Saturday, March 10, 2012

Quinoa Salad with Black Beans and Mango

I had purchased a copy of Veganomicon, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero, shortly after it came out (late-2007) to give to a vegan friend as a hostess gift only to find she already had a copy by the time I arrived at her house. Anyhow, it's been mine ever since, though I haven't done much with it until we moved here.

Scoob and I started reducing the amount on meat in our diets several years ago and at first it was as simple as making a bigger salad and a smaller portion of meat. Our less-meat-ness progressed and at some point we realized we were only eating meat 1 or 2 times a week.

About that same time, I realized our meals were getting really boring. And as much as I love roasted cauliflower, a heaping plate of cauliflower is not a balanced meal.Now that I have a kitchen I can turn around in, I'm starting to experiment with vegan recipes from this cookbook.

**DISCLAIMER: The publisher of Veganomicon is under the same parent company as the travel publisher I work for, though never the twain shall meet.

I also have the authors' previous cookbook Vegan with a Vengeance, but I've never made anything from it. I've tried to get myself motivated to make something, but it just never happened. It seemed, to me, that a lot of the recipes from Vegan with a Vengeance were aimed at cooking with a meat replacement. I'm all for cooking with tofu occasionally, but really, I just want good recipes for vegetables. And that's what Veganomicon's got in spades.

Remember that Betty Crocker bible our mothers had? This is it for veggies.

There are still plenty of recipes that include tofu, tempeh, and seitan, but the bulk of the cookbook is about cooking vegetables. And since I'm not terribly concerned about begin vegan, when the book calls for vegetable stock, I use vegetable or chicken stock—whatever I have on hand. And when it calls for vegan margarine, I just use my regular margarine or butter. And if I think adding cubed chicken or pork to a recipe sounds good, then I'll do it. You get the picture.

Anyhow, Scoob and I are part of a supper club here. There are 7 couples in the group and each couple takes turns hosting. So far we've been off the hook for hosting, but now that we have a dining table and chairs (I think we can squeak in 10 at the table, though we only have 8 chairs) and my surgery is behind us, I know we'll need to step up and host.

Anyhow, last month was our kick-off supper for 2012 (we had to reschedule the January dinner) and the theme was " A Recipe from Your Favorite Famous TV Chefs." This is a problem when you really haven't had television for about 10 years. We got some random stations in Fremont, but nothing we could really count on, and the closest thing to TV chefs we watched with any regularity were Andrew Zimmern's Bizarre Foods and Anthony Bourdain's Without Reservations—both travel shows with chefs as hosts.

I will say I do enjoy watching America's Test Kitchen when I catch it, but since I haven't purchased their membership, I can't browse through their recipe library.

So I was stuck trying to come up with something for supper club. That's when I stumbled on Veganomicon gathering dust, and as luck would have it, one of the authors, Isa Chandra Moskowitz, used to have a public access cooking show, The Post Punk Kitchen. Not really a "famous" TV chef, and certainly not one I had ever watched on TV, but a TV chef nonetheless. And the fact that our hostess for supper club was my vegan friend, I said what the heck.

We went grocery shopping today and I bought everything I'll need to make this one again. Just for us. It's not exactly the same recipe as the cookbook, but pretty darn close. (And I'm trying the Porcini-Wild Rice Soup recipe tonight. With a side of roasted cauliflower.)

Quinoa Salad with Black Beans and Mango

Quinoa Salad with Black Beans and Mango

Prep time: 35 minutes; 15 if using leftover quinoa

    1 mango, peeled and cut into a small dice
         (we like something Scoob calls a half-ripe mango; just a slight bit
         of give to the skin and a tart sweet flavor, rather than full-on ripe)
    1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced as small as you can
    1 cup diced shallots
    1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
    2 Tbsps red wine vinegar
    2 Tbsps extra virgin olive oil
    ¼ tsp salt
    2 cups cooked quinoa
    1 15-oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed

  1. Mix the mango, red bell pepper, shallots, and cilantro in a mixing bowl. Add the red wine vinegar, olive oil, and salt, and stir to combine. And the quinoa and stir until everything is combined, then fold in the black beans. Serve right away, or let it sit a bit for the flavors to meld.

Even though it's not summer, I know this is going to be awesome when it's on a hot summer evening and I don't want to cook anything hot.

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