This past weekend I had a rare girl’s night out and had an opportunity to sample the amazing food at Poppy, where they serve all their meals in “thali” form. The word means “plate” in Hindi, and is a style in which a variety of dishes are served at once, kind of like tapas. I got the vegetarian version, and the tiny ceramic plates and bowls made me coo with happiness because I’m all about mini things.
Four hours and thirty delicious miniature dishes later (we each had 10), my friends and I were still jabbering away, so the hostess had to practically man-handle us to the bar area to seat other paying customers. She was supremely gracious about it, and we ended up scoring free dessert. I hardly ever go out at night (or go to fancy restaurants) and just hang out with friends without kids screaming bloody murder in the background, so this was a special treat on every level indeed.
Anyway, one of the topics that came up during the dinner was the horrific effects of sugar. My friends are awesomely health-conscious and in fantastic shape. Me? Not so much. I LOVE sugar. I crave it, worship it, go the extra mile to include it at all times. Toss in some butter with the sweetness, and I’m aces. But after some chilling facts of the poisonous properties of sugar, I almost, almost passed on the free dessert.
Later, I thought about sugar some more and found that my enthusiasm for the sweet stuff was waning just a tad. Not completely, mind you, but I do want to be healthier. Which finally brings me to the point of this post. Hounded by the guilt of saccharide over-consumption, I made quinoa salad. Tons of it.
It’s quite delicious. I like using Trader Joe’s quinoa (the tri-color is especially tasty, but I used plain here). I also added some leftover Israeli couscous aka ptitim that I just discovered is considered children’s food in Israel – no wonder I like it so much. But I think I prefer this salad without the couscous.
I hesitate to even call it a recipe but here’s what I did:
1. First you make some quinoa. The method I like for making quinoa is here. The key is in the water to quinoa ratio – the packaging always recommends too much. 1.5 cups of water to 1 cup of rinsed quinoa is perfect. Place fluffy quinoa in a big bowl.
2. Then drizzle in a touch of olive oil. I used about a tablespoon for 1 cup of cooked quinoa.
3. Open a can of black beans, rinse and pour into bowl.
4. Add chopped vegetables/fruit. I used half a cucumber, a handful of frozen peas and corn, tomatoes, avocado and a couple cloves of garlic.
5. Sprinkle in some salt and pepper.
Voila! You will feel sated but not laden with heaviness after a nice (big) bowl. And because it’s so healthy, I might be able to get away with one small piece of chocolate. Or ten.