Spicy Black Bean Soup

Do you ever get a cooking itch you just have to scratch? Like you get something in your head and you just can’t crush the desire to make it until it happens? That’s what happened to me a few weeks ago upon realizing I had never cooked with dried beans (seriously, WTF).

Delicious Vegan Spicy Black Bean Soup

So one recent Saturday, I was digging through the clearance food items at Target (shocking, I know) and happened upon a 1 pound bag of organic black beans for $1.42. And I took it as fate.

black beans - dried

Cue the urge to make black bean soup. Spicy, hearty, black bean soup. Yum.

Black Bean Soup - Vegan!

This recipe is sort of inspired by Panera Black Bean Soup. But I gotta say it – this might be a little better (sorry/still love you Panera).

Easy Spicy Vegan Black Bean Soup

This was my first time using dried beans for anything, and I must say, I totally understand why people prefer using dried beans over canned. The beans turned out al dente and were less mushy than canned beans.

black beans

Yes, it took longer, but if you have the time (and you really don’t have to babysit the soup), I’d say it’s worth it!

Spicy Vegan Black Bean soup

I made this soup super spicy, but you don’t have to. The recipe includes ranges of spices to use and you can base how much you use on your taste preferences. Personally, I like it HOT HOT HOT so that’s just how I made it.

Vegan Black Bean Soup - Kbaked

This soup is excellent with some cubed avocado and cilantro on top. You could also top it with shredded cheese or vegan cheese, and tortilla chips. Up to you!

Black Bean Soup - Vegan!

Spicy Vegan Black Bean Soup

Black Bean Title Card

Prep Time:  30 minutes
Cook Time: 1-3 hours, depending on if you use dried or canned beans
Servings: 3-4

Ingredients – Soup:

  • 1 cup dried black beans or 2 cans black beans
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 poblano pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons liquid aminos or soy sauce (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 1-2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 – 1 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1-2 tsp turmeric (adjust all species to preference)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Cilantro & avocado for topping, plus any additional desired toppings (suggestion: vegan cheese, crushed tortilla chips)

Method:

  1. If using dried beans, soak for one hour in 4 cups water. Boil for 10 minutes and allow to simmer for additional hour.
  2. Place poblano pepper in foil and broil in 500 degree oven until charred.
  3. Meanwhile, dice onion and bell pepper. Mince garlic.
  4. Heat oil and onion and garlic on stove and cook on low heat until onions are translucent.
  5. Add spices and continue to cook. Add bell peppers and cook until peppers are soft.
  6. Remove charred pepper from oven. Peel off skin. Remove seeds. Dice. Add to other peppers.
  7. If using canned beans, rinse and drain. Add to large pot with 3 cups water or veggie broth.
  8. Add nutritional yeast, aminos/soy sauce and onions/peppers to beans and allow to simmer on low heat for one hour.
  9. Add juice of one lime. Top with cilantro and avocado and serve.

PS: You Can watch me make this on YouTube!

3-Ingredient Tofu Tacos

Taco Tuesday is such a thing. Except that I rarely take part in Taco Tuesday because Tuesday is also half price sushi night so it’s usually sushi on Tuesdays and tacos on Wednesdays. At least in my world. And it works for me. I’m determined to get #tacowednesday trending.

Easy Veagn 3-Ingredient Tofu Tacos

But truly – tacos are good any #dayoftheweek. And although I absolutely DESPISE going out for American-ized Mexican food (the stuff covered in grease and cheese aka a fast track to spending the rest of the day on the potty), I do adore California style Mexican food, full of fresh flavors and colors. Like fresh non-Taco-Bell-esque Tacos. I actually adore these kinds of tacos. They’re the perfect meal – full of flavor, spicy and satiety, tacos are always a great option for any meal.

Tofu Tacos - Vegan

When you think about a taco, you hit almost every food group, and if done correctly, tacos make a darn healthy meal.. Think about it: protein (tofu in my case), fruits (tomato counts, right?) veggies (lettuce), healthy fat (avocado), legumes (black beans), and whole grains (corn tortilla). What a #win.

5-Minute Vegan Tofu Tacos

So I like to whip me up some tacos, not only because they are delicious, filling, and healthy, but because they are so gosh darn easy. This recipe literally takes 10 minutes, start to finish. To me, it feels like the equivalent of heating up a frozen pizza. It’s that simple and, arguably, faster.

Vegan 3-Ingredient Tofu Tacos

I love me all sorts of vegan fillings in my tacos. Black beans are always a favorite, but after having that as the only option for 5ever as a vegetarian option, I set out in search of something else.

Easy Vegan 3-Ingredient Tofu Tacos

And then I discovered tofu tacos. The texture of tofu adds a creamy yet satisfying element to a taco filling, and provides a lovely blank palate to pick up taco seasoning. Ps Trader Joe’s taco seasoning is incredible. It’s a product of South Africa and has a lovely spice to it. Probably the best on the market. TJs does it again.

Tofu Tacos

Make these tacos any day of the week for breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner. The best part is that it literally takes less than 10 minutes start-to-finish and only requires simple ingredients you probably have in your house. yay.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Level: easy

serves 4

Ingredients – Tofu Filling:

  • 1 14-ounce package firm tofu
  • 1 package taco seasoning (I love Trader Joe’s!)
  • 1/3 cup salsa of choice

Toppings / Extras:

  • 8 tortillas
  • sliced avocados
  • diced tomatoes
  • salsa
  • cilantro
  • vegan cheese sauce

Directions:

1. In a medium saucepan, warm salsa. Open tofu and pour off extra liquid if tofu is set in liquid.

2. Cut tofu into 4 pieces. Using fingers, crumble tofu into saucepan. Pieces can and will be uneven. Go with it. Add taco seasoning and stir until all tofu is evenly coated with salsa and taco seasoning.

3. Simmer over medium heat until tofu is evenly warmed, any excess liquid has evaporated, and all tofu is evenly coated with seasoning.

4. Fill tortillas with a heaping scoop of tofu filling. Top with beans, salsa, avocado, cilantro, and whatever else your heart desires. 🙂 Enjoy !

Sweet Potato, Parsnip & Sweet Pea Samosas

[ Disclosure: “I received free samples of Libby’s new Vegetable Pouches mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Libby’s and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.” ]

I hope you’re sitting down, because these may actually might be one of my favorite creations ever. They are everything. EVERYTHING! Why, you may ask? Well, they combine several of my favorite things in a healthy, carb-covered, veggie-filled, spicy delightful way. Drooling yet? I am.

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Allow me to explain: the utter mention of the two beautiful words, “sweet potato” make me perk up in the same way my dog Millie does when I say the word “treat.” Suddenly my posture straightens, my body is alert, awake, and ready to move to wherever the sweet potatoes may be. Must eat.

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Then if you add parsnip, it’s like telling me I won the lottery. Because parsnips holds a top spot on my favorite foods list. It was love at the first bite. The nutty, woody, carroty-sweet flavor is unique and something I simply adore.

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Cook both these veggies with spices and cumin and curry and ginger and you’ve got an Indian-food inspired dish, or sorts, full of delicious root vegetables whose flavors have been lovingly coated, accented, and highlighted by the spices and seasonings that hug them.  Samosas may sound a bit intimidating (like, “too much work”) but allow me to assure you that using a pre-made pizza dough was a major shortcut I took, and it truly worked well! I was delightfully surprised at how perfectly soft yet crispy these babies baked up, and made the whole cooking process fast and easy. Screen Shot 2014-10-26 at 9.24.40 PM

What ties this filling all together, though, is what’s added at the end. Peas from Libby’s add a sweetness and a softness to the other spicy, earthy veggies, and the fresh cilantro and lemon juice add a sparkle and freshness that seals the deal. The folks at Libby’s sent me some samples of these tasty Sweet Peas, which came in a handy pouch that could fit into even the most cultured space-crunched pantry, were easy to open (no can-opener needed hooray!), easy to use, and tasted as fresh as canned or frozen.

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This is also a major win for someone who lived in Manhattan only a mini-fridge for a year, and was unable to use frozen veggies. So I really appreciate this new pouch concept. Way to go, Libby’s! These are things that New Yorkers worry about. Amongst other things like bedbugs, lice, and broker’s fees. Screen Shot 2014-10-26 at 9.22.42 PM

These samosas won’t fix bedbugs, lice or broker’s fees, but they can totally turn around hunger pangs, unhappiness, and boredom with the usual side dish or party snack. I beg you, please make these. Wrap up all these hearty and sweet, spicy vegetables, stick them in something doughy, carby, and delicious, bake them, and you have pockets of pure healthy joy, fresh from your oven. Dip in cilantro chutney if you desire, or eat plain. They make a great side dish to an Indian feast or a unique and tasty appetizer. Happy eating! 🙂

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Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Level: Easy

Makes 6-8 samosas, serving 4-6 as a side dish 

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole wheat pizza dough (you can use a st0re-bought one, which I did, or you can make your own!)
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 2 large parsnips
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 1 cup Libby’s Green Peas
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger or 1/2 teaspoon dried ginger
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon roasted red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond, soy or coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

Cilantro Chutney (optional):

  • 1 cup cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger or 1/2 teaspoon dried ginger
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup, agave, or honey (if not vegan)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

2. Peel sweet potatoes and parsnip and cube into bite-sized pieces (roughly 1/4th inch cubes) and microwave until just tenderized, about 1 minute. You just want to soften them a bit, but they should still be somewhat firm.

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3. Meanwhile, heat olive oil over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Mince garlic into a paste and add to warm oil. Chop onion and add to oil and garlic and allow to simmer on low heat until the onions are translucent. Add ginger, curry powder, cumin, tumeric, salt and pepper and continue to simmer. Add cubed parsnip and sweet potato cubes and continue to cook over low heat. Add lemon juice and almond milk and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetable cubes are all coated in spice mixture and the liquid of the lemon juice and almond milk has reduced to a lightly coating on the vegetable. You do not want a wet mixture, just enough moisture to transfer the spices to coat the vegetables without drying.

4. Remove pan from heat and fold in Libby’s peas and chopped cilantro. This is your filling. It’s delicious, even on it’s own.

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5. On a lightly floured surface, roll out whole wheat pizza dough until very thin. Using a pizza cutter, kitchen shears, or sharp knife, cut into right triangles, roughly 4 inches x 4 inches x 5.5 inches. Place two spoonfuls of the filling on each triangle. Fold each triangle in half, covering filling, and fold over each edge gently, sealing each by pressing gently with fingers.

6. Place samosas onto baking sheet and place at the oven for 20-25 minutes, until pizza dough has browned and the samosas sound hollow if tapped lightly with finger. Enjoy with cilantro chutney, your chutney of choice, or any other delicious dips or goodies you can think of! Happy and healthy eating :).

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7. To make cilantro, combine cilantro, lemon juice, ginger, syrup, salt, pepper, and hot sauce in a food processor or blender and puree until liquified. Serve in a small bowl with samosas.

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 Click around below to see what other cool recipes you can make with Libby’s Table products from fellow members of the Recipe Redux ! Happy eating ! 🙂

Autumn Black Rice Salad [with Pomegranate, Coconut & Sweet Potatoes]

This morning I had this odd, sudden realization that I haven’t made or eaten black rice in a while. Actually, it wasn’t that sudden or odd. I thought about it after Beyond Sushi Instagramed this. And then I cried and sobbed because I wanted Beyond Sushi, because as we all know it’s my favorite thing on earth.

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Then I thought fondly back to my beloved Rainbow Black Rice Salad. I love love love that dish. It’s flawless in my opinion. Crunchy, fresh, bright, flavorful and satisfying. Ahh, yes, I’ve eaten that black rice salad many-a-times and never been let down.

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After a few minutes reminiscing over all the good times I’ve eaten said salad, I decided that lunch today was going to be a black rice salad, of sorts. Except I didn’t have those ingredients and I was feeling like something a bit more fall-ish since the Rainbow Black Rice Salad is a bit summery. I consulted my fridge. Half a pre-cut/seeded pomegranate. Awesome. I was instantly inspired by how bright the red would look against black rice. Step one towards recipe creation/greatness. I decided to work from here.

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Next stop: pantry. Sweet potatoes are never NOT in my pantry, and today was no exception. Grabbed a big one, and got chopping. While I popped those in the oven, I debated what else would pop on the plate with red and orange. As I did so, I reached for more ground coffee, which happened to be next to some coconut shreds. Coconut + black rice is also a favorite combo of mine (it worked amazingly in this black rice pudding) so those went in, as well. Upon assembly, I added some cilantro. Initially I thought this flavor combo would be weird, but it somehow pulled everything together. The clean note of the cilantro worked well with the earthy black rice, the tangy crunchy pomegranate seeds, and the creamy, hearty sweet potato cubes. The dish came together so well, my mom even decided she liked it better than the Rainbow Black Rice Salad. Personally I love them both, and think both are beautiful and satisfying for any event depending on your current taste mood.

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The tanginess of the pomegranate seeds removes the need for an acidic dressing as in the Rainbow Black Rice salad, and really all this salad needs is a drizzle of good olive oil, and a few dashes of salt and pepper. This is another keeper, I tell ya. Make a big batch and serve as a side dish, entree, or pack for lunch. Eat up!

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Level: Easy

Serves 2 as entree or 4 as side dish

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup black rice
  • 1 pomegranate, cut and seeded
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1/3 cup coconut shreds or chips (sweetened or unsweetened depending on preference)
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Meanwhile, cook black rice on the stovetop according to directions on the package.

2. While the rice is simmering, peel and cube sweet potato into bite-sized pieces and place in the oven. If you’re short on time, you can also just microwave these for 3-4 minutes until tender.

3. Cut and seed the pomegranate and set seeds aside. Dice cilantro.

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4. Cool rice and sweet potato cubes. When they are cool, pour rice into a bowl, and mix 3/4ths of your sweet potato cubes, your pomegranate seeds, your coconut, and cilantro (saving the remaining 1/4th for garnish).

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5. Drizzle olive oil onto salad and add salt and pepper and mix.

6. Serve rice salad in a bowl or plate, topping with remaining sweet potato cubes, pomegranate seeds, cilantro and coconut. Add more salt & pepper if desired. Enjoy~!

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Spicy Sunflower-Infused Waffle’d Falafel Balls [Vegan]

Reason #1 you should make these: The name. Waffle’d Falafel Balls. Or Wafalafel. Whatever you call it, it’s great.

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Go ahead, say it out loud: “I made falafel waffle balls!” *instantly* you feel awesome. And a bit silly. Two great things to improve your mood and the mood of anyone lucky enough to share these with you.

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Which brings me to reason #2 you should make these: they are honestly ridiculously amazing. I [nearly] had to slap my mom’s fingers off them when I was taking photos. Although baking them in a waffle maker is totally unnecessary, it does wonderful things for the texture by providing more surface area for browning/crispiness and creating more dense and more airy pockets and gets a nice Maillard reaction going (which I explained better when I used the waffle iron to make Chocolate Chip Waffle Cookies here). You have my permission to make this recipe and simply bake them in the oven. They will still taste magnificent even though they would be as fun to say or quite as interesting to eat, but I think you’ll still enjoy them, and so will your body.

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Leading to reason #3 you should make these: they are quite nutritious! Chickpeas are powerhouses of protein, fiber, and quality carbohydrates which will give you oodles of energy to power through your day without leaving you feeling weighed down. If you aren’t already friendly with beans and legumes, I suggest you start eating more. They provide protein and satiety while also delivering the goodness of plants via an array of vitamins, and minerals. Aka, they win. Eat up friends, and don’t be afraid to toot. #worthit

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I made these vegan by replacing the egg typically seen in falafel recipes with one tablespoon chia seeds and 2 tablespoons water, which provided some viscosity and emulsification to the mix. I also ground up sunflower seeds for a boost of palatable fat, a more interesting texture, and a complimentary earthiness to dance with the chickpeas.

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These would be great on a salad, as part of a snack plate, or tucked into a pita or to bulk up a sandwich. Or, you can do what my mom did and just eat them plain. That works too. However you eat them, baked or waffle’d, enjoy these tiny nutritious nuggets of pure joy.

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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Level: Easy
makes about 8 small waffle patties – serves 2-3

Ingredients:

  • 1 can chickpeas (15oz), drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds (can also use tahini instead)
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds + 2 tablespoons water (or 1 egg, if not vegan)
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1/3 cup green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder or cumin
  • a hearty squeeze of Sriracha or other hot sauce (if you like it hot, which I do ;-))
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

1. Plug in your waffle iron and preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Place chia seeds and water in a small bowl to congeal and set aside.

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3. Drain and rinse can of chickpeas.

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4. Chop green onions and cilantro.

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5. Place sunflower seeds in a food processor and grind until fine. Slowly add teaspoon of oil until the sunflower seeds become a peanut-butter-like paste.

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6. Add chickpeas, onions, cilantro, spices, chia/water mix, juice of half a lemon, and Sriracha to food processor. Whirl until you get a nice mushy paste that is slightly wet and sticks together.

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7. Roll into donut-hole sized balls and place each in a quarter of the waffle iron. Close and allow to cook until golden brown and firm, about 2-4 minutes.

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8. Transfer to baking sheet and place in oven for about 10 minutes to crisp them up a bit. This is optional, but I like things crispy, so I did it, yo.

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9. Allow to cool and eat on a sandwich, pita, or salad. Or straight to the face!

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Rainbow Black Rice Salad

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Thanks to Beyond Sushi, I have a several month long obsession with black rice.

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So what is black rice? Well, I will tell you.

Not only is it more dramatic looking and exotic than white rice, it’s a  heck-of-a-lot healthier, too. It’s even better for you (and more chic) than brown rice. It’s much higher in fiber, because the rice kernel isn’t milled offed and polished the way it is in white rice. It also contains a lot of B vitamins that white rice is stripped down of (even though some are fortified back in, it’s not the same!), as well as manganese, phosphorous, iron, and all (yes, ALL) of the essential amino acids. Umm, hello vegetarian-friendly nutritional powerhouse!

As of about a month ago, it’s available for $2.69 per bag at Trader Joe’s ! HOLLA!

It’s also bursting with antioxidants. It contains anthocyanin – a water soluble antioxidant which colors things red, purple, or blue, depending on pH. This is what gives the rice that that blacky hue and makes it bleed purple (just like an NYU violet! #fightonNYUviolets #intimidating) It’s pink in acids, purple in neutral (ie water), and greenish-yellow in alkaline. So hypothetically you could even use black rice to test pHs of solutions. The possibilities with this stuff are endless. Anthocyanin also gives blueberries, acai, cherries, and concord grapes their colors. It’s also in a lot of flowers. Basically, it’s pretty.

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Speaking of being a complete amino acid source, I’ve been reading a book called The China Study on my shiny new Kindle that my sissy gave me as a graduation present. It’s very interesting. Actually, it’s more like eye-opening / life changing. It’s basically a summation of research that has been highly ignored in the public eye but is backed by NIH and the National Cancer Institute, all of which point to diet as one of the biggest factors in controlling, even reversing cancer. And a lot of it has to do with protein intake – primarily from animal sources. Basically, the high-protein low-carb fad is actually more than not-good for your health – it’s downright dangerous. One of my fav parts of this book? It sticks up for my little bullied friend – gluten. Bless you gluten. May you live on in my heart and soul. #carbs5ever. Anyways, I’d highly recommend anyone interested in health/cancer/science/nutrition check out dis book. Even if you don’t agree with all of it, it’s always good to broaden your horizons and widen your prospectives.

I made this for a graduation lunch I had with some lovely friends of mine. Regarding this lunch, someone told me no one has parties for college graduation. I say I just like reasons to cook nice things for people. Living alone, I feel weird taking a lot of time or buying a lot of ingredients to make myself fancier or complicated things. It feels frivolous. It’s not. I’m going to start #treatingmyself more. Anyways, in my opinion any small accomplishment is worth celebrating with food. Next time you get a cavity filled or an A on your test, hit me up. I’d love to cook you something yummy. Like this black rice salad.

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I was nervous that people wouldn’t like this. I actually had a mild panic right before all the people arrived like OMG ALL THIS FOOD IS WEIRD AND HEALTHY WHAT IF PEOPLE DON’T ACCEPT ALL THIS HEALTHY FOOD. WHAT IF SOMEONE JUST WANTS A DAMN CHEESEBURGER OR SOME WINGS. After a few deep breathes I realized it was too late to do anything except serve everything I made. And everything was well received, especially this salad. This post is now getting way too long and I bet no one is even reading anymore so I’m finna wrap things up.

This black rice salad really great for parties actually. It looks pretty. It looks impressive. It’s like tasting the rainbow in a non-Skittles way. And it tastes ah-MAZING. It can be served as a side dish or an entree. Whatever way you make it just make sure you do.

Ingredients for the Salad:

  • 2 to 2.5 cups black rice
  • one large red bell pepper, diced
  • one large green bell pepper, diced (can also use orange or yellow, whatever is around)
  • one large mango, cubed
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 8-10 green onions, chopped
  • crushed peanuts and/or cashews (about 1/4 cup or more if you’d like, also can be omitted)

Ingredients for the Dressing:

Note: I eyeballed this. Use about 3 tablespoons each oil + 3 tablespoons lime juice with 1 tablespoon honey as a guideline

  • 1 part vegetable oil
  • 1 part lime juice
  • dash white vinegar
  • honey to taste (enough to emulsify and sweeten)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • dash of sriracha or red pepper flakes (optional)

Directions:

1. Cook black rice as instructed on package. The package will probably tell you to use a ratio of 1:2 for rice:water. I suggest using a little less. And not cooking it until it’s mushy. The salad works better when it’s a little al dente.

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2. While rice is cooking, dice bell peppers and green onions.

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3. Cube your mango into about 1/4 inch cubes.

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4. Chop cilantro.

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5. Pop rice into the refrigerator and allow to cool completely. Meanwhile, combine ingredients for dressing in a small bowl and whisk.

7. Combine 3/4ths of chopped produce into cooled rice. Mix.

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8.Pour dressing over salad and toss gently.

9.Add remaining 1/4th of chopped produce on top. Garnish with crushed nuts.

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10. Watch out for creeping pups.

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10.5. Especially when they look super pathetic and are trying to tell you they need to go poop before you eat…

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11.EAT.

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