Although coconut is a source of saturated fat, the type of saturated fat it contains is controversial. Many pro-coconut advocates say it’s healthy because it contains medium-chained triglycerides while are easily absorbed by the body. However, there is strong evidence that suggests that some of the specific fatty acids in coconut have been shown to raise your bad (LDL) and good (HDL) cholesterol, along with your total cholesterol (which isn’t very healthy).
Regardless on which side you stand, there’s no denying that coconut in its many forms adds tremendous flavor to dishes. But remember, a small amount goes a long way.
Skill level: Beginner
Start to Finish: 39 minutes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 24 minutes
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 cup quinoa, well rinsed
1¾ cups of water
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
Zest of one lime
¼ cup cilantro minced
¼ cup currants, or other dried fruit chopped such as cranberries or raisins
½ cup red pepper, small dice
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons canola or grape seed oil (choose a mild oil)
½ teaspoon honey
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1. Heat the coconut oil in small pot. Add the rinsed quinoa and let it toast, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes until the quinoa is coated and starts to stick to the pot. Then add 1 ¾ cup water, ½ teaspoon salt, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to simmer, cover and cook for about 20 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed. Take the pot off the heat, gently fluff with a fork, add lime zest and coconut flakes, and let sit partially covered for another 10 minutes.
2. Transfer quinoa to a bowl, and let it cool to room temperature. To cool the quinoa more quickly, spread on a baking sheet with a fork.
3. Add the remaining ingredients: cilantro, currants and red pepper. Drizzle with dressing and toss gently. Taste, and add more lime, salt, or pepper, to your taste.
Nutrition Information (per cup)
Calories: 313; Total Fat: 16 grams; Saturated Fat: 7 grams; Protein: 7 grams: Carbohydrates: 37 grams; Sugars: 8 grams; Fiber: 5 grams; Cholesterol: 0 milligrams; Sodium: 451 milligrams
Recipe and photo by chef and culinary instructor Jennifer Rossano
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