These are busy days. May always means lots and lots to do around the yard. (I may have a tiny house but my yard is HUGE!) If you love to garden, you know what I'm talking about. Flower beds to be churned up, weeds to be yanked (damn you Creeping Bellflower!) and it seems like I'm always edging or enlarging something to make room for more flowers. Because, like my aforementioned kitchenware addiction, I'm also a greenhouse addict. I love trying new plants in the flower beds and herbs in the window boxes. All of those years of renting and not being able to plant what I wanted have made me now want to plant everything! If I had my way I'd get rid of all the grass and have a field of wildflowers. Some day!
All of this time spent outdoors means less time in the kitchen. And I'm okay with that. Here in Saskatoon we get basically four gorgeous months of Summer (if we are lucky!) and I savour every second of it. Which means lots of cooking outside and sensational summer salads. I particularly love hearty grain salads - I'll make a big batch and keep it in the fridge so I have something to eat after all of that digging in the dirt.
Quinoa seems to be the "it" grain right now. And deservedly so. Unlike wheat or rice, quinoa contains a balanced set of essential amino acids, making it a complete protein source - a wonderfully unusual attribute for a grain. Plus it's gluten free (Celiacs cheer!) and easy to digest. Simply rinse well before cooking, (can be cooked like rice or pasta), and the finished product is fluffy, creamy, slightly crunchy with a nutty flavour. Really, quinoa appears to be a grain, but it's actually the seed of a leafy vegetable. Who knew? It was also sacred to the Inca, who would sow the first ceremonial quinoa seeds each season using golden implements. Seems appropriate, but I have no golden gardening tools in my shed!
Back to this salad. I was inspired after reading a similar recipe over at Julie's blog. I love fruit in salads, but really it's the mango chutney (and fresh mango!) that sold me on this one. Super nutritious with the black beans and veggies, I have a feeling I'll be eating plenty of this salad over the summer. With the onslaught of May Long Weekend (please don't rain!), and many vegetable seeds to sow, I'm happy I have this salad hanging out in my fridge.
Curried Quinoa Salad With Mango and Black Beans
1 cup of quinoa, rinsed very well (like 3 minutes under a faucet)
1 red pepper, chopped
2 mangoes, chopped
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1/2 English cucumber, chopped
1 398ml can of black beans, rinsed
1 good handful of cilantro, stems removed and chopped
1/4 cup canola oil
juice of 2 limes
4 Tbsp mango chutney (I like Patak's)
1/2 tsp cumin
2 tsp Indian curry paste OR curry powder
1 tsp salt
To cook the quinoa, bring to boil 3 cups of water. Add the rinsed quinoa and cook uncovered for about 15 minutes, or al dente. Drain. Put back in pot, cover and let it steam until cooled. About another half hour. In a large bowl, combine the cooled quinoa with the veggies, beans and mango. In a medium bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients. Pour over the quinoa mixture and stir well to incorporate. Adjust seasonings. Serves 4-6.
Is anyone else planting a garden this year?