janet @ the taste space

Coconut Quinoa and Kale Salad with a Tropical Cilantro-Cashew Pesto

In Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian), Salads on February 23, 2013 at 6:08 AM

I am loving your enthusiasm for ChefTap. Turns out I am a week early harping its awesomeness. It isn’t a new app. In fact it has been out for over 2 years. Kate, one of its developers (and such a sweetie), told me they will be releasing their newest version in a week which promises to be smoother and faster with a new facelift, so definitely stay tuned.

For those of you still in a deep winter freeze, I hear your plight.

The winter blahs. When you are already tired of the root veggies and dreaming of what it would be like in a warmer climate. Thinking any excuse to head to Texas seems like a good idea. Except I should be studying instead of travelling. There is no excuse to stop cooking, though. What better way to merry my longing for the tropics than to bring it back into my kitchen? Here is a recipe from Belize.

With a new-found craving for pesto, I was excited about trying this non-traditional pesto filled with toasted cashews, cilantro and a hefty dose of garlic. I brought it to a recent gathering and was thrilled that I decided to make a double batch of the pesto. A first lick of the pesto had me swooning. I first served it smeared into a quinoa and kale salad topped with toasted coconut. The zest of the pesto was lost as it was diluted in the salad but the main flavours were present. Less bold, more tame. More for the masses. Adding dollops of even more pesto to the salad helped highly the pesto’s prowess. Later in the week, I added the pesto to zucchini noodles along with some white beans for a delicious tropical spin on alternative spaghetti.

Have a favourite pesto? Here are other ones I have enjoyed:

Lemon Basil Almond Pesto
Hazelnut-Sage Pesto
White Bean Basil Pesto

This is my submission to this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Terry, and to this month‘s Herbs on Saturday.

Coconut Quinoa and Kale Salad with a Tropical Cilantro-Cashew Pesto
Adapted from Cookie + Kate

1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed well
scant 1 cup broth or water
4 cups chopped kale (1 small bunch) (200g prepped)
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1/2 small to medium red onion, chopped (omitted because I forgot, but would have been nice)
1/3 cup coconut flakes, toasted

Tropical Cilantro-Cashew Pesto
2 cups cilantro, packed
scant 1/2 cup cashews, toasted
3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tbsp olive oil, to thin to your desired consistency
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
pinch red pepper flakes, optional

1. Begin by preparing your quinoa: Bring vegetable broth to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, add quinoa. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until all of the liquid is absorbed, about 15-20 minutes. Keep covered for an additional 5 minutes to steam. Set aside.

2. Meanwhile, thinly slice your kale and sprinkle with lime juice and salt. Massage kale for 5 minutes. Do not cheat. It will wilt and turn a darker green and reduce to half its size. Set aside.

3. Meanwhile, make your pesto: Place cilantro, cashews, garlic, lime juice, and a dash of salt in a food processor. Blend until a smooth paste. Thin with oil until you reach your desired consistency. Season with salt, pepper and chile flakes, if desired.

4. Use half of the pesto to combine with the cooked and cooled quinoa. Stir into the wilted kale. Add additional pesto as required. Top with toasted coconut.

Serves 4.

  1. What is ChefTap? I searched for it in the iPhone App Store, but it offered no results.

  2. Looks absolutely mouth watering, Janet. Yum. I love cilantro.

    Btw, what are you studying?

  3. Very unique. A must-have!

  4. That pesto sounds so delicious and is such a great way to get some fresh flavor in the middle of winter!

  5. So so so beyond lovely meeting you and the fella today, my darling Janet! I hope the rest of your anniversary was joyful beyond imagining :) xoxo

  6. Wow, i discovered some intriguing pesto ideas!… I must try the sage one too!
    Thanks Janet for this entry!… It looks and sounds delicious… I love quinoa!

  7. […] taste space prepared a salad packed with delicious and healthy ingredients… a coconut Quinoa and kale salad with tropical cilantro-cashew pesto!…i love quinoa and this pesto sounds delicious!!! …thanks Janet for this great […]

  8. ANOTHER lovely and innovative entry for Herbs on Saturday thanks Janet! I love the look of this…….Karen

  9. […] 20. Coconut Quinoa and Kale Salad with a Tropical Cilantro-Cashew Pesto by Janet of the TasteSpace: […]

  10. Wow what a lovely dish- especially that pesto! I have never made a pesto with cilantro so I’m certainly intrigued! And anything tropical is more than welcome on my table lately to combat this dreary weather.

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