Mahalo Macadamia Quinoa Pilaf

2 1/3 Cups Water

6 Dried Whole Hibiscus Blossoms, or 6 Bags Hibiscus Tea

1 14-Ounce Can (1 3/4 Cups) Full-Fat Coconut Milk

1/4 Cup Red Beet Juice or Puree (Optional, for Color)

1/2 - 1 Teaspoon Salt

2 Cups Raw Quinoa

1 Cup Macadamia Nuts, Coarsely Chopped

1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil

1 Large Sweet Onion, Diced

4 Cloves Garlic, Finely Minced

1/4 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper

1 Large Scallion, Thinly Sliced

Place the water and hibiscus blossoms or tea bags in a large saucepan over medium heat, and bring the water to a boil. Cover, remove the pot from the stove, and allow the tea to steep for about 30 minutes.

Squeeze out and discard the spent blossoms or tea bags. Return the pot to the stove and introduce the coconut milk, beet juice or puree, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring the liquids to a full boil before adding in the quinoa. Cover and turn down the heat to low, keeping the contents of the pot at a gentle simmer. Cook for 16 - 20 minutes, until all of the liquid has been absorbed and the quinoa is tender. Turn off the heat but keep covered for 10 minutes to steam and finish cooking.

Meanwhile, toss the macadamia nuts into a dry skillet over medium heat, and stir constantly until they're lightly toasted and smelling irresistibly nutty. Quickly transfer to the pot of quinoa to prevent them from burning and lightly wipe out the skillet.

Melt the oil to the skillet before adding in the onion and garlic. Saute, stirring periodically, until golden brown all over. Transfer to the pot of quinoa, along with the pepper and scallion. Mix thoroughly to combine and distribute the nuts and onions evenly throughout the quinoa. Stir in additional salt to taste, if desired.

Serve immediately while still warm, or chill for at least four hours for a refreshing cold salad.

Makes 6 - 8 Side Dish Servings

©Hannah Kaminsky http://www.BitterSweetBlog.com