This is such a delicious dish with all of its varied textures from the grain, sauce, crunchy basil and almonds!
This is a perfect fall side dish. I like to serve everything separate so everyone can add as much or little of the sauce, basil and almonds. You can also leave the basil leaves whole or crumble them up on top.
2 – 3 Servings
- Crispy Basil – at least 20 large fresh leaves – 7 – 10 leaves per serving or more
- Toasted Almonds – recipe below
- Roasted Red Bell Pepper Basil Sauce – recipe below
- Heirloom Tomato Black Quinoa – recipe below
Roasted Red Bell Pepper Sauce
- 2 Large Red Bell Peppers – roasted
- 1 Tomato – blanched
- 1/4 White Onion – diced
- 1 Small Shallot (about 1 Tablespoon) – minced
- 2 Cloves Garlic
- 3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2Tablespoons Dry White, Rose or Red Wine (depends on how rich you like your sauce)
- 1/4 Cup Fresh Basil – packed
- 1 Tablespoon Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
- Pinch of Cayenne Pepper (optional)
- 1/4 Teaspoon Paprika
- 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt or to taste
Heirloom Tomato Quinoa
- 1 Cup Black Quinoa (substitute any quinoa)
- Filtered Water & 1 Heirloom Tomato equaling 2 cups
- 1 Unsalted Bullion Cube
- 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 – 2 Cloves Garlic
- 1/2 Teaspoon Paprika
- 1/4 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper (Optional)
- 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt
Wash basil, but make sure to dry them completely or they won’t get crispy.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees
Pick basil off the stems and only use the same size leaves or check on them early and take out small leaves and return the others to the oven.
On a baking sheet, spread out basil leaves in a single layer and sprinkle with little olive oil and lightly salt. Gently toss leaves with your hands to cover them in oil.
Put in the oven and bake for 6 – 9 minutes or until leaves turn dark green and become crispy. Make sure to keep checking on them so they don’t burn. Remove from the oven, let cool and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Toast almonds by spreading out on a cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes on the middle shelf.
While almonds are toasting and sauce is simmering, start the quinoa.
Assemble on individual plates or bring everything to the table separately.
*Top with almonds just before eating otherwise they will become soft.
Roast the peppers on the stovetop on medium high heat. A gas stove works the best but it will work fine on an electric stove. Char the peppers on all sides turning with a pair of tongs. When good and charred, steam them for 10 minutes in a covered dish or a paper bag rolled shut to hold in the steam.
Take a paper towel and rub off the char. It’s ok to leave a little of the char. Slice in half and remove the seeds and stems.
Core the tomatoes and put in a large pot, cover with water and bring to a boil.
When the skin begins to crack take them out with tongs. ( approx. 1 – 2 minutes)
Let cool and remove the skins.
Add the onion and shallot to a sauté pan with the 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium-low heat.
Sauté until onions are soft (about 5 minutes) and add the garlic. When the garlic just begins to turn golden (about 4 more minutes) then add the wine and cook until it is reduced and syrupy. (about 2 minutes)
Put the peppers, tomato, basil and onion mix in a food processor or blender and puree.
Pour back into the pan and add the lemon juice, salt, cayenne, and paprika.
Cook between low and medium-low for 10 – 15 minutes to combine the flavors and you are done!
Heirloom Tomato Quinoa
Measure out 1 cup diced the tomatoes into a 2 cup measuring cup then fill with water to the 2 cup line and add to a small sauce pan.
Measure the quinoa and add to tomato water. Mash the bullion cube up the best you can in a little water and add it to quinoa along with all the other ingredients.
Bring to a boil uncovered then turn down to medium-low, cover for 15 minutes.
Turn off heat and let sit for 5 minutes.
Top quinoa onto individual plates and then top with the sauce, basil and almonds.
Serve with a salad and bread.
Quinoa is a super food that is extremely nutrient rich and it is a complete protein source and high in fiber, which helps digestion heart health. It contains more antioxidants, vitamins and nutrients than any other grain. Unlike most grains, quinoa has a significant amount of gamma-tocopherol of the vitamin E family, which helps some inflammatory issues. It is a good source of magnesium (helps metabolism, cardiovascular, and blood vessel function, which is helpful for migraine headaches). Quinoa contains the antioxidant flavonoids quercetin and kaempferol even more than in cranberries. It is helpful in regulation of blood sugar and also reduces your chances of developing type 2 diabetes.
Red bell peppers help fight off free radical cells and help prevent inflammation in the body as well as eye disease. It’s great for keeping the skin healthy and youthful. Red bell peppers are extremely high in the antioxidant vitamins C, A, and beta-carotene. They are also a good source of lycopene and high in fiber. Red bell peppers contain 1.5 times more vitamin C, 8 times more vitamin A and 11 times more beta carotene than green bell peppers.