 Recipes for Better Health, Weight Loss, and Increased Vitality. It isn’t a typical raw foods book, it does have some cooked food and uses eggs and goat and sheep milk products. That doesn’t detract from the book though, even if the reviews on Amazon are nasty about that.

If anything the book encourages a shift in eating. Eat lots of fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and so forth. Avoid heavy foods such as processed carbs. Cook only when necessary to achieve the results you want. Nothing wrong with that! And if anything, while I like eating more raw foods I have no desire to go “all raw”. I like the best of everything in food!

The book is beautiful, lush photography and the recipes are innovative. I picked one of the more complicated recipes, Beet Quinoa with Pea Pesto, found on page 52. It was worth the extra work, An earthy, wonderful combination of flavors. The pea pesto alone would be worthy to have in the refrigerator, it makes such a large batch you will have two meals worth. And will enjoy every bit of it.

As for the quinoa? Delicious. I adapted the recipe a bit, cooking the quinoa the way I prefer but otherwise followed it. The recipe does call for it to be served on a bed of Arugula greens, I skipped it. I didn’t want to weird out the guys too much…hah! And yes, the amount of produce for will seem expensive but consider this: when you eat less meat you can spend that money on produce instead. I don’t feel guilty spending $5 to 10 on produce for a dinner anymore.

Beet Quinoa with Pea Pesto


Pesto –

  • 3½ ounces raw almonds (a shy ¾ cup)
  • 1 cup frozen green peas, thawed (unsalted)
  • 1 large lemon, juiced
  • ½ tsp garlic, minced (1 clove)
  • 1 cup sunflower oil
  • Black pepper and salt to taste

Quinoa Salad –

  • 3 cups water
  • 1½ cups quinoa
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 large lemon, juiced
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 5 to 6 ounces snow pea pods, fresh
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed, unsalted
  • 1 bunch beets, about 3


Pea Pesto –

Mix the almonds, peas, lemon juice and garlic in a food processor bowl. Pulse until chopped. Turn on to low and add the oil in a steady stream until mixed and smooth, scraping the sides as needed. Season to taste with fine sea salt and ground black pepper. If making in advance store tightly covered in the refrigerator.

Quinoa –

Trim the beets of their tops and scrub, add to a large saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Cook on medium, simmering, until fork tender, about 30 to 50 minutes, depending on size. Drain and rinse in cool water, set aside to cool down. Rub the skins off, trim the stems and finely chop up. This can be done in advance and the beets refrigerated. If taking that option, let come to room temperature while you prepare the quinoa.

Rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer. Add to a medium saucepan with the water and salt. Bring to a boil, turn to medium-low and cook covered for 20 minutes. Meanwhile trim the pea pods and thinly slice lengthwise into strips. Add the beets, peas, and most of the pea pods to a large mixing bowl. Fluff up the quinoa with a fork, add to the bowl and toss gently. Whisk the lemon juice, oil and pepper together, drizzle over and toss well to coat.

To plate –

Arrange a serving of quinoa on the plate, spoon on pesto across the top, add a few reserved pea pod shoots and if desired, a few shavings of a simple cheese to garnish. Enjoy!

Serves 6.


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