As an added bonus, this recipe can stand alone as a dinner, and provided your spices are gluten free then it is also a very tasty and sharable GF recipe! Also, since it is a refrigerated dish, it works wonderfully for lunches.
Step 1: Ingredients!
> ~2 cups uncooked quinoa
> 1 pound bag of mango chunks (or equivalent fresh if you have the patience/can catch them in season)
> 1 ~16 ounce can of black beans (or equivalent home prepped), well rinsed and drained
> 1 large or several smaller bell pepper(s) - any color is fine though red, yellow, or orange taste a little better than green in this recipe
> 1 cup fresh or ~1/4 cup freeze dried cilantro
> water or broth to cook quinoa in
Optional for a slightly spicy version:
> 1/4 cup white vinegar
> ~1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
> 1 tsp cayenne pepper
> ~1/2 tsp chili powder
Bowl for soaking quinoa (if yours is not presoaked)
Cutting board and decent knife
Large-ish pot for cooking quinoa
Bowl for marinating mango, if doing the spicy option
Bowl that is big enough to put everything in - note that quinoa expands 2-3 times when cooked
Step 2: Prep Your Quinoa
Anywho! Obviously if you already have a routine or method for soaking your quinoa, do that! If this is your first time, here is what works for me regardless of the amount I am preparing.
Measure out the uncooked amount of quinoa (in this case ~ 2 cups) into a bowl; you don't want it to completely fill the bowl. Cover the quinoa with cool water, up to an inch or so above the solids if you have room, then give it a swish with your hand to break up any clumps and get it to settle. On your first pass you may have floaters (as seen in the picture).
Let this sit for 20-30 minutes, then carefully pour off as much of the water as you can. I use my free hand to block the quinoa from coming out. Refill with cool water, swish, and pour off again until it stops foaming up when you put in new water.
Now, fill it again to the level of your first soak and - you guessed it - soak another 20-30 minutes. The water will probably look less cloudy this time, and also fewer bubble and floaters.
Finally, give it one or two more pours/rinses just to flush everything out. Now you are ready to cook with it!
This may be a bit of overkill, but using this method I have never had a problem with aftertaste or tummy ache.
Step 3: Prepare the Mango - Regular Recipe
Take your thawed bag of mango (you did thaw it, right?). Open it up and remove a few chunks at a time. Slice the chunks in half, or thirds for the really big ones. Place the chunks in a bowl for holding - the bowl you will create the salad in if stopping here, or a bowl for marinating if you are doing the spicy.
Cutting the mango is not strictly necessary, but I have had it both ways and cut it more pleasant to eat.
Step 4: Preparing the Mango - Spicy Version!
Now, we are going to marinate the mango and accomplish two things: one, give it a little kick without overwhelming the entire dish and two, making a nice "dressing" to mix in the finished salad.
Ideally, do this step during the first soak of the quinoa. The finished mabbqs tastes a little better if this has an hour or more to marinate, but as little as 30 minutes does work.
Take your cut mango in the bowl you will marinate it in, and add whatever juice was in the bag. Also add any juice on the cutting board. Now add 1/4 cup of white vinegar and ~ 1/8 cup apple cider vinegar. I don't have an actual 1/8 cup measure, so I eyeball it as half the 1/4 cup measure.
Measure out one level tsp of cayenne pepper (if you try this and find it not spicy enough, feel free to up it - but I would recommend trying it this way first so you have an idea of where this is starting from). Add ~1/2 tsp of chili powder. I do have a half tsp measure but ... well for the sake of fewer dishes I eyeball this measurement too ;)
Stir this all up. You want to make sure the mango slices all get as even a coating as possible. They will not be all submerged and that is ok.
Pop this in the fridge while it sits and lets move on!
Step 5: Cook the Quinoa, Part 1
Dump your rinsed quinoa in your large pot. It will probably be clumpy and that is ok! It is not necessary to smooth it out across the bottom of the pot, but I think it makes it easier to figure out how much liquid to add.
Now you are going to add your liquid. I don't measure this out by "cups" or anything; instead, I measure it as however much liquid it takes to be about 1/4 inch above the level of the quinoa.
You can use plain water, or any kind of broth you want. I am using home made chicken broth here. I am not sure that it adds all that much to the finished product, but I like to think it does ;)
Set this, covered if you can, on the stove on medium heat. Check it about every 10 minutes. I usually find that my quinoa is cooked in 30-ish minutes.
Now that you have the quinoa set up on the stove, lets go back to prep!
Step 6: Rinse Your Beans
Step 7: Cook the Quinoa, Part Two
I removed the lid to take the picture for you, NOT to stir. I find it cooks faster and more evenly if I don't try to stir until the end. Maybe I am nuts (ok probably I am but that is a different story), but it works for me.
So lets move on while the quinoa cooks down some more.
Step 8: Chop Up the Bell Pepper
Step 9: Cook the Quinoa, Part the Final
At 25-30 minutes (or ~5 after you take the lid off, if your time is varying), give it a "scrape test" (second picture). If you stir it up, drag a spoon through it, and can see liquid "seeping" out of it, cook it longer. When you can stir/drag and not get the liquid seeping you can remove it from heat.
I like to remove it when it no longer seeps but isn't sticking yet. This gives me a softer quinoa. If you want it a little firmer, you can cook it til some stickage occurs. This will be more difficult to clean up after, but it is certainly an option!
Now that your quinoa is cooked, you can dump it in the bowl you will be making the salad in.
Step 10: Mix the Salad
I have not done this with fresh cilantro myself. The recipe calls for 1 cup of it, but I can't speak for whether that is not enough, just right, or too much. We are not huge cilantro fans in my house, so I do the freeze dried stuff. 1/4 cup seems to be enough to get the flavor in there without being overpowering; I don't think it would taste quite right without *something* ... if you guys play with other herbs I would love to hear how it works! I have thought of trying mint one time ...
Step 11: Chill and Enjoy!
I hope you enjoy this recipe! It does take a little planning and prep, but makes a lovely dinner and several good lunches (based on me and my husband's experience)! I think it would be a nice pot luck dish too!
If you try any variations (a spicy vinegar instead of cayenne pepper? other marinades for the mango? something I haven't even thought of?) please share!
So after I posted this, I got to thinking ... thin sliced red onion in place of all or some of the bell pepper would probably be very good! I can't eat raw onion, so if someone tries it let us know :D