Friday, April 1, 2011

Quinoa + Coconut Milk = Genius

When you write a food blog, you tend to view every meal, every sauce, every seasoning, as an experiment.  I have to say, lately it has not been going so well in this test kitchen.  I mean, I was happy with how the kimchi stew turned out, for sure, but some other things have kind should I say it...taken a wrong turn?  For instance, I recently made a salad of seaweed (the green, rubbery kind you get at the Japanese restaurant), lettuce, and a dressing mixture I swore would be bottled and sold at Whole Foods by next month.  Blah, it was awful!  The dressing was super bland, and the seaweed turned out so mushy that the texture made me gag.  Even The Boy, who would eat cardboard if it was covered in hot sauce, said it was kind of gross (but still ate it).  I did a few other stupid things like that this week but can't seem to remember the details.  Better for you, I guess.  

But every once in a while an idea comes along that just saves the day.  Today it came from my friend Kate, who posted a photo of her quinoa salad genius, along with the recipe, on facebook.  Bless your little healthy self, Kate!  I've seriously been racking my brain for a good quinoa recipe recently so I was thrilled to be able to post this.  And get this:  The quinoa is cooked in coconut milk.  Brilliant, I tell you!  I ran to the store a few minutes after seeing her post and picked up everything I needed.  I couldn't find any blood oranges so I threw in a little avocado instead.  I'd love to try it with the oranges next time though, for that extra zing and nice burst of color!

Thai Coconut Quinoa Salad
Serves 6 as a side dish

1 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
1/2 english cucumber, cubed
1/2 poblano chili, diced
1 avocado, diced
1 mango, diced
7 basil leaves, cut into ribbons
10 mint leaves, but into ribbons
zest of 1 lime
2 limes

To prepare quinoa:  Put quinoa and coconut milk into a medium pot and bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 15 minutes.  Turn heat off and let sit for 5 minutes.  Then fluff with a fork.
While quinoa is cooking, in a large bowl combine cucumber, chili, avocado, mango, basil, mint and zest of limes.  Then squeeze juice from limes over the mixture.  Toss gently to combine.  After quinoa has cooled for a few minutes, add to mixture and toss gently.  Garnish with mint leaves, or just eat directly from the serving bowl...with the large serving spoon.

What I love about this salad, aside from the delicious, refreshing taste, is the fact that it refrigerates well so you can pack it for lunch the next day.  I have a feeling I'll be making it a lot this summer.


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  2. sounds awesome! I make brown rice with coconut milk- one of the only ways my husband will eat it- and i've never tried quinoa, so now I will! thanks em you're the best.

  3. Yum, brown rice with coconut milk? Gotta try that next time.

  4. it looks so amazing! you clever girl. and your pictures are gorgeous! wow!

  5. Wow, this salad is colorful, full of flavor, and now I must try it!!! I love poblano peppers, always ate them when I lived in Tucson, AZ. I am still new to coconut milk, excited to try it though:-) Happy we connected, your recipes are gorgeous! Hugs, Terra

  6. i'm on a quinoa kick lately! this looks awesome! mango, coconut, avocado - flavor heaven!

  7. Thanks Terra! The coconut milk just makes it :)

    I saw your quinoa breakfast recipe - brilliant!