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.
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!
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!