Rainbow Quinoa Salad
I suppose I’ve been on a bit of a quinoa kick lately — last week it was the lemon-scented quinoa with asparagus; this weekend I thought I’d make a quinoa salad to have both as a side for our Cinco de Mayo dinner, as well as for lunches later on in the week.
The play of textures in this salad is really terrific; you have the chewy quinoa with the silky, soft mango and the crunchy cabbage. I have to confess that my favorite part of this salad is the mango: after I made it, I stood by the bowl, picking out the chunks* of mango** to eat.
*This is not unlike my habit of standing at the counter over a container of chunky ice cream, excavating out the chunks with my spoon. They’re the best part.
**I just love, love, LOVE mango. In another life, I’d like to live in a warmer climate where we could grow a mango tree (and an avocado tree, while we’re at it — and a Meyer lemon tree, and a lime tree, and….well, you get the idea.)
I had my first taste of jicama a few years back, when B and I celebrated our first Cinco de Mayo together. I love it in salads: it’s mild, but crunchy and subtly sweet. Looks kind of like a potato, but eaten raw, tastes much better (than a raw potato would taste, that is.)
I just had to take a picture of this red cabbage; I loved its deep purple, intricately wavy and woven pattern.
Besides being just delicious, this salad packs a lot of nutrition into it: fiber and protein in the beans and quinoa, a super shot of Vitamin C with the mango, and a whole slew of vitamins and antioxidants in the cabbage. We’ll have it alongside our other Cinco de Mayo-inspired foods tonight — I’m making pork carnitas (from the latest issue of CI) for tacos, and of course my favorite guacamole. ¡Me gusta!
Rainbow Quinoa Salad
Makes enough for 8 lunch servings, or more as a side dish
1 cup quinoa, well rinsed
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 mango, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 jicama root, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 head green cabbage, shredded with the shredding blade of a food processor (or by hand)
1/2 head red cabbage, shredded with the shredding blade of a food processor (or by hand)
3 scallions, white and green parts, sliced into 1/2-inch thick slices
juice and zest of 2 limes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/2-3/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
1-2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced (optional)
Place 1 cup rinsed quinoa in a saucepan and cover with 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the water is absorbed.
Meanwhile, make the lime vinaigrette: into the bottom of a large mixing bowl, grate the lime zest and then juice the limes. Add the 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and a good grinding of fresh black pepper, and whisk to combine. Drizzle in the 2 tablespoons olive oil and whisk to combine.
After the quinoa is done cooking, add it to the mixing bowl containing the vinaigrette. Mix gently with a spatula to make sure all the quinoa is coated. Fold the black beans, mango, jicama, cabbage, and jalapeno (if using) into the quinoa. Stir in the chopped cilantro. Taste the salad and add more salt, pepper, or lime juice according to your tastes.