Time for some therapy. Me, not you (unless you’re up for that sort of thing). I’m settled on the couch, so I hope you’re sitting in an uncomfortable looking chair. I’ve been pondering why it is that I’m frequently eating meals with at least one ingredient on the cusp of perishing. On the one hand I could argue that by getting a veg box I am always running the risk of not being able to eat up all the contents in time. Were I to live next door to a farm shop I could pop in daily for fresh ingredients, and I wouldn’t be hoping to make a pile of veggies last a whole week without any of them disintegrating into mush. But this is not entirely true. If I’m honest the problem is me and my shopping habits. When I go to a store I go with a list and I don’t go very often. I buy what’s on it. But I often put things on that list for a planned future meal that never materializes because other things got in the way. I often find I’m changing my meal plan because we’re not hungry enough for the dinner I had planned or we’ve got back too late for me to make the thing I had in mind. Friends joke that if the zombie apocalypse comes mine is the house we should barricade ourselves in, as we won’t need to venture out for food any time soon. I know that it has irked me in the past to not be able to make something exactly because I don’t have the right ingredients, but I’m not like that so much now. Unless I’m actually craving something a specific way I’m now more willing to fiddle around with a recipe and not freak out. I think I need to be more strict with myself on shopping trips, to not pop things in the trolley just because they might be useful in something. I’m probably about evens on feeling chuffed I found the thing I suddenly need in the fridge because I bought it on a whim, and eating something odd because I’ve suddenly got a sausage, a pineapple and a open carton of passata to use up! Which leads me to this recipe. Mangos were on sale, so I had one of those and the thing was borderline self-juicing when I finally used it. And I had half an avocado. That’s another part of the problem. I am but one, and C is still tiny, so I’m often using half of this and half of that because I would be the size of a house if I cooked for even two adults and then ate most of it myself. Combined with leftover chicken from a weekend roast this recipe was using up three things that needed to go, and luckily it was gorgeous! As the original recipe said – summer in a bowl. You wouldn’t pass up the opportunity to have some of that, would you! I didn’t have the parsley called for in the original, and I’m not a big fan anyway, so I subbed in a bit less mint, which worked wonderfully. You should use whatever you prefer.
Chicken, mango, avocado and quinoa salad
Prep time 10 minutes Cook time 15 minutes Makes 2 adult servings
You can serve this salad warm or cold, but start it in enough time to cook and cool the quinoa before you assemble the salad and serve
- 120g quinoa
- 340ml light stock, chicken or vegetable
- 200g cooked chicken, chopped into chunks
- Half a ripe mango, chopped into chunks
- Half an avocado, chopped into chunks
- 1 large, or 2 small, spring onions sliced thinly
- 2 tsp olive oil
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped
- salt and pepper
First cook your quinoa according to the packet instructions using the stock instead of water (see note below*). Mine needed gently simmering for 15 minutes until the stock was absorbed and the grains were tender. Spread the quinoa out in layer on a large plate and allow to cool. Either construct your salad or chill the quinoa in the fridge. In the meantime prepare the fruits and vegetables and squeeze the lime. When you are ready to serve the salad fold the chicken, mango, avocado and onion into the quinoa. Pour over the lime juice and olive oil and stir gently to coat. Now add the mint and season, stirring again to combine. Serve immediately.
*If your packet of quinoa has no instructions (as mine does not), then you need to rinse the quinoa or it will be bitter. In a sieve wash it well, swishing it around against the mesh, for a few minutes to get the bitter coating off (you can’t see it, so it’ll look the same after, just wet!). I then simmer mine in stock for 15 minutes until the liquid has evaporated and the grains are tender.