Coconut Quinoa with Tandoori Roasted Veggies and Chard

You've probably had a lot of quinoa, but have you cooked it with coconut milk? Divine. Prepared with the coconut milk, sweet sauteed onions, and pungent spices, the quinoa is so comforting and rich in flavor. 

This dish is a wonderful balance of flavors and textures, with the creamy coconut quinoa and bright, fresh greens. I like using both cooked greens and raw veggies for maximum contrast. 

I'm always encouraging my clients to get their greens. Dark leafy green vegetables like Swiss chard, collards, kale, arugula, broccoli rabe, and bok choy are nutritional powerhouses, providing us with calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, zinc, and vitamins A, C, E, and K. They are loaded with fiber, folic acid, chlorophyll, and many other micronutrients and phytochemicals.  

Greens also help to support the liver (and thus our detoxification pathways), strengthen our immune system, and give us a light, clean energy. 

I like this dish with chard, but you could try any greens that you like. 

This is comfort food that hits the spot AND leaves you feeling good afterward. It's also easy to prepare. 


Coconut Quinoa with Tandoori Roasted Veggies and Chard

Time: 45 minutes.  Effort: easy

Serves: 4
Gluten-free, vegan

Roasted Cauliflower

  • 1 head cauliflower, stemmed and cut into bite-sized florets
  • 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons tandoori spice blend (*See note below)
  • Sea salt to taste

Coconut quinoa

  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2-inch chunk ginger, finely chopped
  • 1/2-inch piece fresh turmeric, finely chopped, OR 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 can (14 ounce) coconut milk (full-fat)
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed well in a fine mesh strainer
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard (about 6 cups, stemmed and chopped in large pieces)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • ¾ cup sunflower sprouts (optional)
  • Optional garnishes: Sprinkle of red pepper flakes, 1/4 cup toasted almond slivers, chickpeas for added protein


1. Roast the cauliflower: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss the cauliflower florets with melted coconut oil (I put the oil in the oven for a few minutes in a metal measuring cup), tandoori spice blend, and some sea salt. Roast for 25 minutes in the middle of the oven or until the cauliflower is tender and golden.
2. Prepare the quinoa: In a large pot with a lid, heat the coconut oil over medium heat. Add the onion, ginger root, and turmeric root and cook until it softens, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Add cumin and cardamom and stir another minute. Pour in the water, coconut milk, and rinsed quinoa. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes until quinoa is done, then remove the pot from heat.

3. In the last minute of cooking, add the chopped chard to gently steam and warm it. NOTE: Only add the greens that you intend to eat for that meal. If you will have leftovers the next day, store the extra greens separately and add fresh greens to the dish.

4. Taste quinoa and add sea salt if desired.  Spoon the quinoa into bowls and top with roasted cauliflower, red pepper slices, and sunflower sprouts. Garnish with red pepper flakes, toasted almonds, and/or chickpeas if you like.




I make my own tandoori spice blend and use it on a variety of things, such as shaking on cut sweet potato wedges to make sweet potato fries.  You can make your own blend with the spices below to use in this recipe and keep it on hand to add to other roasted vegetables. It is versatile and so flavorful.

Or, keep it simple and make the recipe above with: ½ teaspoon each of the following ground spices: chili powder, cumin, paprika, and cinnamon.

Tandoori Spice Blend:

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 tablespoon cardamom (ground, or seeds)

2 tablespoons coriander seeds

½ whole nutmeg, grated

4 tablespoons cumin seeds

2 teaspoons whole cloves

2-3 sticks cinnamon

2 tablespoons ground turmeric

2 tablespoons paprika

Grind all whole spices together in a spice grinder (aka coffee grinder). Mix in the ground spices (turmeric and paprika).  Store spice blend in a sealed glass jar.

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