Looking for a way to jazz up quinoa and make it a one-pot meal? Here’s what to do: Cook it in an intensely fragrant, spicy-savory-sweet mix of red curry paste and coconut water. While you’re at it, steam a big pile of greens in the same pot (a nod to this One-Pot Kale & Quinoa Pilaf). The quinoa will be infused with bold, bright flavor and stained a beautiful red from the curry paste, and by using coconut water versus coconut milk, it’ll be light and fluffy (a trick borrowed from Andrea Nguyen’s Genius Vibrant Turmeric Coconut Rice). To finish, dress the whole thing with slivered green onions, lime zest, peanuts, and coconut oil. The coconut oil amplifies the rich, sweet, coconutty flavor of the dish, another clever trick borrowed from Nguyen’s Vibrant Turmeric Coconut Rice.
While hearty enough to stand alone, this dish pairs well with grilled or roasted meat, fish, or tofu. It’s also infinitely flexible, so feel free to make substitutions based on what you have on hand. For example, use different greens, such as spinach or collards. Swap quinoa for farro or rice (adjusting cooking times as needed). Switch up the mix-ins—cilantro or chives would be lovely, as would the addition of feta or goat cheese. Play around with different brands of red curry paste and coconut water, which vary in their respective levels of heat and sweetness. I use pulp-free coconut water when making this dish, but you can easily use coconut water with pulp—just strain out the chunks of coconut before cooking with it (and save them for a snack!). —EmilyC
- Prep time 10 minutes
- Cook time 20 minutes
- Serves 4 to 6
1 1/2 cups
pulp-free coconut water
1 1/2 tablespoons
red curry paste (I like Thai Kitchen or Maesri)
Swiss chard or kale, chopped into bite-sized pieces (about 6 packed cups), tough stems removed and discarded
1 1/2 tablespoons
unrefined virgin coconut oil
scallions, cut thinly on an angle into long slices (dark green parts reserved for garnish)
crushed or finely chopped roasted peanuts, a few set aside for garnishing
to 6 lime wedges (from the lime you zested), for serving
red pepper flakes, for serving
- In a medium pot with a lid, combine quinoa, coconut water, red curry paste, and salt, stirring to integrate. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, cover the pot, turn the heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes. Uncover the pot, top with the Swiss chard, then cover again (at this point, some of the coconut water will remain). Simmer for another 5 minutes, then turn off the heat and without uncovering, let rest for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine coconut oil, lime zest, scallions (white and light green parts only), and the crushed peanuts (setting a few aside for garnish).
- Once the quinoa has rested, uncover the pot and immediately add the coconut oil, lime zest, scallions, and crushed peanuts. With a fork or spatula, gently stir them and the Swiss chard into the quinoa, letting the residual heat melt the oil and soften the scallions. Cover again for 3 to 5 minutes.
- Divide among plates. Sprinkle the remaining peanuts and dark green scallion slices on top (and chile flakes if you want a spicier kick). Serve lime wedges on the side.