Lemony Pesto Beets With Quinoa Pilaf

Serves 4.

Note: A savory, nutty pilaf is studded with plump, creamy beans, and topped with a tangy-sweet beet salad. It’s completely plant-based, and you have the option of sprinkling walnuts or crumbled feta cheese atop at serving. If you prefer to use pre-made pesto, there’s no need for the basil, garlic, pine nuts, some olive oil, or lemon juice. From Robin Asbell.

• 2 c. peeled, cubed beets (about 2 beets)

• 1 c. fresh basil, packed (see Note)

• 2 garlic cloves, chopped

• 2 tbsp. pine nuts

• Extra-virgin olive oil

• 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

• Salt

• 1 large onion, finely chopped

• 1 c. quinoa

• 1 (15-oz.) can navy beans, rinsed and drained

• 4 tbsp. crumbled feta or chopped walnuts, for garnish

Directions

To prepare the beets: Set up a steamer and steam the beet cubes over simmering water for about 10 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a paring knife. Drain and let cool, then place in a medium bowl.

To prepare the pesto: In a food processor bowl, combine the basil, garlic and pine nuts. Process until finely minced into a paste, scraping down as needed. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and process until smooth. Scrape into the bowl with the beets and toss to coat. Cover tightly until ready to serve.

To prepare the pilaf: Place a 2-quart pot over medium-high heat, and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the onions and stir, and when they start to sizzle, reduce the heat to low. Cook for at least 5 minutes, or longer if you have time.

Add the quinoa and stir, then add 1 1/4 cup water and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and bring to a boil. Cover the pot and reduce heat to low. Cook for 14 minutes, until the water is absorbed. Take off the lid, quickly stir in the beans, and cover the pot. Let stand for about 3 minutes so the beans will be heated through.

Serve 1 cup quinoa pilaf on each plate, topped with 1/2 cup beets and a sprinkle of either feta cheese or walnuts.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 450 Fat 18 g Sodium 910 mg

Carbohydrates 58 g Saturated fat 3 g Total sugars 10 g

Protein 16 g Cholesterol 8 mg Dietary fiber 13 g

Exchanges per serving: 3 starch, 1 carb, 1 lean protein, 2 ½ fat.