Did you notice how I snuck the superfoody thing in the title there? I'm hoping I can get it past the Eco Sis medical radar by not implying it has actual superfood qualities :) I seem to have got a bit stuck on quinoa in my foray into new and nutritious ingredients, but it's because I was so surprised and taken with it. I had just never imagined any food could have that degree of 'sproing' to it. Also I have a bad habit of wanting to rush out and buy new ingredients whenever I read a new recipe, and I'm trying to keep it in check for the sake of our cupboards not being Scientist booby-traps.
Even though there is rain falling from the sky in sheets as I type, I am really enjoying the long light evenings we're having now. I feel so much more lively when the dark isn't closing in mid-afternoon, and it's lovely to sit and chat as we cook dinner with the curtains still open and a nice view of our 'verdant' (The Scientist's word) 'completely wild' (my word) garden. It also makes me much more inclined to based meals on salads, and I've been trying out some new fruity ones. I've already written about the strawberry, mushroom and poppyseed one, and we had a pear and watercress one after we went to the Alfresford watercress festival. This time I gave a Veganomicon quinoa and mango one a go, after seeing some reduced mangoes in Tesco (I'm still a bit dubious about this policy of buying more exotic fruits if they're otherwise going to be thrown away - I am still supporting Tesco selling them, after all, and that's the only feedback mechanism they care about... and while I think about it, the quinoa and black beans were hardly local. Sigh. Bad ethical salad.)
So the salad's ethics may not have been great, but it did taste very nice. Isa and Terry, the inimitable authors of the book, point out that it's really just a mix of quinoa, a vegetable, some beans and a fruit, so I felt fairly confident that I wouldn't be ruining it by using asparagus (British, thankfully, clawing back some eco-credibility) instead of pepper. Apart from that I pretty much stuck to the recipe, although I used hemp oil instead of grapeseed, and cut back on the quantity. The nicest things about this salad are its freshness (from the mango) and the range of textures - sproing from the quinoa, softness from the mango and crunch from the asparagus (which I steamed lightly in the microwave and then cooled). I halved the recipe but there was loads left. We ate it with orange-marinaded tofu (based on the Veganomicon tangerine baked tofu) which was also wonderful, and got the carnivore thumbs up, too.
I accidentally cooked far too much quinoa though, and am now in a dither as to whether to turn it into the Veganomicon quinoa and almond muffins which I've wanted to try for a bit, but which use milk of which we don't have much left and we're going on holiday tomorrow. Or, to make some quinoa and bean croquettes using the leftover black beans from the salad, and freeze them. I'm off to fret about that for a while now, and if I don't get round to posting about our 'pick of the fridge' inventiveness to use up everything else before we go on holiday, I'll be back in a week. We're going to Ireland, so expect soda bread, champ and boxty galore on our return.
Quinoa salad with black beans and mango (aka sproing salad) (from Veganomicon)
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 [I used lightly steamed and cooled asparagus]
1 cup chopped spring onions
1 cup fresh coriander [I thought we had some but we didn't so I had to use dried]
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp grapeseed oil [I used hemp oil and halved it]
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups cooked quinoa (this is 1 cup dried cooked in 2 cups water for about 15 mins until water has been absorbed)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
a few leaves of lettuce for garnish [I added quite a bit of lettuce]
Combine the mango, peppers, spring onions and coriander in a mixing bowl. Add the red wine vinegar, 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 leave to sit for a bit for the flavours to meld. To serve, place a few leaves of lettuce on a plate and scoop some salad on the top. This tastes good chilled and is even better at room temperature.