Can you lean in just a little so I can hand you a bite? I so wish I could. This is to live for.
As some epic things start out in our kitchen they are born from lack of fridge ingredients causing creativity to spin out of control. When they turn out good which is a pretty high percentage and probably just means I don’t take huge liberties with my ideas.
This one though, joins the hug of comfort food with healthy food and Thai food. As I was thinking about it I decided I was tired of ‘pilaf’ type quinoa recipes and wanted to bake it but I’ve never done that but kept thinking until I came up with this plan of attack.
If you forgive the scattering of ingredients and just let that lead you to use things you have in your fridge and cabinets, you will find a tasty dish awaits. I think it is worth mentioning though that both the tempeh and potato probably help absorb some of the liquid. So, if you do replace ingredients, keep that in mind.
Start by placing 2 2/3 cups of dehydrated coconut flakes (I use Let’s Do Organic) in your Blendtec container with 3 3/4 cups of boiling water (used my electric tea kettle). Let sit for 40 minutes or longer. Then blend on your ‘whole juice’ setting or for about 1 minute. Now here is where I normally strain the pulp from the liquid to make coconut milk but I thought since this is a baked casserole any coconut shreds might soften and be quite tasty in this dish so I left the liquid with the pulp. This will make about 5 cups total but I poured out 3 cups leaving 2 in the blender, to which I added the following ingredients.
The Peanut Coconut Cream
- 2 cups of blended rehydrated coconut ‘cream’ (from above)
- 1/2 yellow onion
- 3/4 cup natural peanut butter
- 1″ piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar (or lemon or lime juice)
- 1 tablespoon raw agave
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 cup reduced sodium tamari (or Bragg liquid aminos, coconut aminos, or soy sauce)
- Blend for about 50-60 seconds and set aside. You should have about 3 cups of peanut coconut cream.
- 2 1/2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Organic quinoa (this variety doesn’t need to be rinsed)
- 2 cups water
- Place water in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil, add quinoa and bring back to a boil. Boil for about 5 minutes and then remove from heat. Set aside.
- 16 oz package of frozen stir-fry vegetables (I used Target’s Market Pantry brand – nice and cheap)
- 1/2 onion
- 1/4 cup water
- In a skillet add water, vegetables, and onion and bring to a boil, stirring the veg around for 2-3 minutes. Then remove from heat and using the lid or a colander, drain any remaining water. You only want them partially cooked, their internal bits should still be slightly frozen.
- 2 cups of cubed tempeh, tofu, etc (We had these tempeh burgers that we bought at our farmer’s market – they were pretty bland by themselves so tofu and regular tempeh would be a fine substitute)
- the Peanut Coconut Cream
- the Vegetables
- a Protein source
- a baked potato (because why not? We had a leftover one in the fridge that I cubed – feel free to microwave one or bake one ahead of time – your call)
- Add the quinoa to the pan and spread out evenly – it should still be watery and only partially cooked.
- Evenly place the cubed potato and protein source on top of the quinoa and top with drained partially cooked veggies.
- Pour peanut coconut cream evenly across pan and using a spoon or spatula, stir it in a bit.
- Place in the oven and bake 30-40 minutes. I pulled ours out at 30 minutes tasted it and stirred everything up and decided to bake another 10 minutes (for the quinoa’s sake), your call.
- Take out and allow to cool – if you are patient enough – and serve over baby spinach and a garnish of sriracha