I’m not a big salad person, in terms of things involving lettuce. I like hot food most of the time. But give me a salad with grains, beans, potatoes, or pasta and I’m sold on the idea that a dish doesn’t have to be hot and covered with yummy sauce.
Yesterday I was inspired by the offerings of my local farmers’ market. That sounds corny but it’s true. Pickings are slim this time of year, limited to things like fresh herbs, green onions and garlic, baby greens, and hot-house tomatoes. So that’s what I bought: cilantro, scallions, and tomatoes (which aren’t great like in August, but are worlds apart from the supermarket offerings). I knew I had some limes in the fridge that I bought on a whim last week, as well as a pound of black beans in the pantry. Then my wonderful roommate offered up some quinoa and this week’s dish was born. I also picked up a red pepper at the store and found a cucumber in the drawer that needed to be eaten asap.
Disclaimer: I am not great about measuring things, ever. All amounts are approximate and can be adjusted to your taste.
1 cup of quinoa (I like red because it’s pretty)
1/4 – 1/2 lb of dry black beans or 1 can, rinsed and drained
4 scallions, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cucumber, seeded and diced
1 or 2 tomatoes, diced (halved grape or cherry tomatoes would be good too!)
a lot of fresh cilantro, chopped
pepitas or avocado (optional)
1. Start by cooking your beans if you’re using dry ones. Then cook your quinoa. 2 cups water to 1 cup quinoa, boiled for about 20 mins.
2. While the quinoa is cooking, chop veggies and throw ’em in a great big bowl.
3. Add the quinoa and bean to the great big bowl and toss gently a few times. Then squeeze the juice of the limes over the mixture, add some black or red pepper to taste, then toss some more until it’s combined and it tastes good.
You can eat it as is, a little warm, or put it away until tomorrow and eat it cold. Generally this sort of thing is better the second day when the flavors have blended. I for one ate a nice bowl for dinner, sprinkled with pepitas. The rest I put in small containers to take to work for lunch each day this week. I’ll be cooking up some collard greens tomorrow to round out the meal. If you are a salad eater, it would probably be good on a bed of lettuce or baby spinach.
There you have it! Whole grain + bean + veggies = meal