guys- i’m incapable of keeping things alive.
my coworker once entrusted me with his beloved beautiful potted lemon tree which he’d had since starting his job (it represented his flourishing career), he asked me just to look after it for a while as he transitioned to a new position. i killed it. it just got all sickly and anemic-looking and died within a few months. i’m hoping the tree and his career are not as closely intertwined as was conveyed to me.
when i was in my undergrad, my friend M bought a fish and let me name it. i named her fluffy. M asked me to babysit fluffy for a while when he went back to Toronto. then he basically turned out to be a deadbeat fish father* and left me with nothing but a fishbowl, fluffy and a few packets of bloodworms. no monthly fish-support cheques. no birthday cards. fluffy and i tried to scrape by but it was hard sometimes and we had to depend on my parents for help. despite all that, fluffy grew up to be a pretty well-rounded and accomplished fish… but she also died a little after her 2nd birthday.
i also had a hamster when i was seven. but i can’t talk about that one just yet. the pain’s still too fresh.
i kill all the things. accidentally, of course- but they still die… so i don’t think it really makes a difference to them whether or not i had mens rea (see that? second year crim courses coming allll back baby.)
so imagine my surprise that this summer i’ve been overwhelmed with this need to have my own vegetable patch. never mind the fact that i live in a tiny apartment with zero outdoor real-estate. never mind the fact that i can’t keep cacti alive. i want to grow veggies. kale. cherry tomatoes. basil. mint. zucchini. ALLS OF IT. I WANT ALLS OF IT.
ughhhhhhhh. this could have something to do with the fact that i’m increasingly aware of how ridiculous expensive fresh produce is and i’d rather just grow it myself and not worry about weird pesticides and icky chemical residues on my food. the amount of veggies and fruit i consume daily is actually kind of frightening.
which brings me to this salad. i really used to hate salads because i thought they were pansy food. but then i realized that was cuz i was making pansy salads. this is not a pansy salad.
this salad is a nutrient and protein-packed powerhouse. not to mention it tastes fan-freaking-tastic. a rainbow of veggies is mixed with quinoa and tossed with a delicious thai-inspired ginger-peanut dressing. the protein from the quinoa, edamame, cashews and peanut butter as well as the fiber from the veggies will keep you full for hours. and if you’re a texture-person, this salad’s got what you need. crunchy cashews and veggies, creamy smooth dressing and slightly chewy quinoa… best combo ever.
Crunchy Cashew Thai Quinoa Salad (Vegan and Gluten Free!)
Adapted from the Ambitious Kitchen
Makes 4-6 servings
- ¾ cup uncooked quinoa
- 1-2 cups shredded red cabbage, depending on how much crunch you like
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- ½ cup cashew halves or peanuts (honey-roasted is good)
- 1 cup edamame
- Other options: diced red onion, green onion, cilantro (i’m not a big fan of these so i left them out)
- Fresh lime
- For the dressing:
- ¼ cup all natural peanut butter (almond butter also works)
- 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
- 3 tablespoon soy sauce, gluten-free if desired
- 1 tablespoon honey (use agave if vegan)
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- Water to thin, if necessary
- Rinse quinoa with cold water in mesh strainer. Put quinoa in a medium saucepan and add 1 ½ cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes or until quinoa has absorbed all of the water. Remove from heat and fluff quinoa with fork; place in large bowl and set aside to cool for about 10 minutes. You should have a little over 2 cups of quinoa.
- To make dressing: Add peanut butter and honey or agave to a medium microwave safe bowl; heat in microwave for 20 seconds. Add in ginger, soy sauce, vinegar, and both sesame and olive oil and stir until mixture is smooth and creamy. If you want a thinner dressing, simply stir in a teaspoon or two of water or olive oil.
- Add as much or as little dressing as you’d like to the quinoa. I always start out with a little bit of dressing and usually add more to suit my taste preferences. Alternatively you can save the dressing for later and add when you are ready to eat; however the flavors of the dressing usually soak into the salad so it’s a good idea to add it to the quinoa first.
- Next fold in red pepper, cabbage, carrots, and whatever other veggies you fancy into the quinoa. Garnish with cashews (best to do this right before serving so they don’t get soggy). Serve chilled or at room temperature with lime wedges if desired.
killed it ;)
*M if you’re reading this- i forgive you. but don’t you dare buy a pet monkey. don’t you dare even joke about it.