It was different this year. Different, in an oh-so-wonderful kind of way.

Christmas took its same course of stress and scrambling to make sure I got everyone something thoughtful and nice, sticky notes of who is cooking what, messages of what time we need to be where and remember to tell grandma an hour earlier because you know she'll be late. A joyful frenzy builds through December, to a day that is, well, joyful and frenzied? Hugh and I were able to spend time with everyone, chased around our adorable niece, bundled up for church outside, stayed up super late laughing and chatting with each other; I made undercooked french toast for my family, got a vacuum from Santa, and soaked it in. The holidays are some of the sweetest and funniest times with my family, and having a sparkly new husband to enjoy everything with, made it even better. We got home late Christmas night after talking all day, and I told Hugh the presents were nice, but my favorite part is just the time. We don't often have days with no where else to be than where you are, doing just what you're doing. You've got to savor days like that.

So here we are again, a bit overloaded on sweets and craving foods on the lighter side. This salad is so tasty and gorgeous with all the contrasts of color. Little bit of crunch from the pomegranates and pistachios, and just a subtle touch of coconut in the quinoa. I've been eating leftovers with an egg on top, and I think it'd work well with just about any protein.

May the rest of your holiday season be full of the giving and taking of time.

COCONUT QUINOA + SPINACH SALAD // Serves 6 as a side
I know some are still wary of using raw spinach, and I think arugula would be great as well, maybe just use a bit less as it's a bit stronger in flavor.

1 Cup Quinoa
1 Cup Light Coconut Milk
1/3 Cup Vegetable Broth or Water

2 Large Shallots
2 Tbsp. Coconut Oil*

1 Cup Fresh Pomegranate Seeds
4 Cups-ish Organic Baby Spinach
1/2 Cup Toasted Pistachio Nuts

2 Tbsp. Orange Juice**
2 tsp. Fresh Thyme or 1 tsp. Dried Thyme
3 Tbsp. Olive Oil (I used a lemon infused olive oil - SO good)

1. In a small pot, combine the quinoa, coconut milk, water and a pinch of salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until the liquid is absorbed, this will take about 10-12 minutes. Empty quinoa into a bowl and allow to cool.
2. Slice the shallots width wise into thin coins. Heat up the oil in a 8-10'' saute pan (you don't have many to crisp up). * If you don't have coconut oil on hand, canola oil will work as an alternative, it's just not that great for you. Once it's just shimmering, add in the slice shallots. Stand by them, as they'll burn quickly. They will dance around a bit, and once you see the edges turn golden flip them over or move them around. Set up a double layer of paper towels, remove the shallots just as they turn brown and drain on the paper towels.
3. In a small bowl, mix the orange juice, thyme, olive oil and generous pinches of salt and pepper. **Any citrus would work - lemon, lime...whatever is on hand.
4. You want to make sure the quinoa is room temperature before you toss, or it will wilt the spinach, and we don't want that. Maybe you do, but I don't. In a salad bowl, toss the spinach, half of the cooked quinoa, half of the pom seeds and half of the pistachios with desired amount of dressing. Your choice as to what ratio you want, you can save the rest of the quinoa for later, or toss it in, again, the ratios are up to you. Garnish the top with the rest of the pom seeds, pistachios and all of your crispy shallots. Little grind of fresh pepper and enjoy.

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Reader Comments (59)

I found your beautiful blog by way of sergio mottola - this recipe looks delicious & i am running home right now to whip it up Lillie Louise

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLillie Louise

[...] I use it for making quinoa "oatmeal" and noatmeal. Coconut quinoa for thai curries. Add it to spicy tomato sauce to make butter chicken. Blend it into your protein [...]

[...] more quinoa favorites: Coconut Quinoa Quinoa Falafel Cranberry Raisin Quinoa with Yogurt Quinoa Veggie Soup Spicy Quinoa Salad Quinoa [...]

[...] myself to this important post, BTW), I felt compelled to share it. Long ago I read about a Coconut Quinoa + Spinach Salad on Sprouted Kitchen (a gorgeous and delicious blog), and it’s always been stuck in my head. [...]

Wow! This sound amazing!!

September 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBeth

As a fellow quinoa lover, this recipes sounds absolutely amazing. I found your blog through the GreatList's 60 must-read blogs, and they were right, your photos are more than stunning. Truly beautiful. I've never thought to cook quinoa in coconut milk, but this will be my next recipe. Can't wait!

January 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlyssa

I made this for dinner tonight and it was awesome. I used much more quinoa per serving than in your photo, which made it filling enough to eat as a main dish. I used almond slivers instead of pistachios and craisins instead of pomegranate, because those were already in my pantry, but next time I'll use pomegranate for sure...I'm sure the burst of juice would be the perfect complement to the fried onions. Thanks for another great recipe and for liking my photo on Instagram!

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNaomi

That's a fantastic salad. I love sprouts. I also use lightly grilled pumpkin seeds a lot too for sprinkling over salads. They taste so good, are really cheap and apparently healthier than nuts.

March 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

Nice... we just started using coconut oil on salads and in smoothies which is crazy because I never did like the taste of coconut but am enjoying the oil so maybe will try this.
thanks for the share.

March 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterManny"the health nut"

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