One-pot turmeric coconut rice with kale is smooth, aromatic, and flavorful. Coconut milk and toasted coconut flakes are the plant-based riches you love with healthy kale and scallions to add delightfully textured layers.
Build a better rice dish
More than just a side or 'filler,' rice can provide the foundation to build flavorful, healthy recipes that stand alone as satisfying one-pot meals. The trick is using the 'right' rice and adding ingredients that enhance flavor and nutrition.
The ‘right’ rice
Switching from white rice to brown is a relatively painless way to positively impact your overall nutrition. Rice has three parts – the outer shell, the bran, that has all the fiber. The inner part, the germ, contains the bulk of the nutrients, and the endosperm is the white 'filler.'
When you make white rice, that's what you’re getting – the 'filler.' Brown rice, on the other hand, gives you all the fiber and nutrients because it has all three of the rice parts.
You'll find brown rice as long, medium, and short varieties with varying degrees of chewiness and distinctive flavors. Longer grain rice tends to cook up fluffier while the short grain kinds tend to cling together.
My current rice obsession is brown basmati. It takes about 35 minutes to get tender and has a nutty, kind of 'popcorn' aroma.
In addition to rice, here’s what you’ll need to make this aromatic and appealing recipe:
Coconut flakes – Coconut comes in three forms – flakes, shredded, and desiccated. Use coconut flakes for this recipe. It's possible to substitute shredded coconut, but only toast it for about 10 seconds. Desiccated coconut is ground. Don’t bother toasting that. Add a tablespoon or 2 at the end of cooking if you want more coconut flavor.
Sesame seeds – along with the coconut flakes, we’ll toast sesame seeds for a nutty flavor.
Scallions (green onions) – we’re going to use the white and green parts of our scallions – at different times, so try to separate them, but don’t get precious. Your rice will taste delicious no matter how you mix the scallions.
Turmeric - A spice filled with earthy warmth with mild scents of orange and ginger. When the Curcuma root is dried and ground up, it shows up on our shelves as turmeric. It has a bitter and earthy-sweet taste.
Black pepper - this is the only 'heat' spice we're adding. If you want more zip, consider adding red chili flakes after cooking.
Rice – I’ve made my case for brown rice, but here's what's important. You may need to adjust the amount of vegetable broth depending on the kind you use. Brown rice will need more liquid. If you use white rice, add 1 ¾ cups of broth and adjust as needed.
Coconut milk – I usually use a ‘lite’ coconut milk, but you can use a whole fat if you choose. Want to lower the fat content even more? Try adding 1 ¾ cups (14 oz.) plant milk and a drop or 2 of coconut extract.
Vegetable broth – You can use water in place of broth, but I find broth adds more flavor. Broth can also add salt, so resist adding salt until the end
Kale – Hearty kale adds a chewy texture. Be sure to shred it or grab a bag of prepped kale for convenience.
Lime juice and zest– Zesty flavor to brighten up the kale and coconut. To be on the safe side, try to use organic limes if you are using the zest.
The kind of rice you use will dictate the final cooking time and the amount of liquid you need to add. Don’t be afraid to lift the lid a few times, taste the rice, and add more liquid if necessary.
Chopped spinach can be substituted for kale. If you use frozen spinach, be sure to thaw it thoroughly and squeeze out any excess moisture.
You can substitute any plant-milk or coconut water for coconut milk. If you want more coconut flavor, add some coconut extract. This is a calorie and fat-saving strategy that you can use in all your recipes.
Be sure your pan is preheated to medium or medium-high before adding the ingredients. Be sure to stir the ingredients frequently. You can also add broth or water a tablespoon-at-a time if needed.
In place of the rice, you can use the same amount of rinsed quinoa or bulgur wheat. Adjust the cooking time as both will take about 15 minutes to get tender.
Rice before liquids
The process for this recipe is quick and easy. The majority of your time will be letting the rice simmer while you clean up and relax (here’s hoping for that last part).
Once you toast the coconut and sesame seeds, you’ll want to transfer them into a bowl and then, while the pan is hot, drop in your turmeric and scallions. Give 30 seconds moving the scallions before you add the rice.
Yes, we’re adding the rice before the liquid. This helps to toast it and bring out even more of the nutty flavor. Brown rice needs no more than 2 minutes for toasting. If you are out of patience, you can skip this step and just get the rice, coconut milk, and broth in the pot.
Be sure when you add the liquids that you scrape the bottom of the pan. This will free any bits of scallions, turmeric, and toasted rice. This helps to keep the rice from sticking.
What to serve with this recipe
If you want to add a bit of protein directly to the rice, consider a can of adzuki, black beans, or chickpeas.Print
One-pot turmeric coconut rice with kale
One-pot turmeric coconut rice with kale is filled with plant-based riches in one skillet with delightful layers of flavor and textures.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 35 minutes
- Total Time: 55 minutes
- Yield: 6 main servings 1x
- Category: Main Course
- Cuisine: Indian
- Diet: Vegan
- ½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1 tablespoon white or black sesame seeds
- 2 scallions (green onions), thinly sliced, white and green parts separated
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups long-grain rice, such as basmati or jasmine
- 2 cups of water or vegetable broth
- 1 -14 oz. (400 gm.) can coconut milk
- 2 cups chopped kale
- Zest and juice of 1 lime
- Rinse the rice and set it aside.
- In a large skillet or medium pot, toast the coconut flakes and sesame seeds over medium heat until they start to brown (1-2 minutes). Transfer them to a small dish and set aside.
- Be sure the skillet is still hot, then add the white parts of the scallions, turmeric, and ground pepper. Stir them for another minute, then add the rice.
- Toast the rice, stirring it frequently for 2-3 minutes.
- Stir in the coconut milk and broth. Be sure to stir the bottom to lift up bits of scallions and turmeric. Mix the rice well so that it doesn’t clump up.
- Bring the rice to a boil and then turn it down to a low simmer. Cover the pan and cook the rice for 30-35 minutes until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender. Check the rice a few times and add more vegetable broth as needed.
- When the rice is done, check that there is a little bit of liquid left in the pan. Add ½ a cup of water or broth if there is none left before adding the kale. Spread the kale evenly on the top of the skillet. Add the green parts of the scallions and the lemon juice and zest. Replace the lid and steam it for 5 minutes. Cut the heat and leave covered until ready to serve.
- Add the toasted coconut flakes and sesame seeds to the top right before serving.
- Serve with additional lime wedges if desired.
- The type of rice will dictate the amount of liquid and cooking time. If you use white rice, start with 1 1 ¼ cups of broth. Check during the cooking process and add more broth if necessary.
- You can use chopped spinach in place of the kale. If you use frozen spinach, be sure to thaw it and squeeze out any excess moisture.
- If you want a lower fat version of this recipe, replace the coconut milk with plant-milk or coconut water with a few drops of coconut extract for more flavor.
Keywords: turmeric coconut rice with kale