I am always on the lookout for lunch recipes that I can put together on Sunday afternoon and then enjoy for the rest of the week. It makes getting ready for school much more simple, because all I have to do is grab one container from the fridge and my lunch is made. However, I’ve found that it’s all too easy to get into a rut of a grain tossed with some beans and a quick olive oil and vinegar dressing, and before I know it, every single one of my lunches is either brown rice with lentils or chickpeas with couscous. I wanted a recipes with fresh flavors that was just as simple to put together as a traditional grain salad.
This recipe for coconut quinoa fits the bill. Florets of cauliflower are caramelized in a little coconut oil before being simmered with a thai-curry inspired sauce of coconut milk, curry paste, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, lime juice, and sriracha that strikes the balance between creamy textures and bold, spicy flavors. As a finishing touch, a few cilantro leaves are sprinkled on top to brighten up the dish. Try this dish next time you need a new idea for lunch or dinner that doesn’t take all day to prepare, and in under 30 minutes you can sit down to a flavorful meal or have all your lunches for the week packed and ready to go.
Coconut Quinoa with Cauliflower and Curry
2 cups quinoa, rinsed
3 cups water
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 head cauliflower, cut into 1-2 inch florets
¼ cup water
1 cup light coconut milk
1 garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons curry paste (green or red Thai curry paste)
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons minced ginger
1 teaspoon sriracha
Cilantro leaves, to garnish
- Combine the quinoa and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low, then simmer for 15-17 minutes, until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender. Alternatively, place the quinoa and water in a rice cooker and cook on the white rice setting. Fluff the cooked quinoa with a fork, transfer to a large bowl, and set aside.
- Place the coconut oil in a large nonstick skillet and turn the burner to medium-high heat. Once hot, add the cauliflower and cook for 6-8 minutes, until the cauliflower has begun to caramelize. Add the water and reduce heat to medium-low, then cook for 4-6 more minutes, until the cauliflower is tender and the water is evaporated.
- Meanwhile, whisk together the coconut milk, garlic, curry paste, lime juice, soy sauce, ginger, and sriracha in a small bowl. Add the coconut mixture to the cooked cauliflower and toss to combine, then let simmer for 2-3 minutes to allow the flavors to combine. Pour the cauliflower mixture over the quinoa and toss to combine. Place in individual bowls and garnish with a few cilantro leaves.
Note: Vegetable oil can be substituted for the coconut oil. If you would like to add additional garnishes, top with a few crispy fried shallots and some toasted, unsweetened coconut.