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.

About thesolitarycook

I'm a chef, a cook, a teacher, a reader, a writer, a bike-rider, a dog- and cat-woman
This entry was posted in Meatless Monday, RECIPES, Salads, STORIES, Vegan, Vegetarian. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Karen Rush says:

    What an absolutely fantastic description and endorsement of food52. I am still playing on be fringe there but I love it. Everything you say I agree with. What I also love is your absolute enthusiasm for life in all its guises. You throw yourself joyously into everything you do. I can observe and feel that from Canberra Australia. You use social media brilliantly even turning twitter into something special. That’s my observation anyway. My daughter is coming for dinner tonight. I will prepare your salad in the certain knowledge that we will enjoy it immensely. So thank you for gift of you today (it is Tuesday morning here). Viva the internet and its use to connect like-minded people of good heart together!

  2. susan and jay says:

    Fact check: you’ve been on food52 almost exactly 2 years! and a good time it’s been. Count me as one of the people who’ve come to rely on you for the right answer when a baking question is asked — and many other topics as well. And count me as one of so many who have had fantastic experiences with your recipes, had tears well up when your neighbors cake reunited you with your neighbor’s family, met vicariously your own family…. what a culture f52 has created in such a short time! Thank you for being there, and now, here!

    • Has it really been that long?! Wow, time really does fly when you’re having fun. Thank you for your kind words. Food52 and now thesolitarycook have been whole new experiences in community. By the way, my sister and I are taking a road trip to meet those nice people in Michigan this fall.

  3. J. Breslouf says:

    Hi Solitary Cook (Boulangere) – thank you so much for featuring my recipe on your site – I’m totally thrilled and honored. I love your version – it’s much more composed and organized than mine! Congratulations on being a finalist in the mango contest – your mango and shrimp rolls look amazing. See you on Food52!

  4. ldpw says:

    Stupendous is a great word for this salad.

  5. Karen Rush says:

    The end of my story is that I couldn’t find mangoes in this freezing continent and I could not bring myself to purchase those that had been shipped in from the northern hemisphere so I adapted the recipe to the late autumn/fall. I substituted pears for mangos and made the dressing with extra virgin oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, ginger and very finely diced French shallots. My daughter and I were thrilled with the result. When mangoes are back, the original recipe will be on my menu. This whole exercise and interchange is the very reason why I love food52 so much.

    • I love telling students that the recipe isn’t always the voice of god. Deviations therefrom are possible. I think your pear combination sounds wonderful, and the dressing with ginger and shallots sounds like something to be sipped from a champagne flute!

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