I recently made a Hawaiian themed meal which included my Hawaiian Chicken creation, along with coconut rice and a mixed green salad. I LOVE coconut rice, let's just get that out on the table right now. But with trying to avoid the rice, it isn't normally found in my meal planning these days. When making this Hawaiian meal I was reminded of the wonderful creamy coconutty flavor of coconut rice and of course thought . . . what about quinoa?
After googling ideas, as usual I'm not the first to ponder this thought, many others have gone before me! It took a few attempts before I settled on what I liked as a good ratio of coconut milk and quinoa, adding a little lime zest and cilantro to pop the flavor. No, it's not "coconut rice", it's a little less creamy and includes that nutty flavor quinoa provides, but it is a healthier alternative for this side dish, and a good solution for those following a paleo or Whole30 food plan.
If you haven't ever made coconut rice, or now coconut quinoa, you will be amazed at how easy this flavorful dish is created. It is made by simply exchanging the water you add to the rice cooker or saucepan, for a can of coconut milk. The texture comes out sweet and creamy.
Here is the combination that came out great for me, a serving for two:
3/4 cup quinoa
1 can (13 oz) coconut milk
zest of one lime
2 Tbl chopped cilantro
(Aroy-D is my favorite coconut milk! It's smooth and creamy, and comes in a small size container just perfect for most recipes without any waste. This is perfect over Whole30 granola too!)
Bring the coconut milk to a simmer in a saucepan, add the quinoa, cover and let simmer for 15 minutes. In the last 5 minutes of cooking add the lime zest and cilantro. Remove from heat, let cool for 5 minutes and then fluff with a fork.
You could also add a variety of herbs or vegetables to your liking, zucchini, onion, or your favorite choice, just cook right along with the quinoa. Then for some special touches, sprinkle a couple tablespoons of sliced green onion and/or cilantro on top. You can also press the cooked quinoa into a small prep bowl, then invert onto your plate for a welcoming presentation. You will devour this with your eyes first - yum!
This side dish goes perfectly with my recipe for Hawaiian Chicken, or well really, any other main dish you are serving! Enjoy!