I originally intended to write up some smart, witty post about this Spicy Red Quinoa Salad that I wanted to share with you today. A post that focused on a dish that is fantastic and flavorful, great for summer, loads of health benefits, yada yada yada…. But today I can’t write that post.
It feels awkward to write about food and the silly things of life when so much in our nation at present feels askew. Our nation is wrestling with incredibly difficult challenges. Individually and communally we wrestle with our thoughts and our feelings toward news of recent/more shootings, conversations of racism, loud political agendas, political power positioning, lives lost, lives forgotten, cycles of history that seem to repeat but with different faces behind them and more social media in front of them. It feels heavy. It is heavy.
I try to decipher the loud messages communicated on tv, radio, and online narrative by the media. Is it exaggerated? Is it truthful? Is there a backstory to this headline? Is it representative of what actually was and not what will bring in more viewers/ratings? I honestly struggle between the social responsibility I feel of staying informed and educated on current events versus disconnecting from sources of news because it often just feels like too much. Too much bullying, too much hate, too much positioning, too much graphic content. I don’t like turning on the news only to be told that everything I’m about to see is ‘viewer discretion advised.’ And I don’t want to become accustomed to the ‘shock and awe’ nature of news today because over time I think it promotes numbness, in my head and my heart. And I don’t want to become numb. I want to be able mourn with those who are mourning, give comfort to those who need comforting, cry together, laugh together, and when moments of victory arise rejoice together.
Today, I watched a press conference with the doctor who tried to save the lives of the police officers fatally shot in Dallas. His words are powerful, transparent, and vulnerable. Then I read this poignant post written by Lindsay Ostrom, my favorite food blogger over at Pinch of Yum, who happens to live within walking distance of the intersection where Philando Castille was shot. I’m grateful for her words and the expressions of love and peace she witnessed in spite of a situation filled with heartache, frustration, and anger. Then there’s Linda Louden’s article on Huffington Post. She addresses white privilege and the deadly effect of silence. This is not light reading material. It’s causes discomfort. And rightly so because the topics addressed are difficult and cause us to look deep within our own thought processes.
And that’s where I’m at today.
But in the midst of it all I do continue to think about food. Not with any intent of trivializing the hard stuff in life. But because I believe food can play a small part in bringing people together. Countless times, I’ve seen food bring people together from different races, cultures, belief systems, and backgrounds. Food is unique in that way. I’m not saying food is the answer to our nation’s challenges and shortcomings. It’s definitely not the answer. But food can provide an entry point when we are often wondering how to reach out to those around us who are hurting or those who need someone to truly listen. The tiny act of inviting someone to share a comforting, delicious meal can nourish the soul and the heart. And I think that can be a good place to start the process of healing, reconciliation, conversation.
So I continue to cook.
And blog about it.
And share recipes with you like this Spicy Red Quinoa Salad with the hope that you will share them with others around your dinner table. And that it can be a step – even if it’s a baby step – toward shunning injustice and acts of evil and instead pursuing a mission of unity and love that could potentially grow into something beautiful and restorative. ❤
A delicious salad that is filled with vegan protein, delicious veggies, and a spicy kick of flavor. Great as a meal in itself or as a side dish. Also tasty with grilled shrimp or chicken added on top.
- 1 cup red quinoa
- 2 cups water
- 1 (15 oz) can cooked black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 red bell pepper (about 3/4 cup), finely diced
- 1 ear fresh corn, grilled + kernels removed from the cob (see notes below)
- 1 scallion, diced (use both white and green parts)
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (plus more for topping)
- 1/2 jalapeño, finely minced
- avocado for topping (optional but it’s really good with it!)
- Bring the quinoa and water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for about 15 minutes. Turn off heat and let sit with lid on for 5 more minutes. Then fluff with a fork.
- While the quinoa is cooking whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, garlic, cayenne pepper, cumin, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
- Add the quinoa to the dressing and toss.
- Add the black beans, red bell pepper, corn, scallion, cilantro, and jalapeño and toss well to combine.
- Garnish with avocado and additional cilantro, if desired.
For grilled corn, heat grill to medium. Remove husks and silk from the ears of corn and place in a large bowl of cold water with 1 tablespoon of salt for about 10 minutes. Remove corn from water and shake off excess. Place the corn on the grill, close the cover and grill for 15 to 20 minutes, turning half-way through or until kernels are tender.
Another method for tasty “grilled” corn is to cut the corn off the cob and place in a pan over medium heat with a drizzle of olive oil and sauté until the kernels begin to brown slightly.
Nutritional information does not include avocado which is up to you with how much you would like to top it with!
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