Full disclosure: this is not my recipe. It is, unfortunately, my photo, and a terrible one at that. I edited it as passably as I could, but there it is. By the time I realized that I didn’t have one decent shot of this fabulous salad, I was halfway through consuming it. I’m not going to post the recipe here, but rather will link you to Food52, where you may read it for yourself.
But I do want to tell you about it. It’s fantastic. Freaking fantastic. Its author, jenniebgood, layers the flavors and textures in such a way that each bite is distinct in its combination. It is crowned with crispy, deeply-flavored roasted red onions. They rest on a combination of quinoa (the recipe calls for red, but jenniebgood kindly gives you permission to use whatever you prefer, and I had both red and white, so I used them half and half), black beans, diced mangos, and their juices that she suggests you squeeze from the pits. The combination that results from mingling the juices with her Lemony-Ginger Dressing almost cannot be described. And cushioning it all is whatever mixture of greens you choose. She suggests micro greens, mesclun, cabbage, or any combination thereof. It is so extremely good – and filling! – that I am already anticipating leftovers tomorrow. I’m also thinking it would be good rolled into a whole-grain wrap.
Now, for how I came across this beauty. Food52 is one of the best food-writing and recipe websites you are likely to encounter. Participants post recipes on their own pages and as contest submissions. Every couple of weeks a new contest theme is announced; the one that generated this recipe was all about mangos. The editors choose 2 recipes as finalists, and anyone can vote for their favorite. As well, the editors select from among the remaining entries a batch of recipes they’d like to see tested as Community Picks. This is where it gets fun. As soon as the CP candidates are posted, a flurry of activity begins as people begin diving in to choose a recipe to test. One person, one recipe, them’s the rules. Testers have about 5 days to make the recipe and email a response to the editors. Based on the tester’s evaluation, the recipe either is or is not designated as a Community Pick. That is how I came to make this wonderful salad, which most definitely deserves to be crowned as a CP.
I joined Food 52, meaning I set up my user name (boulangere) and profile page, a little over a year ago. I lurked on the fringes for a couple of months, just observing how things worked. Finally, I gathered the courage to answer a question posted on the Hotline. When no one said it was the dumbest thing they’d ever read, I answered another question. And another. And then I jumped all the way in and posted my first recipe. And it’s been a blast ever since. I’ve made wonderful friends, learned abundantly, and eaten like a queen.
If you haven’t yet experienced Food52, I would heartily encourage you to do so. Read through the Hotline questions. Wander around the site. And then jump in! The water is very warm.