Takeout from Whole Foods is so good and yet so ridiculously expensive. It’s a constant battle for me- the proximity, ease, and tastiness of WF versus money in the bank. Although the pros outweigh the cons, I am starting to feel a guilty knot in my stomach knowing each scoop at the salad bar is probably $2 more. It’s actually a stats puzzle to figure out how to best get my money’s worth at salad bars charged by the pound. Obviously others have thought about this too- see article. Anyway…One of my favorite ready-made salads at WF is their California Quinoa salad. The last time I bought a container of it I thought, why don’t I just make it at home? Well, I looked at the ingredients list and realized it would be more expensive to make with the comical number of little ingredients included in there. So instead I took my favorite parts of that salad (mango!) and made my own.
This is the perfect summer salad to enjoy on a hot day (which we’ve luckily had way more than usual of this summer) and it’s also super easy to make ahead and pack for lunches for the work week. It’s full of nutrients and the peanuts and quinoa provide protein so you won’t even miss the meat. One of my favorite parts about this salad is just how vibrant it is! I’m pretty sure I heard that more color = more healthy but maybe I just made that up…
- 1 cup wild rice/quinoa blend (such as Tru Roots)
- Red bell pepper, chopped
- Cucumber, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 lb mango slices, chopped
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced white and light green parts only
- 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
- 1/4 cup roasted peanuts
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp unsweetened peanut butter
- 1/2 tbsp agave or honey
- Juice and zest of 1 lime
- 1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
- Dash of salt
This salad can pretty much be tweaked in any way you desire. Any kind of grain would work so use what you have and like. I like the texture of the wild rice and quinoa mixture because sometimes quinoa itself gets lost in the other ingredients. Also, if you have other vegetables such as carrots, red onion, or edamame would be nice additions or substitutions. If you are a heavy-on-the-dressing person, you could add more of any of those sauce ingredients. For those of you who are gluten-free just substitute Tamari for the soy sauce. You could replace the sesame oil with vegetable oil, but I think the sesame flavor is nice with the peanut flavors.
- Cook wild rice/quinoa as directed, depending on what you’re using. For Tru Roots, mix 1 cup rice/quinoa mix with 1 3/4 cup boiling water and let simmer for 25 minutes. Let cool and fluff with a fork.
- Meanwhile, combine all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl or jar and mix well.
- Combine the chopped vegetables, mango, and peanuts with rice/quinoa mix.
- Stir in the sauce, mixing well.
- Enjoy right away or preferably, refrigerate and serve cold with a lime wedge and fresh cilantro sprigs!