Spicy Thai Coconut Quinoa

One of the most flavorful dishes I’ve ever made. There’s a bit of prep work involved for this recipe in order to separate the cilantro leaves and cut up the veggies, but well worth the effort. The dressing made more than I really needed, so I saved and used in a rice stir fry another day. A great item to make a for a potluck or can just make for yourself and eat it for three dinners like me. 🙂

Total Time: ~1 1/4 hours (Prep – 30 Minutes | Cook – 40 minutes)

Special Equipment:

Food Processor or Blender

Ingredients (serves 4-6):

For the dressing
1 2/3 cups fresh cilantro (from about 1/2 bunch), long, thick stems removed
3/4 cup roasted, unsalted almonds (original recipe uses Peanuts, I used almonds since I had them on hand, choose your preference)
1/3 cup Sriracha hot sauce
2 tablespoons finely grated lime zest (from about 3 medium limes)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (from about 3 medium limes)
1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon honey
2 medium garlic cloves
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

For the quinoa
1 1/2 cups quinoa, any color or variety
1 (14-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk
1 1/3 cups vegetable stock or low-sodium vegetable broth
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
1 (14- to 16-ounce) package firm tofu
2 medium carrots (about 8 ounces)
1 medium broccoli head (about 1 pound)
4 medium scallions
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

To garnish
Coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
Coarsely chopped roasted, unsalted almonds
Thinly sliced scallions


For the dressing

  • Place all of the ingredients in a food processor fitted with a blade attachment. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, about 1 minute; set aside.

For the quinoa

  1. Rinse the quinoa in a strainer under cold water until the water runs clear. Place in a large saucepan; add the coconut milk, vegetable broth, and measured salt; and stir to combine. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the white outer casings on the quinoa have popped, revealing translucent little beads, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare tofu and vegetables:
    • Tofu – Line a large plate with several layers of paper towels. Drain the tofu and pat dry with paper towel, cut it into large dice, and place it in a single layer on the paper-towel-lined plate; set aside.
    • Carrots – Trim and cut into 1/8-inch-thick rounds; set aside.
    • Broccoli – Trim the stem to 1/2 inch and cut the head into 1-inch florets; set aside.
    • Scallions – Thinly slice the white and light green parts; set aside.
  3. When the quinoa is ready, remove it to a large serving bowl and set aside. It’s okay if a little watery, just make sure all the quinoa have popped. Wash the saucepan, fill it with water, and season with salt. Cover with a tightfitting lid and bring to a boil over high heat.
  4. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the tofu and cook without stirring until the bottoms are golden brown, about 4 minutes. (While the tofu is cooking, line the plate you drained it on with fresh paper towels.) Flip and cook until the other sides are golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes more. Using a slotted spoon or spatula, remove to the paper-towel-lined plate and season with salt; set aside.
  5. Back to saucepan with boiling water, add the carrots and cook until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove them to the bowl with the quinoa. Return the water to a boil, add the broccoli, and cook until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain in a colander and place in the bowl with the quinoa and carrots.
  6. Add the cooked tofu, dressing, and scallions to the bowl and stir to combine. Garnish with additional cilantro, almonds, and scallions before serving.

Recipe adapted from Chow.com.



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Digital guru by day, food junkie by night exploring the world one bite at a time.