Couple of years back, I started growing Italian basil. There is a local variety that's good for flavour but I somehow always missed the lighter hued, crisper Italian basil that holds much better in recipes. It grew rather well. Every once in a month I could gather enough basil for a jarful of pesto and I treasured it more than saffron. I added it to pretty much everything for a day or two. Pesto paratha? Yes. Pesto curry? Yes, been there. But of all things, we savoured a sprouted wheat berry salad with coriander basil pesto and cherry tomatoes and it became a regular at dinners. And then, I stopped making it.
Well that and I got pregnant, I travelled, then I travelled more and my basil plant died. Amongst the new responsibilities of being a mother, getting meals ready for my family and just trying hard to be good at everything, I forgot all about my balcony herbs.
Quinoa, Avocado, Peas and Pistachio Salad (Paleo, Vegan, Gluten-Free)
A great addition to this salad would be asparagus (picked that up from a salad I had at GIA). With some grilled chicken (garlic flavoured works best) this is a complete meal.
1 cup quinoa, cooked as per instructions
1 avocado, cubed
1/4 cup pistachio, slivered
1/2 cup fresh peas, or thawed frozen peas
1 tbsp of lime or lemon juice
few sprigs of fresh mint
handful of fresh basil
For coriander basil pesto
1/4 cup coriander leaves
1/4 cup basil
2 tbsp pistachios
1 tsp lime/lemon juice
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 of an avocado for vegan version or 2 tbsp creamy goat cheese
1/2 green chilli, or to taste (optional)
Salt and pepper
Blend the ingredients for pesto in a processor and keep aside.
Boil the quinoa and let it cool.
Mix the peas, avocado, quinoa, lime juice and pesto.
Sprinkle with pistachios, fresh mint and basil.
Serve at room temperature.