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Pesto Zucchini Quinoa Salad (Vegan, Gluten Free)

Put this delicious pesto zucchini quinoa salad recipe on your meal-prep menu for the week! It’s vegan, gluten free, and so easy to make.

Pesto Zucchini Quinoa Salad - Daisybeet

Pesto is one of those foods that I could eat every day. It’s such a versatile sauce. I love it on pizza, pasta, toast, and even with eggs! This homemade vegan pesto pairs perfectly with the zucchini, sun dried tomatoes, and quinoa in this recipe.

How to make vegan pesto

This pesto is totally plant-based, but still packs that classic cheesy flavor thanks to nutritional yeast! Nutritional yeast is a food product sold in flakes or powder. It is a great source of plant-based protein, vitamins, and minerals, including vitamin B12. It has a cheesy, umami flavor that is great to flavor vegan recipes.

  • Add lemon juice, garlic, basil, arugula, salt, pine nuts, olive oil, cold water, and nutritional yeast to a food processor or high speed blender.
  • Blend until well combined, but still a little chunky for texture.
  • Stop to scrape down the sides during blending. The whole process will take just a few minutes!
Vegan Pesto in Food Processor - Daisybeet

What’s in this pesto zucchini quinoa salad?

This quinoa salad is so easy to make! All you need are 10 ingredients (not including salt, pepper, and water) and about 30 minutes to get this on the table.

  • Quinoa
  • Zucchini
  • Summer squash
  • Sun dried tomatoes
  • Basil
  • Arugula
  • Garlic
  • Lemon
  • Pine nuts
  • Olive oil
Pesto zucchini quinoa salad - Daisybeet

I enjoyed this quinoa salad over greens for lunch and topped with a piece of fish for dinner. It is a versatile recipe that tastes amazing both warm and cold. Grain salads are one of my favorite recipes to meal prep, and this one is definitely a winner!

If you love this recipe, you may also like

Pesto zucchini quinoa salad - Daisybeet

Let me know if you love this recipe by leaving a comment or rating below, and check out Instagram and Pinterest for more healthy lifestyle inspiration. Thanks for stopping by!

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Pesto Zucchini Quinoa Salad (Vegan, Gluten Free)

  • Author: Alex
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4 as a side 1x
  • Category: side dish

Description

Put this delicious pesto zucchini quinoa salad recipe on your meal-prep menu for the week! It’s vegan, gluten free, and so easy to make.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (about 1/2 cup uncooked)
  • 1 large zucchini, cut into half-moon slices
  • 1 large summer squash, cut into half-moon slices
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, sliced

Vegan Pesto

  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • 1 large handful fresh basil
  • 1 large handful baby arugula
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp cold water

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 410 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place zucchini and summer squash slices on baking sheet. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for about 20 minutes, until fork tender and starting to brown.
  3. Cook quinoa according to package instructions while zucchini and squash roast.
  4. Combine all pesto ingredients in a food processor or high speed blender. Blend for a few minutes until smooth but a little chunky. Pause to scrape down the edges with a spatula if necessary.
  5. Combine quinoa, zucchini/squash, sun dried tomatoes, and about 1/2 cup of the pesto in a large mixing bowl. Toss to combine until everything is well coated. 
  6. Serve warm or place in a container and refrigerate for later.


Notes

  • You can just add 2 cups of basil, instead of 1 cup basil/1 cup arugula in the pesto for similar results.
  • Stores well in the fridge for up to 5 days in an airtight container.
  • You will probably have leftover pesto – it freezes well, if you don’t plan to use it within a few days!

Keywords: quinoa salad, pesto, vegan, vegan pesto, zucchini

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Pesto zucchini quinoa salad pinterest graphic - Daisybeet

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which help keep Daisybeet running. I truly love all the brands I link to, and use them frequently in my daily life!

Featured

Burrata Salad with Tomatoes and Melon (Gluten Free)

This burrata salad is super simple to whip up. This recipe will impress your guests with its vibrant colors and delicious summer flavor!

Burrata salad

Burrata + tomatoes = the hottest couple of the summertime. The juicy tomatoes pair so well with creamy and rich burrata, especially with a little basil and balsamic.

I love adding fresh fruit to salads in the summer, but I usually choose berries, apples, or pears. While I was in Nice, France a few weeks ago, I ate a salad with cantaloupe melon, tomatoes, and burrata. I was instantly mesmerized. When cantaloupe is in season and ripe, it is GOOOOD. It’s the perfect mildly sweet and crunchy contrast to the other ingredients! I decided right then and there I had to recreate it at home.

Burrata salad

How to Make Burrata Salad

This burrata salad recipe really couldn’t be easier. No oven or cooking required!

  • Slice a cantaloupe in half. Remove the seeds and cut into thick slices, then remove the rinds.
  • Chop tomatoes into large chunks.
  • Arrange cantaloupe and tomatoes over a bed of arugula.
  • Set a ball of fresh burrata in the center.
  • Sprinkle with fresh basil and toasted pine nuts.
  • Drizzle with balsamic glaze and pesto oil.

Burrata Salad Recipe Tips and Substitutions

  • Store tomatoes and cantaloupe at room temperature before slicing and serving. These fruits taste best and ripen faster if they are kept out of the fridge until they are about to spoil.
  • Use the best quality tomatoes. Since we are in tomato season, the stores are stocked with lots of tomato varieties! I find that vine-ripened and heirloom tomatoes are the most flavorful.
  • Sub peaches for the cantaloupe. Don’t like melon? No problem! This recipe would be delicious with peaches or nectarines instead.
  • Break apart the burrata if serving to a crowd. You can break apart the burrata and scatter the pieces around the salad to make it easier for guests to serve themselves.
Burrata salad

If you love this recipe, you may also like

Let me know if you love this recipe by leaving a comment or rating below, and check out Instagram and Pinterest for more healthy lifestyle inspiration.

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Burrata Salad with Tomatoes and Melon (Gluten Free)

  • Author: Alex
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: side dish

Description

This burrata salad is super simple to whip up. This recipe will impress your guests with its vibrant colors and delicious summer flavor!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 4 cups baby arugula
  • 1/2 of a cantaloupe, seeds removed, sliced in wedges, and rind removed
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, chopped into large chunks
  • 1 ball burrata cheese
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tbsp basil pesto 
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic glaze
  • Salt
  • Black pepper

Instructions

  1. Toast the pine nuts in a shallow frying pan over low-medium heat. Stir occasionally to prevent burning, and remove from heat once nuts are fragrant and begin to brown. This will take about 5 minutes.
  2. Place arugula on a large serving plate or in a large salad bowl.
  3. Arrange alternating slices of tomato and cantaloupe on top of arugula.
  4.  Place the burrata in the center of the serving plate.
  5. Sprinkle the plate with chopped basil and toasted pine nuts.
  6. Whisk together the pesto and olive oil in a small bowl. It should be a liquid consistency that is easy to drizzle – add more olive oil as necessary.
  7. Drizzle the pesto oil and balsamic glaze over the salad. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Serve immediately.

Keywords: burrata salad, burrata, summer salad, cantaloupe, tomatoes

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vegan pesto cauliflower Featured

Pesto Cauliflower (Vegan, Gluten Free)

Pesto tastes amazing on just about anything, and cauliflower is the perfect vehicle! This simple side dish features this versatile vegetable and a homemade vegan pesto.

vegan pesto cauliflower

Have you made homemade pesto before? If not, now is the time! This vegan pesto is incredibly flavorful and easy to make. I love making homemade sauces, including pesto. Preparing them myself allows me to control the quality of ingredients I use, making them healthier versions of store bought options without compromising on taste.

How to Make Vegan Pesto

All you need is six ingredients and a blender or food processor to make this vegan pesto. While traditional pesto uses parmesan cheese, you will use nutritional yeast in this vegan version. This gives the pesto a cheesy, umami flavor without the use of cheese! Blend together lemon juice, fresh basil, garlic, salt, nutritional yeast, and olive oil to make the freshest vegan pesto ever.

vegan pesto

Main Ingredients + Some Nutrition Notes

  • Nutritional Yeast: Nutritional yeast is a type of yeast rich in vitamins, minerals and proteins. It contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete plant-based protein. It is also one of the only plant-based sources of vitamin B12.
  • Cauliflower: A member of the cruciferous vegetable family, cauliflower is rich in different antioxidants, which help fight free radical cell damage and inflammation. It’s also a great source of fiber.
  • Basil: Basil, and other fresh herbs, are excellent flavor additions to any meal. Using fresh herbs in your cooking reduces the need for added sodium! Plus, basil is actually a good source of vitamin K, like other leafy greens.
  • Lemon
  • Garlic
  • Olive Oil
vegan pesto cauliflower

I’ve had this pesto on all sorts of things: pasta, pizza, salmon, and now cauliflower! I’m always trying out new ways to eat this delicious vegetable, and this really might be my new favorite. It would taste amazing on pretty much any other vegetable, so feel free to substitute whatever you have on hand!

If you love this recipe, you may also like

vegan pesto cauliflower

Let me know if you love this recipe by leaving a comment or rating below, and check out Instagram and Pinterest for more healthy lifestyle inspiration.

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  • Author: Alex
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: side dish

Description

Pesto tastes amazing on just about anything, and cauliflower is the perfect vehicle! This simple side dish features this versatile vegetable and a homemade vegan pesto.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Vegan Pesto

  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 3 handfuls fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 2 tbsp cold water

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 415 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Toss cauliflower florets in avocado oil, salt, and pepper.
  3. Roast for 35-30 minutes, until fork tender and slightly browned.
  4. While cauliflower roasts, prepare pesto. Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor. Blend until ingredients are combined, but still a bit chunky.
  5. Toss pesto with cooked cauliflower until well coated.


Notes

  • This recipe can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Keywords: vegan, pesto, pesto cauliflower, vegan recipe

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vegan pesto cauliflower

Creamy Curry Butternut Squash Soup with Coconut Milk

Now that I am working full time while finishing my masters, quick and easy batch cooking is even more essential to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Training has been great, but I come home absolutely exhausted with little motivation to cook. It is a life saver to have meals like this curry butternut squash soup ready for me when I get home.

This soup is filled with warming flavors that is perfect to come home to on a chilly night. Butternut squash, ginger, curry powder and coconut milk meld together for a creamy, flavorful, nutritious meal. Top with Thai basil pesto for an added punch and texture!

This dish features one of my new favorite products, Thrive® Algae Oil. I love this cooking oil for many reasons. First, it has a high smoke point – 485 degrees to be exact. This means the fats will not oxidize into harmful substances when cooked at a high heat. It also has an excellent fat profile – full of monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) that are good for our hearts. It even has more MUFAs than olive oil - Thrive® has 90% compared to the 70% in olive oil. Finally, Thrive® has a very neutral taste, lending itself well to so many different recipes. It definitely helped enhance the wonderful, complex flavors in this soup and pesto!

I hope you all try this soup and/or pesto. The pesto is great with pasta or on eggs, as well. Remember to tag #Daisybeet so I can see your creations!

Ingredients:

  • 1 large butternut squash (3-4 pounds)
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • ½ bag riced cauliflower (I used frozen)
  • Himalayan pink salt
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 ½ tsp curry powder
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1-2 tbsp Thrive® Algae Oil
  • 8 oz unsalted or low sodium veggie stock
  • 1 can lite coconut milk
  • Batch of Thai Basil Pesto (Optional)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Pierce butternut squash with a fork several times. Cut butternut squash in half by separating the long, narrow part from the wide part. Cut each piece in half. Scoop out seeds (discard seeds or save for roasting).
  3. Drizzle squash flesh with 1-2 tsp Thrive® Algae Oil and a little salt. Place cut side down onto foil-lined baking sheet. Roast for 45 minutes – 1 hour, until squash can easily be pierced with a fork.
  4. Heat 1 tbsp Thrive® Algae Oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add onion and salt to taste, and cook 3-5 minutes until translucent, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add garlic, ginger, thyme and cauliflower rice and cook an additional 2-3 minutes.
  6. Add more salt, turmeric and curry powder and stir to coat mix.
  7. Scoop out roasted butternut squash from skin and add to soup pot.
  8. Add veggie stock and stir, letting flavors combine for 2-3 minutes.
  9. Transfer contents to blender (I recommend a high-speed blender like a Vitamix) and blend on high until smooth and silky.
  10. Pour soup into large container or back into soup pot, and stir in the can of coconut milk until well combined.
  11. Serve as is, or topped with a scoop of Thai basil pesto (optional).

 

Ingredients for Thai Basil Pesto:

  • 2 cups Thai basil
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp Thrive® Algae Oil
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1-2 tbsp water
  • Juice of ½ lime
  • 1-2 tsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp peanuts
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • Shake of crushed red pepper flakes

Instructions for Thai basil pesto: Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until combined. I like to keep a little texture in my pesto, but if you prefer a smoother pesto, blend for longer.