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Kale, Red Onion, Cilantro, Garlic - Coconut Quinoa and kale with Tropical Pesto

Quinoa cooked in coconut milk, tossed with kale and cilantro-cashew “tropical” pesto—a warm salad. Healthy and vegan, yes, but delicious above all.

1 cup quinoa, rinsed under running water in a fine mesh colander for a couple of minutes

1 cup light coconut milk

1 small bunch of kale, stems removed and leaves chopped (for a total of about 4 cups chopped kale)

1/3 cup chopped red onion

Tropical Cilantro-Cashew Pesto

2 cups cilantro, packed

scant 1/2 cup raw, unsalted cashews

4 cloves garlic

1/2 cup olive oil

salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1/2 lime, juiced (or more, to taste)

pinch red pepper flakes, optional

In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup coconut milk and 1 cup water, and bring to a boil. Add the quinoa, cover and simmer for 15 to 17 minutes, until the water is absorbed. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork and mix in the red onion. Cover and set aside. Make the pesto: combine cilantro, cashews and garlic in a food processor. Start processing the mixture, and slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Season with salt, pepper, lime juice and red pepper flakes, all to taste, and blend well. In a medium serving bowl, combine the warm coconut quinoa, chopped kale and pesto. Mix well with a big spoon and season to taste with salt and pepper, if necessary. In a skillet over medium heat, toast the coconut flakes for a few minutes until golden and fragrant, stirring often. Top the salad with coconut flakes and serve warm.

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