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October 4, 2016

Asparagus Carrot Masala with Quinoa

by Anne Paddock

The Purple Carrot meal kit service continues to inspire me with the weekly delivery of ingredients and recipe cards to make delicious plant-based meals with three noteworthy changes:  I use less oil than the recipes call for, omit the jalapeño or hot peppers, and add more vegetables which generally turns a meal meant for two persons into four servings, or as a side dish for 6-8. The meals rely heavily on spices which add flavor to the dishes (which is why I leave out the jalapeño or hot peppers) and is a great way to introduce plant-based dishes to carnivores and vegetarians as a side dish.

Most of the recipes call for 2-4 tablespoons of oil; I rarely use more than a tablespoon and sometimes just a teaspoon, substituting water or low sodium vegetable broth, which makes for a delicious meal but without the added fat inherent in oils.  As for vegetables, my refrigerator is always full of vegetables so finding complementary vegetables to add to a recipe is easy and not only adds flavor but also color and texture.Asparagus_Carrot_Masala_With_Quinoa

The following recipe for Asparagus Carrot Masala with Quinoa is a variation of the Purple Carrot’s recipe for Carrot Masala with Red Quinoa and Toasted Coconut.Asparagus_Carrot_Masala_with_Quinoa

Asparagus Carrot Masala with Quinoa (serves 4 as a main course or 6-8 as a side dish)


  • 1 cup of quinoa
  • 2 cups of low sodium vegetable broth or water
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 4 medium-sized carrots
  • 1 bunch fresh asparagus
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons black cumin
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1 15-ounce can chopped or diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup low sodium vegetable broth or water
  • 1/4 cup coconut flakes


Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Place the coconut flakes on a small tray and bake for 4-5 minutes until lightly browned. Remove and set aside in a small bowl for later use.

Place 2 cups of low sodium vegetable broth or water into a saucepan and add the quinoa. Bring to a boil, stir, reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the liquid is absorbed, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Peel the carrots and slice into thin 1-inch diagonal pieces.

Cut the asparagus (tips and upper stems) into 1-inch pieces. Discard the lower stems.

Place the coconut oil (1 teaspoon) in a large pan on medium heat and add the 2 teaspoons of brown sugar. Blend. Add the chopped onion. Sauté for 3-4 minutes until softened and translucent. Press the garlic through a garlic press and add to the onions along with the grated ginger. Stir for 1 minute and then add the sliced carrots, spices, tomatoes, and 1/2 cup of low vegetable sodium broth or water. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Remove the cover and add the asparagus. Cover and cook for 10 minutes until the carrots are tender. For softer carrots cook for an additional 5 minutes but don’t overcook.Asparagus_Carrot_Masala

Scoop the quinoa into individual bowls or plates. Cover the quinoa with the vegetable mixture and then sprinkle the toasted coconut over the top. Serve immediately.Asparagus_Carrot_Masala_with_Quinoa

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