Before you think I am insane because of the title of this post, hear me out. I know, yogurt parfaits are normally layers of tangy yogurt that is sweetened with honey or maple syrup followed by some juicy sweet fruit and crunchy granola, so I must be strange for making a savory parfait, right?
Maybe a little, but sometimes my craziness helps me to discover amazing new recipes. Trust me, Paul thought that I was going off my rocker when I was talking about making a savory parfait. But, he is always willing to give my creations at least a couple bites. He took his first bite of my savory parfait and was pleasantly surprised. That was when I knew that this recipe was a winner.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a sweet, fruity parfait as part of my brunch. As amazing as yogurt is as a sweet dish, it can be even more amazing prepared as a savory one. If you still think I am weird, just trust me and make this.
The tangy, velvety-rich Greek yogurt mingles perfectly with the fresh basil pesto creating a delicacy of its own. Seriously I could eat Greek yogurt alone with basil pesto and be happy, drooling. Add in the earthy, nutty quinoa and the cool crunch of the cucumbers and you are on your way to heaven. Once you add some sweet, juicy summertime cherry tomatoes to the mix and some salty feta cheese your taste buds will be doing back flips.
What I love about this savory yogurt parfait with cherry tomatoes and basil pesto is that one glass of this is a delicious, healthy, satisfying, balanced vegetarian meal. You get your protein and calcium from the yogurt. Your grain and extra protein comes from the quinoa. You get some healthy fats from the extra virgin olive oil in the basil pesto. The cucumbers and tomatoes deliver your veggies. You will be satisfied for hours with this meal. Plus, it’s the perfect meal for hot summertime. Aside from the quinoa there is no cooking involved, and it is eaten cold so it is a refreshing treat.
Trust me my friends, you must give this one a try. You can thank me later.
- For pesto:
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves, washed and dried
- ¼ cup toasted almonds (or any type of nuts you have on hand)
- 1 large garlic clove
- ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Juice of ½ a lemon
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- Pinch of salt
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil (plus more if needed)
- For yogurt:
- 2 cups full-fat, plain Greek yogurt
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- For toppings:
- ¼ to ½ cup cooked, cooled quinoa (I used rainbow quinoa because that’s what I had on hand, but any variety would be delicious; just follow the cooking instructions on the box).
- ½ diced cucumber
- ½ cup grape tomatoes (slice the big ones in half)
- ¼ cup fresh, crumbled feta cheese
- For the pesto:
- Place basil leaves, almonds, garlic, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and olive oil in a food processor. Process until smooth, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and process again. Taste-test and add more salt and pepper as needed. Add a couple more teaspoons of olive oil if the pesto needs to be thinned out a little bit more. Set the pesto aside.
- For the yogurt mixture:
- In a small bowl mix together the yogurt, salt, pepper, and garlic. Set the yogurt mixture aside.
- Make sure you have everything prepared for your assembly line. I used two stemless wine glasses. Parfait or martini glasses would also work.
- Begin layering your parfait by spooning yogurt into the bottom of each glass. I spooned about 1 to 2 tablespoons. Make sure to smooth it out into an even layer. Follow the yogurt layer with a teaspoon dollop of the basil pesto, and smooth out. Next spoon 1-2 tablespoons of the cooled quinoa and gently spread out. Follow with a sprinkle of cucumbers and grape tomatoes. Top off with a sprinkle of the feta cheese.
- Repeat the next layer in the same order. Yogurt, basil pesto, quinoa, cucumbers, grape tomatoes, and feta cheese. Serve immediately and enjoy.