Thursday, November 4, 2010

Mediterranean Garbanzo Beans with Pesto Quinoa

I have no idea how I came up with this dish, but I'm SO glad I did!  Loaded with veggies and protein, there is a perfect balance between salty and sweet, chewy and crisp, and comfort and health! (Not to mention, it's gorgeous to look at!)  The first part of this recipe stands alone as a great lunch, but when put together with the Pesto Quinoa, it becomes a meal worthy to be served at any dinner party (especially when it's served with the Pesto Garlic Bread!)  It's even been known to satisfy non-vegetarian consumers...yup, it's that good!

The Garbanzo Bean Dish:

1 can organic garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1T. lemon juice
3 T. balsamic vinegar
1 c. water
2 T. dried basil
2 T. dried oregano
1 T. italian seasonings
1 T. olive oil

-combine all of the above ingredients in a saute pan and simmer on medium while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.


1/2 can of artichoke hearts (I usually buy the whole ones and quarter can just buy the quartered ones though!)
1/2 of a large zucchini, or 1 whole small zucchini
1 1/2 c. broccoli pieces, small ones
1/4 c. kalamata olives
1/2 c. dried goji berries (or dried cranberries...just make sure you get ones that have no sugar'll probably have to go to a health food store to find them.  I like the goji berries because they're really high in antioxidants)

-note: all of these above ingredients are on a "to taste" basis, the above measurements are just to give you some idea of how if you really like olives, add more, if you love broccoli, by all means, add more...if you're not too crazy about artichoke hearts, just skip them...very flexible with these ingredients!

-add all of these ingredients to the garbanzo bean dish, toss to coat with the liquid, and cover.  This will speed up the cooking process by steaming the veggies.  Once the veggies are to your liking in texture (try 10-15 minutes), add the following ingredients.

-in a small saute pan, put 1/4-1/2 c. of pinenuts (depending on how much you like them!)...lightly toast them over medium heat...shaking/stirring very frequently so as not to burn.  There is a very short amount of time between perfect and burnt, so watch them closely!  Once they start to brown on all sides, you'll know they're done...maybe 5 minutes.


1/2 c. grape tomatoes (the really small ones...same size as grapes, hence the name!)  quarter them.
3 c. fresh spinach or 1 c. frozen (fresh is better, because it doesn't get so clumpy!)

-I add these right at the end, and basically just toss them through the dish to warm them.  If you'd like them cooked a little more, go right ahead!

-this concludes this portion of the can go ahead and quit right here and just eat as wouldn't even know what you're missing!  HOWEVER if you want to try your hand at something really delicious, that people have probably never heard of...continue!

The Pest Portion:

In a little food processor combine:

1/2 c. fresh basil (I sometimes cheat and use 1 tube of the already chopped basil)
1/2 c. toasted pinenuts (see above for toasting directions)
1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
1 t. freshly smashed garlic (I actually cheat on this one too and use the tube garlic)
1 t. lemon juice
1/4 t. salt

-process until smooth...DONE!  This makes more than what you'll need for the dish, but here's a little will keep for about 1 week in the fridge, OR you can freeze it in ice cube trays and save it for later!  Throw it in pastas, spread it on garlic toast, use it as a dip for veggies or bread, use it on pizza instead of sauce...SO many different uses!

The Quinoa:

-Let's talk about Quinoa for a second, because most people have never heard of this ancient grain.  Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is an amazing grain, that is considered a perfect food.  It is extremely high in protein, as well as complex carbohydrates (gasp! not carbs!!) making it well-rounded, and a perfect substitute or addition to so many dishes that contain rice!

Bring 2 c. of water to a boil, add
1 c. quinoa

-bring back up to a boil, and then reduce heat to low/med, simmering quinoa for 12-15 minutes until liquid is absorbed, and quinoa has a nice, chewy consistency.

-like rice, quinoa can get mushy, so don't stir it during the cooking process.


2 T. (heaping) of the prepared pesto
1/2 t. freshly smashed garlic
1/8 t. salt
1/2 t. lemon juice
1/8-1/4 t. crushed red pepper (optional)

-mix until incorporated.  Try not to over-stir (just like rice).

-you can use this as a side dish, or mix it right in with the garbanzo dish that you just prepared...either way, you're going to be SO glad that this makes so much!  If I had to guess, I'd say you get 6 c. when you mix it all together!

-Serve with a nice salad and some Pesto Garlic Bread!  (Use the garlic bread recipe from my earlier blog, and slap on some of your fresh pesto!  Bake according to the instructions mentioned in the recipe).


  1. This sounds fantastic! Always looking for ways to enjoy my favorite, quinoa:)

  2. Hope you like it!! It's even amazing the next day! Isn't quinoa phenomenal??

  3. Made this for lunch today. Yum! This will be a regular in our house! Thanks for sharing Courtney!

  4. Yay! I'm so glad you liked it! It's definitely a staple in our home as well!