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overhead of quinoa with kale stem pesto and sweet potato in an orange bowl

Quinoa with Kale Stem Pesto


Quinoa with Kale Stem Pesto is a protein-packed recipe for a healthy plant-based meal that helps reduce food waste while keeping you full and satisfied.


  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa (I prefer Ancient Harvest brand)
  • 2 cups water or vegetable broth
  • Sea salt
  • 3 kale stems, chopped
  • 1/2 cup scallions (white only), chopped 
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 2/3 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped 
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 1/4 cup olive oil


  1. Place the quinoa, water or broth and a pinch of salt in a small pot.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once it boils, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. The quinoa should be nice and fluffy.
  2. Place the kale stems in a pot with about an inch of water. Cook on medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until tender. When finished, drain and set aside.
  3. Place the sweet potatoes in a small pot and almost cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to simmer on medium for 10 to 15 minutes or until fork-tender. Drain and set aside.
  4. Make the pesto: In a food processor, combine the scallions, basil, 1 tablespoon pine nuts, olive oil, cooked kale stems and a pinch of sea salt. Blend until you reach your desired consistency, either slightly chunky or totally smooth.
  5. In a large bowl, place the cooked quinoa, remaining 2 tablespoons of pine nuts, sweet potato, and pesto. Mix together and serve.
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes

Keywords: kale stem pesto, quinoa

Natural Kitchen Cooking School