Well, tomorrow’s Monday, which must mean it’s time for another installment of La Principessa’s Lunchbox Chronicles! This week, I made quinoa salad again, but the recipe for this one came from an actual cookbook rather than from the dark recesses of my brain. Well, sort of. It’s a variation on a recipe from Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero.
(Incidentally, if you’re interested in vegan cooking or just want to incorporate more fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains into your diet, I highly recommend this book. It has tons of great recipes as well as a lot of basic cooking information. Wondering how to make vegan gravy, or what the hell to do with those five beets your neighbor just gave you [oh wait, that was MY neighbor]? This is your book.)
First step is to rinse and cook your quinoa. I failed to do the “rinse” part, so I guess we’ll see how much that affects the flavor. (Quinoa has an outer layer that can be bitter, which is why most quinoa recipes instruct you to rinse it before cooking.) Put the cooked quinoa into a big bowl to cool. Make sure it’s a BIG bowl, because you’ll be putting the salad together in it.
Here we have scallions, a mango, a can of black beans, and a whole heaping helping of cilantro, along with two ingredients that the recipe doesn’t call for: a jicama and some baked tofu. More on those in a bit.
Peel and dice your mango.
Chop up a cup or so of scallions.
The recipe calls for red bell pepper. But do you know how much use I have for red bell pepper? Or any other color of bell pepper, for that matter? None. So I substitute half a jicama, which is crisp and refreshing and not completely disgusting like some other vegetables I could mention *cough*redbellpepper*cough*. If you’ve never had jicama, it tastes like an apple met a potato and they had a really juicy, earthy-tasting baby. Mmmmm … baby.
Chop up a cup or so of cilantro, and dump it in with everything else you’ve chopped up so far. Unless you’re one of those “eeewww, cilantro tastes like soap and ruins everything” people, in which case … don’t.
Now for the proteiny bits. The recipe calls for one can of rinsed and drained black beans, so add that. I like to have something meaty to chew on too, so I add cubed baked tofu. When I’m REALLY on top of my game, I press and bake my own tofu. I didn’t feel like doing that this weekend, though, so I bought pre-baked tofu at Whole Foods. Oh, the decadence!
Now, for seasonings. Really, the only seasonings I use here are kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, and red wine vinegar. Oh, and a secret ingredient that most definitely is NOT included in the original recipe, but that I think works really well.
Stir it all up and voila! Lunch for five days!
Insert into face and make little satisfied grunting noises.