I find it calming to flip through a physical cookbook; I read the stories, examine the photographs, study the ingredients, and determine what I will make and what little spin, if any, I will put on it. I love to do this when we travel, too. L reserved The Food of Portugal by Jean Anderson from the Library, and what it lacks in pictures (those “old” cookbooks!) it really makes up for in charm. I flipped through twice, the second time marking recipes: some for now and others for when we’re there and surrounded by the country’s bounty.
Last year’s trip to Hawaii was transformative for many reasons, but especially so in regard to our travel style. I have been known to travel for food: to plan our days around it and quite literally spend blood, sweat and tears finding the perfect restaurant. While it paid off at times, more often, we found ourselves lost, hungry, and cranky. Last trip, we started cooking some (in that case most) of our meals in, and it saved us in so many ways! We saved money, time, and avoided those hunger “emergencies” that are inevitable when you are dead set on finding the perfect place. So, ahead of time, we are flipping through the recipes of the region to get an idea of some meals to try on our own.
Meanwhile, here in Pennsylvania, this time of year is that awkward in-between time when it comes to ingredients. The potato and apple stocks have depleted and the earliest spring vegetables are still waiting for the last of the cold to pass.
This week, determined not to let the last of the lemons rolling around the fridge and the parsley taking up a quarter of the top shelf go to waste, I referenced one of our favorite books by master chef Yottam Ottolenghi, and stumbled upon a salad just begging to be made. The only cooking required was to prepare the quinoa, and we just so happened to have a dish filled, waiting to be used. Done.
This herb-centric salad is perfect at room temperature. It is quick to put together (even if you have to make the quinoa), gluten-free and vegan, and perfect on its own or perhaps with a poached egg on top.
Spring White Bean and Herb Salad (GF+V)
Very slightly adapted from Plenty More
- 1 1/2 c cooked quinoa
- 2 cans cannellini beans (about 3 cups if preparing yourself)
- 4 small handfuls parsley (~3 cups), chopped
- 3 small handfuls mint (~2 cups), chopped
- 6 green onions, thinly sliced
- 3 small lemons, peeled, seeded, and chopped
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- 4 T extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- black pepper to taste
Directions: Combine quinoa and beans together in a large bowl. Then, gently stir in the remaining ingredients and serve. Note: Adjust seasonings to your preferences. Enjoy at room temperature or cold.