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Quinoa Kale Pesto Bowl with Poached Eggs

Kale is one of those “star” ingredients, right now. And, with good reason, it’s super healthy, easy to grow and prepare and quite tasty. Plus, it’s easy to find year round, but especially now as we ease from Spring into Summer. Soon it will be too late, too hot for local kale and we’ll be moving on to other things like luscious tomatoes, summer squash, berries, etc.
This recipe takes advantage of hearty kale flavor paired with other strong, but not competing flavors of walnut and lemon. Blanching the garlic takes out most of the garlic sting you often get in pesto, so it’s just a supporting character here. Plus, the kale pesto recipe makes way more than you need for this so you can use a bunch of different ways. I spread some on a pizza and will be mixing it into a noodle bowl later this week.

                                                               

Ingredients
Serves 4

1 cup quinoa
½ cup kale pesto (see below for recipe)
Zest of one lemon
Juice of ½ lemon
4 eggs
1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (adjust to taste)
Kale pesto
1 bunch of kale (roughly ½ lb), de-stemmed and coarsely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled
⅓ cup walnuts
juice of ½ lemon
2 tablespoons Parmesan-Reggiano cheese, grated
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup cooking water, plus more if needed
Directions
Place quinoa into a fine-mesh strainer. Rinse thoroughly with cool water for about 2 minutes. Rub and swish the quinoa with your hand while rinsing. Drain.
Heat a splash of olive oil in the saucepan over medium-high heat, and add the drained quinoa. Cook, stirring, for about 1 minute, letting the water evaporate.
Add 2 cups of water and ¼ teaspoon of salt. Bring to a rolling boil, lower to a simmer (turn heat down to the lowest setting), cover, and cook for 15 minutes.
Remove from the heat and let stand for 5 more minutes, covered. 
Remove the lid and fluff the quinoa gently with a fork (you should see tiny spirals separating from and curling around the quinoa seeds.) 

While the quinoa is cooking, make the kale pesto:
Bring a heavily salted pot of water to a roiling boil. Add garlic and kale (making sure to submerge it in the water) and blanch for 3 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon fish the kale and the garlic out of the water and transfer to a colander. Allow to cool slightly and using the back of a spoon squeeze out most of the water.
In a food processor add walnuts; pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the blanched kale, garlic and lemon juice. Pulse until the kale is broken up and nearly smooth. Using a spatula, scrape down the sides. Throw-in Parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes (if using). Pulse again and while the food processor is running slowly add the water until the pesto reaches a creamy consistency.
Transfer kale pesto to a bowl and using a spoon stir in the olive oil until it’s completely absorbed. 
If the kale pesto looks too thick, add more water (not oil), one tablespoon at a time until it reaches the desired consistency.

Combine cooked quinoa with kale pesto, and mix to coat the quinoa thoroughly. 
Season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice. 
Divide quinoa among separate bowls.
Top off quinoa with lemon zest, parsley and red pepper flakes.
Make poached eggs and serve them over quinoa bowls. Salt eggs to taste and serve with a little extra pesto on the side!

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