Vanilla Coconut Quinoa Pudding

This vanilla coconut quinoa pudding is for when you’re too lazy to turn on the oven, but want something warm and creamy and comforting and decide that eating healthy is something to think about in January.

This one was pretty easy; aside from the fact that I had to go to two stores to find coconut milk (Target was fresh out; and then my mom castigated me for buying $2/can coconut milk from the local Japanese market) and that the pudding boiled over, even with the flame on the lowest setting. Let me tell you, cleaning caramelized coconut milk off of the pan and stove was not as fun as I wish it was.

The recipe says to stir every few minutes; I highly suggest doing this, since it keeps the pudding easy to stir. I skipped a couple of turns while watching TV, at which point the pudding not only boiled over, but got so thick it was starting to stick to the sides of the pan.

The final vanilla coconut quinoa pudding was really rich. Too rich for me, actually, so I had to stir some almond milk into my portion. I’d suggest using light coconut milk, or even going for some skim cow’s milk. This also served to loosen up the pudding, which was pretty thick and not quite as creamy as I wanted. I thought the flavor was spot-on, though. It had this great coconut flavor, and the amount of sweetness was perfect for me. I had my portion topped with a sprinkling of toasted walnuts, which worked perfectly (though I imagine that the coconut, almonds and berries would be just as, if not more, delicious).

Vanilla Coconut Quinoa Pudding
adapted slightly from Half Baked Harvest

4 cups light coconut milk (you can substitute in some skim milk, but the pudding may be looser)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 tsp vanilla extract (or use 1 tsp extract + the seeds from 1 vanilla bean)
1/2 cup toasted unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds
8 oz berries (fresh or frozen; obviously, defrost if using frozen)

Combine the coconut milk, sugar and a pinch of salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add the quinoa and stir. Reduce heat to low, cover the pot slightly, and cook for about 30 minutes stirring every few minutes. Once the quinoa is cooked and the milk has thickened, add the vanilla. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Ladle into bowls. Top with coconut, almonds and fruit. Serve warm or cold.

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