Speckled with colourful veggies and fragrant toasted coconut, this Confetti Coconut Quinoa Salad is worth celebrating!
As bloggers, a question we often get asked is “where do you get inspiration for all those recipes?” In short, everywhere. Our brains are now wired to be hyper alert to all possible inspiration. More often than not, inspiration comes from the delicious foods we put in our mouths. We’ll be dining at a restaurant and upon biting into our meal will look at each other and exclaim, “WE MUST REMAKE THIS!” It’s been a long time coming, but this recipe is a remake from one of our campus go-to’s.
I’m usually the type of student that self-imposes a sort of ‘house lock-down’ when it’s exam season. But on the rare occasion the sun is shining and I feel wasteful staying indoors, I bus my lazy bum out to study on campus. To motivate myself to change out of pajamas into some ‘real’ clothes (possibly the first time in a few days), I head to my favourite campus cafe and splurge on a $10 plate of salad. I almost never pay for salad, but their salads are so. good. And you can sample three on one plate, so that helps me justify the steep price (keep in mind this is supposed to be student budget-friendly). The plate of salad ‘buys’ me enough time to work at their outdoor tables for a few hours. Getting my superfoods, vitamin D, and last-minute studying done all at once! How’s that for productivity?
Of the salad array available, one that initially caught my eye was their coconut quinoa salad. The toasted coconut, quinoa, and roasted brocooli combo confuzzled my brain but I decided to give it a try anyways. The bursts of flavour were unlike any other quinoa dish I’ve ever tried. I may be a bit biased because I love coconut, but trust me: this combo really works!
Since that first bite two years ago, this coconut quinoa has been siting patiently on my ‘recipe to-do list’. I think it’s finally time to give it some attention. To make this dish look like the cafe version, I cooked up a mixture of red and white quinoa. If you have tri-coloured quinoa or only one colour, you can swap it in for the 1/2 cup needed. The confetti-like colours and zesty lime dressing will surely brighten up any gloomy spring day or help you celebrate the warm sunny ones!
- ¼ cup red quinoa
- ¼ cup white quinoa
- 1 cup water
- 2 cups broccoli florets, fresh or frozen works
- A drizzle of oil
- Salt & black pepper, to taste
- ⅓ cup thinly shaved red cabbage
- ⅓ cup shredded carrot
- ⅓ cup cooked corn
- 1 handful finely diced red bell pepper
- ⅓ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- Juice of ½ small lime
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp maple syrup
- 2 tsp orange champagne vinegar*
- 1 small clove garlic, grated (or very finely minced)
- ¼ tsp mustard
- A generous pinch each of sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
- Put quinoa and water in a medium pot and cover with a lid. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once at a boil, turn heat down to low and cook for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn the heat off and leave the lid on for 5 more minutes. Uncover after 5 minutes, fluff with a fork, and leave it to cool.
- While quinoa is cooking, toss broccoli with a bit of oil (about 2 tsp), salt, and pepper and roast on a parchment paper-lined baking try at 425°F for 20-25 minutes.
- To make the dressing, whisk all ingredients together until homogeneous. Taste and adjust sweetness, sourness, and saltiness as needed.
- After removing broccoli from the oven, line a baking tray with a new sheet of parchment paper and spread the shredded coconut evenly in a single layer. Toast at 375°F until golden brown, about 2 or 3 minutes (watch carefully as it can burn quickly!)
- To assemble, toss cooled quinoa, red cabbage, carrot, corn, and red bell pepper with dressing until combined.
- Transfer quinoa mixture onto a serving dish and arrange roasted broccoli florets around the edge. Garnish with toasted coconut on top and serve.