I used to think friendships could only be cultivated across tables, in parks, at school or work, or any other place that was literally physical.
But I was caught by surprise when an exchange of comments with a Texas-based girl eventually developed into a friendship – one that is still evolving and keeps surprising me every time, in a very lovely way.
The sweet girl who inspired me to make this colorful mango avocado salsa and this Mediterranean-inspired barley salad? Yes, the same girl who first struck up a conversation with me over my garlic hummus recipe, a conversation that finally led to a friendship, even if it is virtual and we’ve never even met.
Today is a day of firsts – it’s the first time I’m asking someone to guest post, and it’s the first time Min’s guest posting – so you could say today is a special day for both of us. I’m so excited!
Min’s cheerful, honest and sincere way of writing has charmed me since the first day I’ve read her posts. Having studied nutrition, she’s constantly looking to try new ways to incorporate healthy foods that are still full of flavor and zest. Just head over to her blog, MJ and Hungryman, which she co-hosts with her husband, Tim, and you’ll know what I mean.
Thank you dear Min for agreeing to guest post and share your lovely recipe & writing with Dish by Dish! And thank you dear Tim for testing out her recipe!! I can’t wait to make it!
Presenting……my beautiful friend Min!
MANGO QUINOA SALAD WITH SHRIMP
I’m thrilled to be guest posting for Felicia while she’s off having a fabulous time with her mom and sister. As Felicia mentioned earlier, she and I connected over her delicious hummus recipe, and our friendship has continued to blossom since then. She is one of my dearest blogging friends, and I am reminded again of how food and writing truly bring people together.
While my cooking primarily focuses on healthy foods made easy, I was not always this health conscious. Growing up, I faithfully cleaned off whatever my mom put on my plate, never questioning or showing interest in how it got there. I was notorious for snacking and didn’t shy away from eating straight out of and oftentimes finishing the bag of chips, crackers…you name it. Unexpectedly, at the age of 24, I began to starve and binge as a way to gain some sort of control in my life when everything else seemed unsettled and troubling. I rejoiced when I saw the numbers on the scale decrease and felt defeated when I didn’t. I eventually dropped down to 85 pounds. The wake up call came when I realized I would never become a mom if I continued down this self-destructive path.
It was then that I got in the kitchen and started cooking…cooking to save my life. Six years later, I am healthier than I’ve ever been. I’m also a soon-to-be Registered Dietitian and a food blogger! Who would have thought?
Life is so unpredictable, and that is why one should never give up, no matter the circumstances that may temporarily blind you from all the beauty that life has to offer.
I truly believe that if you want to take control of your health, you MUST get in the kitchen and start cooking! There are no pills, quick-fixes, or packaged foods that will give you the sustaining results that you seek. You can read more about my journey here.
Today, I want to share an exciting salad with you that is incredibly refreshing and of course, nourishing – Mango Quinoa Salad with Shrimp.
I love to cook with quinoa not only because of its health benefits but for its fluffy texture and nutty flavor. It is extremely versatile, blending well in salads, baked goods, stir-frys, casseroles…
This recipe is super easy to make! The most time-consuming part is chopping all the veggies, but if you’re like me, that could be a lot of fun…even therapeutic ;).
MANGO QUINOA SALAD WITH SHRIMP (Serves 4)
1) 1 Ib. shrimp, grilled
2) 1 cup quinoa, raw
3) 2 mangoes, diced
4) 2 avocados, diced
5) 1 ¼ cups corn, fresh or frozen and thawed
6) ¾ cup diced cherry tomatoes
7) 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
8) 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
9) ½ cup finely chopped red onion
10) ¾ cup chopped fresh cilantro
11) juice from 2 limes
12) ½ tsp lime zest
13) 2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
14) 1 tsp ground cumin
15) 1 tsp ground chili powder
1) Grill shrimp. Cook quinoa: rinse, bring 2 cups of water to boil, add quinoa, turn down heat and simmer covered until all of the liquid is absorbed (approx. 13-15 min), use fork to fluff.
2) Mix together with mango, avocado, beans, cilantro, corn, red onion, and tomato.
3) In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice and zest, oil, cumin, and chili powder. Add to the large bowl and mix well. It is best served cold so plan on making several hours prior to eating.
To inspire you to cook more often with quinoa, I leave you with a few other recipes. Enjoy!