Back to basics is the blog theme of the month, and it doesn’t get any more basic than this creamy curried quinoa recipe. I stole a cue from my quinoa breakfast pudding, and cooked the quinoa in a combination of light coconut milk and water to create a subtly creamy texture. The grain gets mixed together with sautéed vegetables, a few flavorful spices, and a touch of fresh ginger and garlic for heat. It’s the kind of dish that can be whipped up easily on a busy weeknight, and if it makes your life easier, then you can use a frozen and thawed vegetable mix. The final dish is flavorful and tasty–nothing fancy, nothing life-changing, but a quick, nutritious meal that relies on simple ingredients.
(Plus, the recipe gets some bonus points for lots and lots of color!)
What I like about this recipe is that it’s some sort of hybrid between a more traditional curry–which would have some simmering liquid and a very creamy texture–and, say, a curried quinoa salad, which would be more dry. Cooking the quinoa in light coconut milk gives it a creamy texture that is definitely a change from regular quinoa, but it doesn’t feel like a soup or stew, either.
This is an easy recipe to whip up and then use in various ways as your week progresses. Eat it as is with a veggie side dish, toss a cup of leftovers into a big lunch salad, or even heat it up for breakfast (and add some chickpeas or tofu for protein, if you’re so inclined). The leftovers are versatile enough to keep on giving. As I gear up for returning to school, I’m on the lookout for recipes like this one, that can shape shift a little throughout the week, finding themselves in multiple meals. I’m guessing the quinoa would be great stuffed into a wrap with some coconut bacon, some roasted chickpeas, or some tempeh bacon.
Creamy Curried Quinoa
- 1 1/4 cups dry quinoa white quinoa works best for this recipe
- 1 15- ounce can light coconut milk
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- Dash black pepper
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 1/4 cup green onions white parts only (save the tops for garnish!)
- 1 clove garlic crushed or minced
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped or grated ginger
- 1 1/2 cups cauliflower florets
- 1 1/2 cups broccoli florets
- 1 small red bell pepper seeded and cut into strips
- 1 cup grated carrot
- 1/2 cup thawed frozen green peas
- 1 tablespoon tamari
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
- Rinse the quinoa through a fine sieve for about a minute. Transfer the grain to a medium sized pot and add the coconut milk, water, salt, curry, turmeric and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the quinoa to a simmer, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the grain is tender and fluffy. Turn off the heat and allow the quinoa to rest for about 5-10 minutes.
- While the quinoa cooks, heat the oil in a medium sized skillet or sauté pan. Add the onions, garlic, and ginger. Sautee for about a minute, or until the garlic is very fragrant. Add the vegetables, tamari, and rice vinegar. Cover the pan with a lid and allow the vegetables to steam cook for about 5-10 minutes, uncovering and stirring every couple minutes to make sure that they don't burn. If any of the garlic starts to burn, add a few tablespoons of water to the pan.
- When the vegetables are cooked, but still tender, transfer them to the pot with the quinoa. Mix everything together and serve, topped with chopped green onion tops or cashew pieces.
I made this dish on Monday night, per my menu plan for the week, and I was so happy with how easily it came together. We enjoyed it with a big salad and a few slices of leftover baked tofu–a really nice, balanced dinner overall.
I added a tiny sprinkle of chopped cashews to the dish for crunch. Slivered almonds or roasted chickpeas would be great, too.
If you’re not a quinoa fan (or don’t have any around), then I imagine that millet or amaranth would be great in the dish, too (or a combination of both of them). I haven’t tried it with rice yet, and you may need to add slightly more water if you make that switch, but I’m guessing that jasmine rice would be a perfect (and flavorful) substitute, too.
Hope you enjoy this no-fuss, easy vegan dinner, friends. I look forward to checking in this weekend with some recipe links and reads for weekend reading. Happy end of the week!