Waiting and waiting for the roselle in the garden to bloom. It seems like it’s taking forever. Meanwhile, I’ve decided to use the delicious, tart leaves while I’m waiting. They taste a lot like sorrel, tender with a nice, slightly sour tang. Nutritious, too, with a healthy dose of vitamins C and A as well as calcium and iron. Quinoa is a good source of protein, magnesium (good for the heart), and the amino acid lysine which fosters tissue repair and growth. I love the crunchy pop and nutty flavor of quinoa as well.
Roselle and Quinoa with Basil Pesto
Makes 2 large, entree-sized servings or 4-6 sides
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 1/4 cup boiling water
2 cups coarsely chopped roselle leaves (alternately, use mesclun, spinach, sorrel, or other piquant salad greens)
1 med. apple, chopped
1 small to medium red onion, chopped
1/4 cup raisins
juice of 1 lime
extra-virgin olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
Basil Pesto (see recipe below)
Rinse quinoa in cold water and strain through a fine sieve. Add to boiling water in saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer, covered for 12 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit, still covered, for 5 minutes until all the water is absorbed.
Meanwhile, combine the chopped roselle, onion, apple and raisins together in a large bowl. Add the quinoa and the lime juice and a generous drizzle of olive oil. Toss all together until well blended. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Plate individual servings topped with a dollop of pesto. Garnish with extra basil, if desired. Store extra pesto (if there is any) covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1/3 cup walnuts
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/4-1/3 cup olive oil
3-4 garlic cloves, chopped
Combine all ingredients in food processor or blender and process until a slightly textured paste consistency, scraping down sides as needed. Add salt and pepper to taste.