Tomato Quinoa topped with Roasted Red Bell Pepper Basil Sauce, Roasted Basil and Toasted Almonds

This is such a delicious dish with all of it’s varied textures from the grain, sauce, crunchy basil and almonds!

Heirloom-Tomato-Black-Quinoa-topped-with-Roasted-Red-Bell-Pepper-Basil-Sauce

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.

Heirloom-Tomato-Black-Quinoa-topped-with-Red-Bell-Pepper-Basil-Sauce

Try this with a nice crisp glass of white Rioja, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Petite Sirah or Merlot.

Heirloom-Tomato-Black-Quinoa-topped-with-Roasted-Red-Bell-Pepper-Basil-Sauce-and-Toasted-Basil-and-Almonds

Recipe: 2 – 3 Servings

Instructions:

Wash the basil, but dry them completely or they won’t get crispy.

 Preheat the oven to 325°F.

Pick the basil off the stems and only use the same size leaves or check on them early and take out the small leaves and return the others to the oven.

On a baking sheet spread out the basil leaves in a single layer and sprinkle with little olive oil and lightly salt.  Gently toss the 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

 Roast the peppers and start the sauce.

While the peppers are steaming pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Toast almonds by spreading out on a cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes on the middle shelf.

Puree the peppers and the onion mix in a food processor or blender until smooth

Pour the sauce back into the pan and simmer

While the almonds are toasting and the 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 get soft

Serve with a salad and bread : )

Heirloom-Tomato-Black-Quinoa-with-Roasted-Red-Bell-Pepper-Basil-Sauce

Health benefits:

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 heath.   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.

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