Looking for a gluten free pasta salad alternative to take to your next potluck? Try this Quinoa Salad with Pesto & Mozzarella served with Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes and Toasted Pine Nuts.
Gluten Free Pasta Salad: Quinoa Salad with Pesto & Mozzarella
1 cup white quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 ½ cups water
1 ball fresh mozzarella, about ½ lb
3 medium to large heirloom tomatoes
1 bunch fresh basil, about 2 cups, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 cup pine nuts
1-2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
½ cup extra virgin olive oil (for pesto)
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
In a small non-stick sauté pan, dry roast quinoa until it gives off a nutty aroma.
Meanwhile, bring the water to a boil with the olive oil and a generous pinch of salt in a small saucepan. Add the quinoa, bring back up to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover. Simmer for 15 minutes, then turn off the heat and steam for an additional 5 minutes, and fluff with two forks.
While the quinoa is cooking, place the basil leaves, 1/3 cup of pine nuts, garlic, sea salt and black pepper in the bowl of your food processor, and process coarsely. Meanwhile, with the processor on, stream in ½ cup of olive oil and process until desired consistency is reached. Add more olive oil if desired. Place in a bowl and reserve for later.
Then slice the tomatoes and mozzarella into 1/3 inch rounds and set aside.
Gently toast the remaining 2/3 cup of pine nuts in a small non-stick sauté pan over low heat. Once they’re slightly golden, after about 8-10 minutes, remove from the pan, place in a bowl, and then set aside.
Then place a scoop of quinoa in the center of each plate. Arrange four slices of tomato around each plate and top each slice of tomato with a slice of mozzarella. Drizzle with pesto and sprinkle with toasted pine nuts. Enjoy hot or cold.
For a fun way to serve, skewer Bocconcini mozzarella balls and cherry tomatoes, drizzle with pesto, and serve over cooked quinoa and toasted pine nuts.