Before cherry season arrives, mangoes are my favorite indulgence. I love standing over the sink eating around the pit and letting the juice drip down my chin. For this reason, I love to eat mangoes alone—or with my daughter– she loves to get in on the action and join me with her own mango pit over the sink. There is something so visceral and primitive about eating with your hands in this way—I just love it. Mangoes are extraordinarily healthy for you as well as delicious. They are a good source of vitamin C and A as well as a source of vitamin B6. It’s low-cal too. One cup fresh mango is approximately 100 calories. Mangoes also contain a number of enzymes to help with digestion. This time of the year, when ripe mangoes are plentiful I will buy an entire box with mixed levels of ripeness so that they don’t all ripen at the same time. The ripest and juiciest ones I love to chill, peel and dice to eat as a snack. To get the most out of your mango save the pit for last and indulge yourself by eating it alone, over the sink.
This past week I wanted to do something a little different. I had a mango that was not-quite-ripe so I decided to make something on the savory side rather than the sweet side. I was inspired by the red quinoa that I had found in the back of my pantry during a short lived blast of spring cleaning. If you are not familiar with quinoa, you should be. It is enjoying a huge burst of popularity right now. Pronounced ‘keen-wah’, it is gluten free and one of the least allergenic of all grains. It is high in protein and contains all of the essential amino acids in small quantities. Quinoa is low fat, versatile and easy to cook. It also reheats easily and depending on the recipe may be served hot, cold or room temperature.
Mango Quinoa Pilaf
1/2 cup of Quinoa cooked in 1 cup of water (you can cook this ahead of time and just keep it covered in your fridge.)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup of diced Mango
1 scallion, white and green parts sliced
1/4 cup of mild olive oil
1 tsp. garam masala
2 Tbsp. Rice Vinegar or 1 Tbsp. White Wine Vinegar
1 tsp. grated ginger
1 tsp. apricot jam or Major Grey’s Mango Chutney
Tiny pinch of cayenne
To cook the quinoa: Bring the quinoa and water to a simmer. Season with 1/2 tsp. salt and cover. When all of the water has been absorbed and the quinoa has released its halo, remove it from the heat and set aside to cool.
While the quinoa is cooling, combine all of the vinaigrette ingredients and whisk well.
Once the quinoa has cooled, toss with the mango and scallion. Drizzle the vinaigrette over and toss to combine. You may not use all of the vinaigrette. Season to taste with salt and pepper and enjoy!