It's summertime in Boston. Well, perhaps it's not actually summertime on the calendar (not until Friday the 21st anyway!), but it's definitely been feeling more like summer. Warmer temperatures have arrived, flips flops are being worn, and kids (and teachers!) are psyched because the end of the school year is sooo close.
Summertime makes me crave lighter foods like salads...salads that don't require the oven (and maybe not even the stove). It's nice to have healthy meal options that won't heat up the kitchen on those hot, hot summer days.
This mango black bean quinoa salad is one of those options! I didn't follow an exact recipe - kind of just made it up as I went along. Normally this salad would require the stove to cook the quinoa, but I actually had quinoa in the freezer that I had previously cooked. So all I had to do was thaw it! And none of the other ingredients I added to this required cooking. How easy is that?! Too easy.
-1.5 to 2 cups cooked quinoa (cooked according to package directions, with water or vegetable broth)
-about 1/2 of 15 oz. can of black beans, drained and rinsed
-1 ripe mango, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
-2 to 3 scallions or green onions, sliced into 1/4-inch slices
-approx. 1/2 to 3/4 cup sliced bok choy stalks (feel free to use leaves too, if you'd like, or reserve for another use)
-2 to 3 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, finely chopped
-1 Tbsp. olive oil
-1 clove garlic, minced
-juice of one lime (or lemon)
-salt and pepper to taste
In large bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, black beans, mango, scallions, bok choy, and cilantro. In a small bowl or dish, whisk together the olive oil, minced garlic, and lime juice. Drizzle over the quinoa mixture. Toss everything together well. Mix in salt and pepper to taste, according to your preference. Refrigerate in airtight container until ready to serve (serve chilled). Makes 4 to 6 servings.
Our CSA began about three weeks ago, and we've been getting a wonderful assortment of veggies! Bok choy has been in our share each week so far, and I thought it would make a nice addition to this salad. And it did! I did not cook it before adding it, and it was great. I'm not sure what particular type of bok choy we had, but when I tasted it, it was not bitter, as bok choy can sometimes be. So, I thought it was safe to put in this salad raw. However, use your own judgment when adding bok choy to yours!
And also, with the spices and flavors in this dish, everything is quite flexible. So, if you reeeally like cilantro, add some more! Or, if garlic is your thing, add a couple cloves instead of one. With a "recipe" like this that is fairly flexible, I really advise you to taste as you go, and adjust flavors according to your own preferences.
And feel free to experiment with other veggies as well. Diced bell pepper might be nice, and I could see corn and cucumber working well with this too.
We enjoyed this salad as both a side dish and a meatless main dish. If you want a bit more protein, add in bite-sized pieces of grilled chicken.
However you might enjoy it, it's a great addition to your summer meals!