I love going to farmers’ markets. Perusing the fresh vegetables, seeing what’s in season, getting soaked in the rain… it’s all part of the experience.
Here, we have two markets (three in the summer, but the Waterloo market isn’t open yet): St. Jacobs and Kitchener. When I first visited the St. Jacobs market, I was shocked. People there aren’t selling the fruits of their labour- they’re selling the same, imported vegetables that the stores do! Granted, the produce is usually cheaper than at the grocer, but its often way past its prime. At the market I grew up frequenting (and selling garlic at!), if you didn’t make it, bake it, or grow it, you couldn’t sell it, and that’s what I believe a farmer’s market should be. That being said, there are honest farmers sandwiched between the stalls selling mangoes, grapes, and bananas.
Lately, I’ve been visiting the market with a friend and taking orders for the 30-odd people in my residence. So, while we scrounge for the cheapest bulk bananas and mangoes (by the case!), I sneak off to find the little guys. Last weekend, I made off with locally grown rhubarb, wild leeks, asparagus, apples, and hothouse cucumbers and tomatoes (something I learned- it’s too cold in Ontario to grow hothouse in the winter. Not that this surprises me, after fully experiencing a “proper” Canadian winter.) Of course, I also grabbed as many mangoes as I could possibly consume in a week!
So, how to battle the rain that’s been pouring down lately? A nice, citrus-y, fruity salad!
Spicy Quinoa Salad
I’ve made this in many different variations; this is just one. If you don’t have/want/like mangoes, substitute another soft fruit (I think peach or nectarine would be best), or replace it with a couple of chopped tomatoes for a more savory salad.
1 c. cooked quinoa (~1/2 c. uncooked)
1/2 long english cucumber, peeled + chopped
1 ataulfo mango*, peeled + chopped
1/3 c. plain, fat-free yogurt
1 T. olive oil
1/2 t. garam masala
1/2 t. cumin
1/4 t. ginger (or a small nub of fresh ginger, finely grated)
salt + cayenne or hot sauce, to taste
romaine lettuce, for serving
*I only specify ataulfo mango because of the size. Any mango will work, but if it’s exceptionally large, you might want to snack on a piece while you’re cooking
Dressing: Mix yogurt, olive oil, spices, lime rind, and juice from half of the lime.
Place quinoa, chopped cucumber, and chopped mango in a large mixing bowl. Toss with dressing, and spice to taste. Serve on a bed of romaine lettuce, garnished with a slice of lime.
Helpful hint: do not add cayenne (or anything else spicy!) by trying to sprinkle from a container with a half-centimetre diameter opening, or you’ll be scooping out cayenne for the next five minutes and enjoying a very spicy salad.
(Note: In the photos, the salad appears to have a lot of dressing, but I decreased the amount appropriately for the recipe.)
Enjoy on its own, or serve as a side to your favourite entrée (I had mine with asparagus, wild leek, and tempeh pot pie).