Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Curried Quinoa Salad With Mango and Black Beans

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?


  1. Wow, this salad looks fantastic!! To answer your question though....yes, my husband built me an awesome raised garden with the irrigation built right in! Already have peas, radishes and onions coming up but may have planted my tomatoes too soon as it hit 0 here and they don't look so good now....

  2. this kind of food is probably my favorite- a one dish wonder! I now cook quinoa in my rice cooker- works like a dream!
    we JUST got most of the garden in last night, just in time for today's rain, and possibly the rest of the weekend...

  3. Candus and TLV - you sound like you are both off to a great start in the garden! Thanks for the rice cooker tip - if i ever get one of those, i'll be sure to cook quinoa in it!

  4. That quinoa salad looks amazing! Love that grain- it seems to go well with everything. Glad to hear you're enjoying the turn of weather. Post some pics of your garden!

  5. This looks YUM Renee- need to try quinoa with my little ones soon! We hope to be planting our container garden this weekend- if the weather co-operates of course.

  6. Thanks Shelley and Stacy! If you take a look at my FB page, I'll have photos up soon! Right now the veg garden is just a plot of dirt, but the tulips are blooming and my plum tree is full of blossoms. Lovely!!!

  7. Yum, that looks really refreshing and delicious for summer. And so colorful!

  8. Sounds divine! Perfect for the warmer weather dinners!

  9. Can't wait to make this! Have you tried Chatties chutneys from the farmers' market? The mango chutney is delish!

  10. Becki - thanks for the tip! I love me some mango chutney!

  11. I made this tonight. Was quite tasty and everyone enjoyed it, even the hard to please. :) Thanks!

  12. Denise, happy to hear it! Thanks for letting me know :)


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