Photo by Molly Yeh
On these days leading up to Tisha B’av — especially in light of the current conflict in the Middle East — thinking about food doesn’t carry the joyous qualities that it typically does. It almost feels trivial.
In my kitchen, this is not a time for cakes or colorful foods — and for many who have begun their observance, not a time for eating meat. As my mind races with thoughts of Israel and Gaza, my stomach seeks out comfort and nourishment and little else. Here is a simple recipe for a multi-use dish that can be eaten in the days prior to Tisha B’av, to break the fast as a Shabbat meal or even Sunday brunch.
Coconut Quinoa with Nuts and Dates
Makes 4-6 servings
1 13.5-ounce can coconut milk
1 cup water
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
A pinch of kosher salt
1/4 cup honey or brown sugar, or to taste
1 tsp almond extract
3/4 cup toasted nuts, coarsely chopped (I recommend a mix of almonds, hazelnuts, and pistachios, but other combinations will work too)
1/2 cup dates, chopped
Optional: shredded coconut and ground cinnamon, for garnish
1) Combine the coconut milk, water, and quinoa in a saucepan and bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the quinoa is tender and the liquid has been absorbed, about 15-20 minutes.
2) Stir in the salt, honey or brown sugar, and almond extract.
3) Distribute the nuts and dates on top. Add shredded coconut and cinnamon, if desired.
This can be made the night before and eaten cold or gently reheated with a splash of milk (dairy or non-dairy) the next day. Enjoy!