There are times when you should leave well enough alone and times you shouldn’t. I’ve been contemplating that a lot now that I’m into the second course of my program and have been well reminded of that constant state of anxiety that comes with being a student. There is always something I should be doing (like right now! I shouldn’t be blogging, I should be writing a review paper!) and I’m constantly battling myself. Should I have left well enough alone rather than signing myself up for two years of this? Should I now be leaving well enough alone rather than seeking out a supervisor for a much bigger project? Hmmmm. Probably not. That dang hangnail, on the other hand? I definitely should have left it alone.
Cooking, too, has those elements. There are times I tweak a recipe way beyond where I know I should, and often as I’m mixing in that last ingredient I’m screaming in my head, “this is going to mess things up!” But, in cooking, and in life, some of the best things happen when you refuse to leave well enough alone.
I went tinkering with an old favourite recipe, this wild rice and chickpea salad, after Nicole tweeted me asking if she could make it with quinoa. I remembered back in the summer my friend Anne telling me she sometimes made it with edamame instead of chickpeas. And so, I didn’t leave well enough alone. I reduced the rice, replaced part of the grain with quinoa, replaced the chickpeas with steamed edamame and way upped the volume of beans, and swapped out pecans for chopped toasted almonds. The result? My new favourite grainy salad. Let’s never leave well enough alone (except with those dang hangnails!) okay?
One year ago: Such a slacker! No posts!
Two years ago: Roasted Pumpkin Lasagna
Multigrain Edamame Salad Recipe:
Wild rice is pretty hard to find in Stockholm, so I ended up using a wild rice blend which was brown, red, and wild rice. It was expensive though, and didn’t have very much wild rice in it. Next time I think I’ll just use red or brown rice.
This makes a lot of salad. It’ll definitely feed a crowd at your next family dinner or potluck, or it’ll pack up into tasty lunches for the week.
1 cup uncooked wild rice blend (brown, red, wild, or any combination thereof)
1 cup uncooked quinoa
500g (about 3 1/2 cups) frozen shelled edamame
1 large red pepper, diced
2 medium plum tomatoes, diced
1 cup chopped cilantro
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup almonds, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp honey (or other liquid sweetener)
1 Tbsp grated ginger
1 clove garlic, grated or crushed
1/4 cup light soy sauce (I prefer Bragg)
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
3 Tbsp sesame oil
Rinse the rice blend and then set it in a pot with about 1 3/4 cups of water and put the lid on. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for about 40 minutes, until rice is tender but not mushy. Set aside to cool.
Rinse the quinoa and then set in a pot with 1 1/2 cups of water and put the lid on. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low and simmer about 10-15 minutes. Quinoa should be fluffy, and not at all mushy. Set aside to cool.
Steam or boil edamame for about 5 minutes. Drain well, and set aside.
Toast the chopped almonds in an oven pre-heated to 325 F / 160 C, or you can toast them in a dry skillet over medium heat. Either way, toast for about 10 minutes until you are just starting to smell them, and be very careful to not burn the nuts. Set aside to cool.
In a small bowl whisk together the dressing ingredients.
In a large bowl combine cooled rice and quinoa with edamame, diced pepper, tomato, cilantro, and cranberries. Pour the dressing over and give everything a good mix. If you’re serving this right away, half of the almonds through the salad and garnish the top with the other half. If you’re not eating it right away or are packing for lunches, leave the nuts out until the last minute to prevent them from becoming soggy.
This salad is crammed full of healthy things, so I’m just going to highlight a few ingredients.
Edamame is a great source of both protein and fiber. They’re also a good source of molybdenum, manganese, iron, phosphorus, vitamin B2, heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, and potassium. Edamame is the best whole, unprocessed form of soy you can find, which makes it a great choice. Opt for organic whenever possible as GMO soy is extremely common.
Quinoa not only has a very high protein content (about 18%), but it also contains a complete set of essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. It’s a great source of dietary fiber, phosphorous, and is high in magnesium and iron.
Brown rice is a source of dietary fiber, manganese, selenium, magnesium, and tryptophan. Did you know that the process of converting brown rice to white rice destroys 60 – 80% of the vitamins and minerals, and all of the dietary fiber and essential fatty acids? Think of white rice like cake, it’s a special occasion food and should be eaten in moderation. Brown rice, on the other hand, is a whole food with a myriad of health benefits from colon health to cholesterol lowering.
Cilantro is a good source of vitamin C and dietary fiber. It is known to bind to heavy metals such as mercury and help the body rid of them. Cilantro also stimulates digestion, and aids our digestive system in the production of digestive enzymes.
Almonds are high in monounsaturated fats – this is a healthy fat when consumed in moderation, the same type as is found in olive oil. Almonds are also a good source of manganese, vitamin E (which has antioxidant properties) and magnesium.
Do ahead: This is a nice sturdy grain salad and it’ll keep in the week, dressed, for up to 5 days. If you’re making it ahead of time just keep the almonds out until the last minute so they don’t go soggy. I packed a few 500ml mason jars full of this salad and took it for lunches for the better part of the week. It was great to have a controlled portion when I was hungry, and packed really well.
All text and photos © The Muffin Myth 2012