Here’s how you go big with quinoa: coconut, lots of fresh herbs, and roasted winter squash!
I’ll be the first to admit, quinoa doesn’t make me as jubilant as most carbs. It’s soapy nature doesn’t help. But I keep at it, because for one, it’s like megahealthy on the health charts and two, I think I’ve found the tastiest way to cook it yet.
I prefer the white quinoa to the other darker varieties. It cooks up light and fluffy and doesn’t squeak as much between your teeth. I simply boil the quinoa like you would pasta, then drain off any excess water. Toss the warm quinoa with coconut oil and here comes the best part: large slices of fragrant coconut. I find mine at Trader Joe’s but also Bob’s Red Mill sells bags of delicious big unsweetened flakes too and when I was living in North Dakota with not a Trader Joe’s in sight, those are the ones I would use.
This platter of goodness could be a healthy alternative for all the big holiday dinners coming up—working equally well as a side or a vegan main dish. But it also has #meatlessmonday written all over it.
Coconut Quinoa with Roasted Squash and Pumpkin Seeds
This coconut quinoa makes an excellent holiday side or vegan main dish with fluffy quinoa, big flakes of coconut, toasted pumpkin seeds, and roasted squash.
- 1 small kabocha squash (about 2 pounds), peeled and seeded
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or coconut oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
- 2 cups quinoa, rinsed
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin coconut oil
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut chips
- 1/2 cup chopped mixed herbs, such as basil, cilantro, mint, or parsley
- 1/2 cup roasted, salted pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
- 1 large, ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced
- Heat oven to 450°F and arrange a rack in the top of the oven.
- Carefully cut squash into 1-inch wedges with a sharp knife and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet (you can also cover it with a Silpat or nothing at all, this just makes clean up easier).
- Drizzle squash with the tablespoon of olive oil or coconut oil and season generously with salt. Toss to coat then place in the top of the oven to roast until knife tender, about 15-20 minutes. If you'd like a little extra char on the squash you can put them under the broiler for a minute or two once they are cooked through. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, place quinoa in a large saucepan and cover with water by 1-inch. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and return to pan. Add coconut oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, coconut chips, and herbs and stir to combine.
- Transfer to a large serving dish, top with squash, pumpkin seeds, pomegranate, and avocado and serve.
If you can't find roasted, salted pumpkin seeds you can make your own by heating 1 teaspoon of oil (coconut, olive, vegetable) over medium heat in a medium frying pan. Add 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds and cook, stirring frequently until toasted and starting to pop. Season with a pinch of salt and remove from the pan.
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