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Quinoa with Chickpeas and Zucchini Pesto

Recipe by Vegan Recipes and Vibes (@veganrecipesandvibes)

Quinoa with Chickpeas and Zucchini Pesto
Quinoa with Chickpeas and Zucchini Pesto

Yield: 5 servings | Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes | Total time: 30 minutes


I know quinoa is super good for you, but for some reason I have such a hard time eating it. I'm always trying to create recipes to figure out how to best disguise it in my dishes. But with this, I think I hit the jackpot. This is a dish I created while in Revelstoke BC and had limited ingredients with me. I had kale, zucchini, and basil all going bad and needed to think of a recipe quick. And thus this dish was born! I whipped up some veggies into a deliciously oil-free pesto, then doused my cooked quinoa, chickpeas, and kale in it. The combination is out of this world, and I'm happy to say that I ate this every day for lunch that week. It's even great cold if you're too lazy to heat up your leftovers!


  • 1 can of chickpeas (14oz)

  • 1 cup of quinoa, uncooked (I used tri-color)

  • 2 cups of veggie broth (or 2 cups water + 2 tsp Better Than Bouillon)

  • 2 large handfuls of kale, roughly chopped

Zucchini Pesto:

  • 1 small zucchini, roughly cubed

  • 1/4 cup chickpeas

  • 1 large garlic clove

  • 1 handful of basil

  • 1 tbsp plant milk (I used 2% Not Milk)

  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast


  • Start by cooking the quinoa.

  • Add the quinoa and veggie broth to a pot (if you're using the Better Than Bouillon instead of liquid broth, add the water and paste, and it will dissolve when the water gets hot).

  • Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook the quinoa according to the directions on the package. If there's any leftover water, drain after the quinoa has finished cooking.

  • Meanwhile, make the pesto.

  • Add all the pesto ingredients to a blender or food processor. Blend until you have a creamy thick consistency. Set aside.

  • Now it's time to cook the chickpeas and kale.

  • Drain the can of chickpeas and add them to a large frying or sauce pan over medium heat (make sure the pan has a fitting lid).

  • Heat the chickpeas, adding a splash of water if they start to stick, for about 5 minutes.

  • Next add in the kale. Place the lid on the pan and let the kale steam for about 5 minutes to wilt.

  • Remove the lid and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the kale is wilted to your liking.

  • Now that everything should be cooked, add the quinoa and zucchini pesto to the pan (or a separate bowl if your pan is too big).

  • Serve, sprinkling extra nutritional yeast or basil on top if desired. Can be enjoyed hot or cold!


Tips and Tricks:

  • You don't need to use veggie broth for this recipe if you don't have any, but I do feel like it adds a lot of flavor to this dish. Plus if you use regular broth (not low sodium), it should add in all the salt you need as well. If you don't use broth, feel free to add salt and pepper as desired.

  • If the zucchini pesto is too thick, try adding 1 tbsp of plant based milk at a time until you get to the right consistency.

  • This dish can be enjoyed hot or cold! Store the leftovers in the fridge in an air-tight container for up to 7 days.

Nutrition & Servings: (calculated by MyFitnessPal)

  • Servings: 5

  • Calories: 215

  • Total Fat: 5g

  • Carbs: 25g

  • Protein: 9g

^ Nutrition facts include the ingredients listed above, including the mozzarella shreds. Nutrition facts may change slightly if different quantities of ingredients are used or added.

Tag me on Instagram @veganrecipesandvibes


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