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Coconut-Cashew Red Quinoa

Posted Jan 12 2011 3:40pm

It may be the dead of winter but I’ve been craving Thai flavors lately. Yes, that’s right. I’m fantasizing about sunbathing on a tiny island somewhere in the South Pacific sipping a Mai Thai. Sadly, a Thai-inspired dish will have to do for now.

As I mentioned in a previous post , quinoa is classified with the rest of the grains but it’s not a grain, it’s actually a seed. It’s been around for over 6,000 years, originating in the Andean region of South America. The Incas held the crop to be sacred and referred to it as chisaya mama, meaning mother of all grains.

Nutritionally speaking, this “grain” is the mother of all grains, in protein. It’s the highest grain-like crop in protein, ranging from 12% to 18%. Unlike wheat or rice, quinoa is a complete protein.

This time around, I cooked with red quinoa. I picked some up in the bulk bins at Whole Foods. I didn’t notice much difference in terms of flavor or cooking time. And since I love cooking with Thai flavors I figured why not add some Thai flavors to a quinoa dish - in went the coconut milk, pineapples and cashews. The coconut-cashew red quinoa makes a great side dish that can add an exotic punch to an otherwise ordinary meal. I thought shredded coconut on top would add a nice touch but I’m all out.

Hope you like it.

1/2 cup coconut milk, unsweetened
2 shallots, sliced
1 small red onion, chopped
3 cups water
1 1/2 cups red quinoa, uncooked
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup frozen or fresh pineapple chunks, unsweetened and chopped
1/4 cup salted cashews, chopped

Heat coconut milk in a large saucepan. Add shallots and red onion and cook over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes. Add water; bring to a boil. Add quinoa, sugar, salt and pepper; cover and cook on low heat for 20 minutes. Add pineapple and cashews and cook for additional 3-4 minutes, or until most liquid is absorbed. Garnish with fresh parsley or cilantro. Serve hot.

Serves 6 at 3/4 cup each.

Nutrition Facts: Calories 251; Fat 9g; Sat Fat 4g; Chol 0mg; Sodium 410mg; Carb 36g; Fiber 4g; Protein 8g.

Click here to try my Tomato Mint Quinoa Salad.

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