Mood: It’s the mid-week hustle & bustle, & work is starting to get really hectic. I don’t have much time to cook elaborate meals & I’m slooowly starting to slide towards unhealthy quick fix alternatives. But wait! Just as my slide starts to turn into a crawl, my trusty friend, Quinoa (seriously, it’s one of my weekly staples!), comes to my rescue:) This sweet, spicy & wholesome salad is easy to make & it also tickles my tastebuds in wonderful ways! Ridiculously simple. Comfortingly healthy. Excitingly delicious. #Winning:)
Time: 25 mins
Serving Size: 1 large bowl
Category: Salad; Main Course; Side (I could eat a hearty salad for breakfast, lunch & dinner!)
Author: Animagus Eats
• 1/2 – 3/4 cup uncooked Quinoa*
• 1 – 1/2 cups Water/Vegetable Broth
• 1/2 cup Sweet Corn
• 1 firm/fresh Mango*
• 3-5 tsp Chill Oil/Chilli Sauce/Sriracha Sauce*
• Seasonings: Salt, Pepper, Dry Herb Mix (optional), Garlic Powder (optional)
• 1/2 tsp Lemon Juice
• 1 tsp Olive Oil (optional)
• 1 tsp Toasted Sesame Seeds (optional)
• 1 tbsp Fresh Cilantro (optional)
My Secret Sauce:
Taste. Tweak. Repeat.
1. Rinse the Quinoa well in cold water & then drain it & place it a large microwave-safe bowl. Add the water/vegetable broth to the bowl & mix well with the quinoa. The ratio of quinoa to water/broth is 1:2. Hence, for 1/2 cup of quinoa, use 1 cup of water/broth & for 3/4 cup of quinoa, use 1 1/2 cups of water/broth. Using water is absolutely acceptable; the broth will just make it a bit more flavourful. Add 1 tsp of Olive Oil (optional) & a pinch of Salt to the quinoa/water/broth mixture & place the bowl in the microwave. Cover the bowl & set it to cook in the microwave for 15 minutes. At the halfway mark (after around 7-8 minutes), pause the microwave timer, & check on the quinoa. Give it a quick stir, make sure it hasn’t dried up, & then place it back in the microwave for the remaining cooking time. If you would rather make the quinoa on a stovetop, then just follow these simple instructions by The Kitchn:) I usually prefer to use the microwave because it’s fuss-free, convenient & allows me to multi-task in the kitchen:)
2. While the quinoa is cooking away, let’s prepare the other ingredients:) First, the mango! Peel off the fruit skin & chop it into bite-sized cubes/pieces. Make sure the mango is firm & fresh. If it’s too mushy, then the whole salad will taste a bit wet & fibrous (yikes!). Keep the mango pieces & the sweet corn aside. If you’re using fresh Cilantro for the garnish, then take about 1 tbsp of cilantro leaves, chop them coarsely & keep aside for later.
3. At this point, your microwave should be going BEEP-BEEP-BEEP! Quinoa time:) Take the bowl out of the microwave & check on the quinoa. All the water should have dried up by now & tiny white tails will have appeared on your quinoa:) This means that your quinoa is ready! If there is still some water remaining in the bowl or if the quinoa tastes uncooked, then place the bowl back in the microwave & cook the quinoa for another 1-2 minutes. Once the quinoa is properly cooked, let it rest for about 5 minutes & then fluff it gently with a fork. Believe me, the fluffing makes all the difference:)
4. In a serving bowl, add the quinoa, mango, corn, chill oil/sauce, lemon juice & your seasonings of choice. The quantity of the seasonings really depends on your preference:) I used about 1 tsp Sea Salt, 1/2 tsp Pepper, 1 tsp Dry Herb Mix & 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder. If you don’t have chill oil at home, then just add about 1 tsp of Olive Oil to the Chilli Sauce & voila, you have an instant Chilli Oil:) Mix all the ingredients well & do a taste check. Remember, it’s all about the secret sauce: Taste. Tweak. Repeat:)
5. Lastly, garnish the salad with toasted sesame seeds & fresh cilantro leaves. You can also add other garnish toppings of your choice:) Crushed Peanuts & fresh Arugula are some of my other favourite garnish ingredients:) And there we go! Your Corn, Mango & Chilli Vegan Quinoa Salad is now ready:) Healthy, wholesome & delicious:) Happiness:)
* Red/White/Black, any kind of Quinoa will do:) I used Tricolour Quinoa.
* If you want to use raw mango instead, then I recommend cooking it, for about 5-10 mins, with some sugar, water & spices in a saucepan. This will soften up the raw mango pieces & give it a sweet & sour taste & a chutney like texture.
* As I mentioned in the recipe, if you don’t have Chilli Oil at home, then you can whip up an instant Chilli Oil by mixing 1 tsp of Olive Oil with the 3-5 tsps of Chilli Sauce. A simple workaround, or Jugaad, as we call it in India:)