This is my latest salad of choice. It tastes good the day you prepare it, and even better the next day. It’s got a fresh and light flavor thanks to the mango, red bell pepper and cilantro, and it’s filling thanks to the beans and quinoa.
It doesn’t have to be made with quinoa (though, below, you’ll see why it’s a great grain to choose if you are cutting out some meat in your diet). This recipe works with any leftover grains, beans and fruit you have around. Also, this recipe calls for grapeseed oil, something you may not have laying around the house. I used extra virgin olive oil in its place.
Quinoa (pronounced “keen-wah”) is the ultimate grain for vegetarians. It’s a complete protein (meaning in contains all nine essential amino acids, read more here) and it’s pretty easy to prepare to boot. It comes in red and brown varieties, and tastes a little nutty, a little bitter.
This recipe calls for prepared quinoa. If you’ve never made it before, it’s simple and quick. Since I got this recipe from “Veganomicon,” I’ll include the book’s directions on preparing quinoa:
Cooking time: 20 to 25 minutes
To serve 4: 2 cups water, 1 cup rinsed and drained quinoa, 1/4 teaspoon salt
Cook: Place all ingredients in a heavy-bottomed pot, covered, and bring to a boil. Once the mixture is boiling, turn down the heat to very low and simmer for about 15 minutes. The quinoa should be translucent and the germ ring would be visible. Fluff with a fork and serve.
Quinoa Salad With Black Beans and Mango
Recipe courtesy “Veganomincon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook” by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero
Serves 4 to 6
1 mango, peeled and cut into small dice
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced as small as you can get it
1 cup chopped scallions
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups cooked quinoa, cooled
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
A few leaves of lettuce for garnish
Combine the mango, red bell pepper, scallions and cilantro in a mixing bowl. Add the red wine vinegar, grapeseed oil and salt, and stir to combine. Add the quinoa and stir until everything is well incorporated. Fold in the black beans. You can serve immediately or let it sit for a bit for the flavors to meld. To serve, place a few leaves of lettuce on a plate and scoop some salad on top. This tastes good chilled and is even better at room temperature.