Moringa leaves with beets and coconut salad

Coconut: If you have access to it, or are lucky enough to just be able to harvest it in your yard, fresh coconuts are what makes this dish shine. Dried graded coconut works very well too, but has a different flavor that is more pronounced, plus you need to add some more water to the dish. Coconut adds a lot of fiber to this dish.

Harvest and husk you coconuts (if coconuts grow in your garden). One of the three main ingredients for our beet and moringa salad.

Husked coconuts in Hawaii
husked coconuts in Hawaii

Crack the coconuts open and marvel at the ‘meat’. Aren’t they just beautiful? Nature’s bounty growing on a tree.

Covonuts opend with the coconut meat exposed
Open Coconut in Hawaii

Now comes the labor of love: free the coconut meat from its hard shell, to get the subtle flavor of fresh coconut. Gentle force, a thick, strong, rather dull knife and a lot of patience is all you need. (Yes, buying dried graded coconut is much easier, and works well too, but then you food miles are not zero.)  Some people peel the brown skin off, but I consider that too much work and the added fiber as roughage is welcome anyway. If you found the coconut grader once bought in the Marshall Islands that would go faster anyway…

coconut ‘meat’

I used the electric blender to chop my coconut in small pieces. Stop and go. Stop and scrape. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

chopped cocunut meat in the blender
copped coconut

Peel your beets. Ideally bought fresh from your local farmer.

Peeled beets ready to be cooked
Peeled beets grown in Hawaii

Beet salad continued: Cut your beets in stripes or the size or shape you want to serve and eat it later.

Beets cut in stripes
Cut beets in stripes

Simmer the fresh graded coconut first in the skillet for a few minutes to release some of the natural coconut oil. Add the cut beets and cover with a lid to simmer on low until soft (or as crunchy as you like it).

Simmered beets in coconut
Simmered beets in coconut

Try your beets. If you like them crunchy, stop earlier. If you like your beets soft and a bit sweeter let it simmer longer (over 30 minutes plus). At the very end, when the beets are done, add at least one cup of tightly packed fresh moringa leaflets.

A cup of stripped and cleaned moringa leaves
A cup of stripped and cleaned moringa leaves

Mix well. Put a lid on it, and steam/continue to simmer for a minute or so until all the moringa leaflets are nicely wilted. Serve warm as a side dish. It keeps for quite a few days in the fridge and can be eaten as a salad or side dish with most meals.

PS: the beets last longer than the fresh Moringa leaves in the fridge. After a week the beets were still great. The Moringa had to be picked out and composted…

Moringa with beets and coconut cooked in a kitchen in Hawaii
Moringa with beets and coconut cooked in a kitchen in Hawaii