Tag Archives: cooking

Mango Quinoa Black Bean Salad with Lemon Ginger Dressing

My favorite kind of dinner is one that can be made quickly without sacrificing flavor or experience.

Being busy shouldn’t mean you have to stop being healthy or thoughtful about what you put on your plate. Yes, sometimes I can’t even think about taking the time to make a meal and I’ll end up tossing a frozen pizza in the oven. And that’s okay. But when I get to make a dinner that is both nourishing and simple – well, it doesn’t get any better than that.

I’m happy to report that this is one of those dinners. In less than 30 minutes you have a healthy, fresh, and filling salad that tastes just as good the next day. vig_quinoa_2

I was actually surprised to find that it was the deep flavor of the cooked onions that really brought this dish together. They paired so well against the combination of sweet, ripe mangos and zesty greens, so definitely don’t skimp out on the onion.

The quinoa is what takes the longest to prep but other than that, it’s a chop here and whisk there, and things are looking good!

Quinoa and Mango Salad
Recipe adapted from Food52

  • cup regular, red (or any other kind of) quinoa, rinsed well in a strainer
  • cups vegetable broth (or other form of broth)
  • 2 mangoes
  • large red onion, halved stem to root and slivered
  • 1 tablespoon oil (I used coconut)
  • can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • cups micro greens (I used the Trader Joe’s organic blend)
  • Handful of arugula
  • tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1-2 avocados, halved, pitted and sliced (optional)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Lemon Ginger Dressing

  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger 
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Bring quinoa and broth to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until the water is absorbed, about 12-15 minutes. While it’s cooking I like to add spices (cayenne, paprika, oregano, thyme, etc..) and salt and pepper, to give it some flavor.
  2. Toss onion slivers with 1 tablespoon coconut oil, salt and pepper in a frying pan. Fry until fragrant and they begin to brown. Remove from heat.
  3. Pit and dice mangoes (resist from eating them!)
  4. Make the dressing: Whisk the olive oil into the lemon juice and then whisk in the ginger, and add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Assemble the salad: Mix the quinoa, mango, black beans, and cilantro together. Spread the micro greens and arugula on a large plate and layer the quinoa mixture over the greens. Top with the roasted onions and, if you’d like, avocado slices. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and enjoy!

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Cooking Lessons with Myself

Cooking’s been a fairly new skill that I’ve been slowly cultivating. My mother is a professional chef and spoiled me growing up, so I didn’t really take the chance to come into my own, culinary-wise, until I was finally living on my own. It’s been a slow process but one that I find real joy in. I’ve always enjoyed the arts and the culinary arts are no different – pairing elements in a way that’s harmonious to the senses, combining colors and flavors, and discovering inspiration for new interpretations on the same piece, in this case recipe.

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There are some people who enjoy cooking because it’s rather improvisational in nature. I, however, like taking a methodical approach. I like measurements and intentional placement. It’s therapeutic and stretches my creativity both in how to pair ingredients and how to present a dish in a way that is inspiring to both the eye and palate.

This dish is the first proper meal I’ve made since Michael and I moved to San Francisco. We’ve been here a little over a month now, so the kitchen and apartment as a whole are starting to feel more settled and more like home. During the first couple of weeks of being in the new apartment it was difficult to even imagine cooking. Glassware cluttered the tiny amount of counter space we have and there was really no where to sit down eat. I’d forgotten how overwhelming an unpacked home can be. Luckily, we’re slowly making a home and making good food along the way.

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I found these recipes on Food52 – my number one source for cooking inspiration – and they did not disappoint. I’d even go as far in saying that it was the best homecooked meal (I should say it’s the only one) we’ve had in about two months!

I paired this salmon recipe with this potato salad, shredded the salmon and served it on top a bed of arugula. I’m not a huge fan of starchy foods like potatoes, but I cannot get over how good this potato salad was! The recipe calls for roasted walnut oil, which I was hesitant to purchase at first, but after looking up different uses for it and tasting it in this vinaigrette, I’m happy to say I do not regret the purchase one bit.

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I love going out and trying new restaurants, but there’s something about making my own meals from scratch that is so fulfilling. My mom cooked (and continues to cook) fresh meals from scratch for our family. It’s a tradition I want to uphold and it’s been a joy getting to share my development as a cook with both Michael, who has the fortune (and sometimes misfortune) of tasting my cooking experiments, and my mother, who takes the more improvisational approach to cooking and who continues to inspire me to carve my own path in the kitchen.

I hope to one day be able to adapt recipes and create my own as I keep learning. Until then, I’ll continue seeking inspiration from those who’ve done this for much longer than I have.

If you’ve got any cooking tips of your own, I’d love to hear them!

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