Early into my forays of vegetarian and vegan cooking, I discovered Isa Chandra Moskowitz's cookbooks, and both Vegan with a Vengeance and Veganomicon remain favorites at my house. Isa has the ability to make vegan food both punk rock and entirely accessible at the same time, and I appreciate her recipes for both everyday staples (pancakes, lentil soup, a million tofu and tempeh marinades, black bean burgers) and recipes that push the limits and challenge even the more seasoned cooks (seitan and veggies in mole, jambalaya, apple peanut butter caramel bars.) Her recipe for "Quinoa Salad with Black Beans and Mango" seems to straddle the boundary between an everyday staple and a limit-pusher - a crowd-pleaser (one of my go-to potluck recipes,) that is simple, nutritious, colorful, deliciously sweet-savory, and just a little bit unusual in its combination of ingredients. I like this salad so much, it deserves a place in the mason jar salad rotation!
YIELD: 4 quart-sized salads
- 1 c quinoa, bi- or tri-color (if available in your area)
- 1/4 c red wine vinegar
- 1/4 c extra-virgin olive oil
- kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
- 2 cups cooked black beans
- 1 large red bell pepper, sliced
- 1 large mango, peeled, pitted, and diced
- 4 green onions, sliced
- 1 bunch cilantro, leaves roughly chopped
- 5-10 oz baby spinach
- Make the quinoa: combine the quinoa with 1 c water in a small saucepan; season with salt. Bring the quinoa to a boil, cover, lower the heat, and simmer 15 minutes. Remove the quinoa from the heat and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork, and cool.
- Pack the salads: add 1 tbsp red wine vinegar and 1 tbsp olive oil to each of 4 tall quart-sized containers or mason jars; season with salt and pepper. Layer the black beans, quinoa, red bell pepper, mango, green onion, cilantro, and spinach in the jars. Refrigerate until serving.
- Enjoy your salad: invert your salad onto a plate or into a bowl.
TIME-SAVING TIPS: Substitute 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed well, for the 2 cups home-cooked black beans.
SPECIAL DIET SWAPS: This salad is vegan, gluten-free, and nut-free as-is.
Food styling, photography, and infographics by Robert Campbell.