malls / quinoa black bean salad with mango

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So I’m not really a mall person. I like clothes and everything, but I’d rather buy online or go to a single store with a single mission. Because malls are time warps. Every time I go into one I find myself burning through hours as easily as if I were stalking people on Facebook. The exits are strategically placed at the ends of dark corridors or in the corners of department stores behind frilly necked nightgowns and granny panties so you can’t find your way out without a struggle. And they’re filled with strange people. Translation: oversized underdressed Americans who like to spend their cash on tube tops and frappucinos. When I enter, it smells like chocolate chip cookies and perfume. I’m made instantly aware of the neon lights buzzing overhead, the clip clop of heels over shiny oatmeal floors, the nauseating bubblegum pop of Katy Perry, and my inner chorus of “What did I come here for again?”

I aimlessly wander through the makeup aisle in Nordstroms. A woman with fake eyelashes and a makeup explosion offers me a sample of Britney Spear’s new perfume. I politely decline, but she sprays me anyway. My unicorn friend sneezes and nudges me towards a Starbuck’s. We both get a hot tea since we’re freezing, then wander into a store. The other shoppers we pass generally fall into two categories: the stressed out I-will-silently-push-into-anyone-looking-through-the-same-sale-rack-as-me nutsos or the salted pretzel eating the-mall-is-my-social-hub tube toppers. There are also the elderly, who treat the mall like a park and stroll about in big white sneakers and sweatsuits with no intention of buying anything.

 Inside the store, folded shirts and the smell of cotton flash me back to my short-lived retail days (see Adventures in Hawaiian Employment ), and I smile apologetically at the salesperson, knowing the torture she is enduring. Translation: an endless day of shirt folding and daydreaming in a windowless white box with bad music and worse pay. My unicorn friend takes some clothes into the fitting room, while I mindlessly slide through hanger after hanger of a sale rack. I pick out a few beaten up looking shirts that have been touched, tried on, and re-folded a thousand times and try them on. The lighting in the fitting room is a dimmish yellow and shines over your body in that flattering way that makes you look a hundred times heavier with dark circles under your eyes. And because it’s a three way mirror I get to see my hot self from the front, side and back all at once. Disgruntled, I put my clothes back on. I momentarily debate whether I should hang the clothes back on their hangers (since that’s what my mom does and I feel like a bad person if I don’t), but instead I channel my inner dad and reassure myself that the salesperson has nothing better to do. Meanwhile, my unicorn friend has been hemming and hawing over whether he should buy a shirt he likes. I can hear my mother asking: “Will you wear it?” or “Do you need another shirt?”, and I suddenly feel exhausted. Mall exhausted. In the end, my unicorn friend puts the shirt on hold, which we all know means I’m not going to buy it.

Now that you’re drained from a trip to the mall, why not refresh yourself with a delicious black bean and quinoa salad? Cumin, mangos and bright crisp veggies play supporting roles in this protein packed summer dish. It’s a cinch to make and keeps well in the fridge too. Hooray for easy summer dishes!

“hedgehogging” the mango
quinoa cooling on a half sheet pan
summer black bean & quinoa salad with mango!

Quinoa & Black Bean Salad with Mango

1 mango, peeled and diced *see my note below on the best way to dice a mango

1 red pepper, seeded and diced

1/4 cup red onion, diced OR 1 cup scallions, sliced thin

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

2 cups quinoa, cooled

1 can or 1 1/2 cups black beans, rinsed and drained

3 T red wine vinegar

2 T extra virgin olive oil

1 T tamari or shoyu (naturally brewed soy sauce)

2 tsp cumin

juice of 1 lime

fresh black pepper to taste

optional additions include: diced cucumber, diced avocado, crumbled blue corn chips, and hot sauce

Cook quinoa according to package directions. Allow to cool fully on a half sheet pan or cookie sheet. Then combine the cooled quinoa with all of the other ingredients in a large bowl. Serve immediately or chill in the fridge for later. I like to plate my salad over a few lettuce leaves and top with blue chips (Garden of Eatin’s Red Hot Blues are my favorite!) Serves 4 unicorns with post-frappucino caffeine jitters.

*A note on mangos…they are impossibly sticky and have an absurdly large pit in the middle. For a long time, I found them too annoying to eat, until I learned how to “hedgehog” one. Stand your mango up on a cutting board and slice one side from the top to the bottom as close to the pit as your knife can get. Repeat with the other side. Using a paring knife, slice through the two pieces lengthwise and widthwise without piercing the skin. Then invert each piece and gently slice off the mango cubes. See picture above for what your mango should look like!

8 thoughts on “malls / quinoa black bean salad with mango

    highschoolfoodie said:
    August 15, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    This looks awesome. It sounds perfect for summertime. Plus I always like having more quinoa recipes. Thanks for sharing!

      J. Z. Manley said:
      August 15, 2012 at 9:04 pm

      Thanks! It’s one of my favorite recipes! I hope you like it 🙂

    Jenn said:
    August 15, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    this looks delish-now, can you come over and cook it for me? 🙂 just kidding. kinda.

      J. Z. Manley said:
      August 16, 2012 at 3:01 pm

      haha. be right over 🙂

    Olympic-sized memes | Only Yes said:
    August 16, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    […] the Olympics. The ingredients are simple as making, say, black bean and quinoa salad with mango ( a bunch of good looking people, a tsp of odd-looking ones, add a cupfull of revealing or goofy […]

      J. Z. Manley said:
      August 16, 2012 at 3:11 pm

      Thanks for linking my recipe! Your blog is great…really enjoyed the memes/dali/surrealism post 🙂

    mary said:
    August 17, 2012 at 2:54 am

    Jenny, this recipe sounds delicious. Can’t wait to make it and your beet burgers I will let you know how they turn out!! thanks for sharing.

      J. Z. Manley said:
      August 17, 2012 at 10:25 am

      thanks Mary! let me know how they turn out! This salad is one of my favorite summer dishes 🙂

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