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Coconutty Kaniwa Winter Salad

Although we have shared 25 recipes so far in this Holiday Countdown, we haven't shared a salad—until now! This coconut kaniwa winter salad from Elenore Bendel Zahn of Earth Sprout is both astonishingly delicious and impossibly beautiful.

Kaniwa, an ancient grain, is infused with rich fragrant coconut and is combined with vibrant purple cabbage, carrots, and parsnips for a jeweled tone winter dish. Crunchy walnuts add fantastic texture, as do bright bursting pomegranate arils. Finally, a simple dressing of oil, maple syrup, lime, garlic, and tamari offers the balancing, but flawlessly delicate, salt component and helps bind this magnificent salad together. The dish is an easy and truly wonderful addition to any holiday table!


Holy Moly, it’s 2014! I guess you already knew that but anyways – Happy New Year darling dearest sensationally fantastic YOU!

If your holidays looked somewhat like our did you’ve been hopping around town / country to various parts of the family + extended family to celebrate Christmas. The digital clock on your phone have been showing numbers of ”too late” more times then not and wherever you look you wish you’d see a huge fresh salad loaded with super greens and healing goodstuff (sometimes even a bowl of plain ol’ hummus would make you jump with euphoria).

Now. I’m not saying this to sound like some holiday food hater because I’m not (hello swedish sweet rice porridge with cinnamon and a little too much chocolate). I am simply recognizing the fact that without proper planning and may I say food interfering it can easily happen that a plant powered or even health conscious person starts a new year without being able to spell the word alkaline OR being really hungry. This is where this Ka-pow Kaniwa Winter Salad came in and believe me, it can save lives (or put us on the right track now – better late then never). I should also mention that I have awesome relatives and family whom many of them reaches outside of their own food comfort zones when we visit. Fabians mom made an incredible vegan savory sweet potato tart, my grandmother had arranged a warm lemony brussel sprout and bean salad, my dad and his wife had ordered beautiful vegan food from our favorite local café and my mom.. well, I don’t know where to begin. She is just the most amazing soul I know (no, not only for making insanely tasty veggie holiday dishes).

In the spirit of holiday time-pressure I made and shot this purple luscious winter salad before rushing off to Fabians family and into a couple of days of Christmas magic/insanity.. and luckily the bowl fit into our packed car which was already filled with stuff (blaming Caspian here;). The salad proved to be quite a hit even though none had ever heard of Kaniwa – the super seed star actor of this dish (have you?)

Fun & Fabulous Facts

For today’s section of ”Fun & Fabulous Facts” I debated with myself weather I should write about the amazing Kaniwa seed or if I should praise the walnuts in this recipe (which by the way were collected by my aunt in her garden an given to me just after Caspian was born). Even though I love the walnut story I opted for Kaniwa (or Canihua) because if you two have not already been introduced, it’s time! I mean, it’s a new year after all. So. Kaniwa may be a rather new acquaintance for us all but it’s actually one of the precious ancient ”grains” like quinoa, teff and amaranth. These nutritional powerhouses has more then one thing in common but worth remembering is that they are all gluten-free. Meaning, we can enjoy them in various delicious meals just as we would with gluten grains but this time without the heaviness and health issues that can follow the trail of for example cous cous, bulgur or pasta (which are all wheat in different shapes).

At first glance Kaniwa looks like as if an amaranth seed dressed up in a reddish-brown gown but if you look closer it’s pretty much an exact copy of a red quinoa seed, though much smaller. The taste and texture is also very much similar to the red quinoa as it does not get as soft and fluffy as the white quinoa does and is, once it’s been cooked rather crunchy. By now we all know quinoa is something rather spectacular nutrition-wise, well, this ancient newcomer plays in the same division. Hidden in these teeny tiny little seeds we find plenty of essential fatty acids but not only the much discussed omega 3’s, no here’s a good load of omega 6 and 9! And then there is the iron (four times more then in quinoa) and the (complete!) protein. Needless to say, it’s time to bring this baby home to your kitchen. Try cooked or sprouted Kaniwa in your pancakes, breakfast cereals, soups, cookies and of course, salads! Let’s make 2014 the modern year with a touch of ancient (grains) to it.

Coconutty Kaniwa Winter Salad

Sometimes the winter months seem hopeless when it comes to finding fresh produce but if we dig a bit deeper there is actually and overload goodness available to us. The gratitude I feel when preparing beautiful carrots, parsnips, red cabbage – all a tad sweeter from the cold – is beyond words. Mama Earth sure do take care of us. Sturdy winter veggies combined with delicate and Kaniwa seeds cooked in coconut milk makes for a winning winter salad.

Coconutty Kaniwa 2/3 cup kaniwa seeds 1 can coconut milk (2 cups) 1/2 tsp good quality salt

1. Add Kaniwa seeds and coconut milk to a saucepan. Bring to a boil then let simmer on medium heat for 15-20 minutes. Add salt after 10 minutes. Set aside until you are done preparing vegetables and dressing.

Vegetables 2 parsnips 4 carrots (preferably purple) 1/2 head purple cabbage 1/2 pomegranate, the seeds 1 cup lightly toasted walnuts 1 handful fresh rosemary leaves

1. Peel off the outer skin of the parsnips and carrots using a potato peeler then continue peeling to make the tagliatelle- like veggie strands and add to a large bowl 2. Halve the cabbage head and shred one half very thinly using a sharp knife, rinse. Add the shredded cabbage to the bowl of parsnip and carrot ”tagliatelle”. 3. Toast walnuts until golden in a dry frying pan on medium heat, de-seed the pomegranate and add these two ingredients along with the rosemary leaves and coconutty Kaniwa to the bowl. Note: It’s nice to save some walnuts, pomegranates and rosemary as final salad decoration.

Dressing 1 clove garlic 2 tbsp virgin olive oil 1 tbsp maple syrup 1 lime, the juice 1/2 tsp good quality salt 1 tbsp water 1 tsp tamari

1. Mince the clove of garlic and add to a little jar or glass. 2. Add all other dressing ingredients and whisk it all together with a fork. Pour dressing over the Kaniwa and veggies and combine until all is coated in it’s deliciousness. Enjoy!

Let’s all vow to let 2014 explode with goodness, exciting adventures, big and bigger dreams, miraculous manifestations and lots of ecstatic barefoot dancing.

So.. which ancient grains will you have dancing in your kitchen creations?



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