Pesto Quinoa with Roasted Mushrooms is a healthy and delicious side dish. Or main dish! Pesto and parmesan flavor the quinoa, while oven roasted mushrooms provide a substantial bite.
I’m always looking for new, interesting and delicious side dishes. I also love quinoa and roasted veggies, so I thought this would be a perfect combination! Quinoa is a great option as the “starch” for your meal because it’s protein packed and gluten free. It’s also a little boring on it’s own, so adding the store bought pesto I had in my fridge seemed like a great solution for adding a lot of flavor with very little work.
When I was thinking of which vegetable to use, I thought of mushrooms right away. They are really good roasted and also work well with pesto. As a bonus, the time roasting in the oven is passive cooking time, meaning I didn’t have to pay any attention to them while I made the quinoa and they would still be delicious!
You can serve the pesto quinoa with roasted mushrooms with grilled chicken, or a beef or pork roast, or have it as your main dish with a salad. There are all kinds of options.
The pesto and parmesan add loads of complex herby, tangy flavors, but we’re not going to stop there. You’ll add even more flavor with sautéed onion and garlic, and by using chicken stock as the simmering liquid. But if you are making this for vegetarians, definitely use vegetable broth or water instead of the chicken stock.
Now for the mushrooms! Use your favorite kinds, and maybe add one you haven’t tried before. I used portobellos and creminis because they’re easy to find and hold up well for roasting. You can use all the same kind of mushroom, or three or four different kinds, whatever looks good to you.
Let’s get started on roasting the mushrooms. Slice all the mushrooms the same approximate width. If the thickness is the same, they’ll all roast at the same rate and be done at the same time. Once they’re sliced, lay the mushrooms in an even layer on a baking sheet and sprinkle with olive oil, kosher salt and black pepper. You don’t want to drench the mushrooms with olive oil, just enough to add flavor and help in browning and to give flavor.
Pop them in the oven for 30-45 minutes until they have lost most of their liquid and are golden brown. You can tell from the photo below how much the mushrooms shrink while they’re roasting. So while it may seem like you are slicing up too many mushrooms during your prep time, fear not! You will have the perfect amount to add to your pesto quinoa.
Speaking of quinoa, while the mushrooms are roasting you’ll be able to get the quinoa made. If you aren’t familiar with making quinoa, it’s very similar to cooking rice. I have a handy blog post called “how to cook quinoa” for the basic technique if you’re interested.
For this quinoa recipe we’re going to add extra flavor by first sauteing onions and garlic in olive oil, and then adding the quinoa and stock.
Just like with rice, you’ll bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer until the grains are tender. Quinoa does take longer to cook than rice though, usually 25-30 minutes. It will keep an al dente feel when you chew it, and if you look closely, you’ll be able to see a white ring around the cooked grains.
When the quinoa is done, let it sit covered, off the heat, until the mushrooms are roasted. When you’re ready to serve, add the grated parmesan and prepared pesto and stir to combine. Give it a taste, you might want to add more pesto, parmesan, salt or pepper.
I like to grate my own cheese so it’s super fine and melts really easily into the quinoa!
Now, fold in those beautifully roasted mushrooms! No need to chop them, unless you really want to.
Tender, creamy pesto quinoa with roasted mushrooms is so delicious I do sometimes make it as our main dish. This is also a fun recipe to make when entertaining your friends and family who are health conscious, foodies, or just like to try new things!
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided into 2 portions of 2 tablespoons
- 6 - 8 cups of sliced mushrooms, I used 1 container each of creminis and portobellos
- 1 cup medium diced white or yellow onion
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup of white quinoa, rinsed thoroughly in a fine mesh strainer
- 2 cups of chicken stock, water or vegetable stock
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup of prepared pesto
- 1 cup of grated parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
- Slice whole mushrooms to about a ¼ inch thick slices. Place on the prepared baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil (use more oil if you think it needs it). Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper.
- Roast for 30 - 45 minutes until the mushrooms have released most of their liquid and are cooked through and browned.
- While the mushrooms are roasting, prepare your quinoa. Saute the onion over medium heat in 2 tablespoons of olive oil for about 5 minutes until it's softened, but not browned. Add the garlic and saute for an additional minute (don't let the garlic brown or it will get bitter!).
- Add the quinoa and stock or water, 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Stir to combine and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 25 - 30 minutes until the quinoa grains are tender and you can see a white ring around the outside of each grain. Turn off the heat and let the quinoa sit, covered until the mushrooms are finished roasting.
- When you are ready to eat, add the pesto and parmesan to the quinoa and stir to combine. Taste and add more pesto, parmesan or salt to your liking.
- Finally, fold in the roasted mushrooms and serve!