Most days, I wake up early to have a few moments of tranquility before the day begins. I read food blogs and clear out my email inbox, sip my cup-and-a-half of coffee, and if you catch me on a particularly good day, you might even talk me into getting my yoga mat out.
But on Saturdays during the summer, my mornings look much different. I wake up early, gulping down coffee as I hook my saddle-bags onto my bike, and peddle down Dean Keeton early enough to nod and smile to power-walkers and walk-of-shamers. I pass the ACC Rio Grande campus, 6th street, and eventually Mellow Johnny’s, and suddenly, there it is–the mecca for Austin foodies–the downtown farmer’s market.
I love to comb through every vendor’s tent. It’s a treasure hunt for me, and it’s so worth the crowds and heat. This time of year, around mid-July, I start longing for cool autumn breezes and cloudier weather. But then I remember my favorite part of summer–the rainbow of fresh vegetables at the Johnson’s Backyard Garden stand, fresh berries and peaches in little wicker baskets, and the special relationship that forms with the person who brings their food to your plate.
This salad has the tangy bite of summer and plenty of crunch from fresh vegetables. Adapt it however you want–other veggies, different spices, more beans–but I promise it will be so much more delicious if the ingredients are local.
Cumin-Lime Summer Quinoa Salad. Serves 6.
1 c. dry quinoa
2 c. water
2 c. black beans, cooked (or 1 can)
1 c. cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1/2 to 3/4 red onion, diced
1 clove of grlic, minced
1 bell pepper, diced
large handful of cilantro, minced
1-2 limes, juiced
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. smoked chipotle powder or chili powder
3/4 tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
Cook the quinoa: Combine the quinoa and water in a small saucepan. Cover and let simmer for 15-20 minutes, until water is absorbed.
Make the dressing: Whisk the lime juice, oil, cumin, chipotle powder, salt, and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings.
When the quinoa is done, combine it with the black beans in a large bowl. Stir in the remaining ingredients, adding the dressing 1/3 at a time. Serve as a side dish or on top of a salad.