Blood, sweat and tears went into my dinner on Monday night. For real.
Picture this: It’s the last day of the Thanksgiving long weekend. I get home from a coffee date with a friend, toss my keys on the counter, take of my shoes, change into my PJs (#priorities), and open the fridge to figure out dinner. I’d already thrown together a whole bunch of leftover veggies as part of my weekly meal prep earlier in the day, but noticed a bag of radishes sitting in the crisper.
I grab them, my mandolin, and get to work with slicing them. They were pretty small, so I didn’t bother trying to pierce them with the tool you’re supposed to use to grip the veggies as you slice. Being the type that hates food waste, of course I’m still trying to slice them down to as close to the root as possible.
As I sliced away, my mind starts to become more engaged with the audiobook playing from my computer. And then it happened. My middle finger had a nasty run-in with the mandolin blade.
Instinctively, I freeze. All at once, I clench my right fingers with my left hand, squeeze them, tilt my head up to the ceiling, squeeze my eyes shut tight and bite my lip to stop a steady stream of 4-letter expletives from coming out.
I maintain this position for about a minute before mustering up the courage to take a peek. Slowly, I look back down to my hands and start to release the grip around my right fingers. I can’t really feel the damage at this point so I really have no idea what I’m about to see. The optimist in me thinks, “well I’ve been standing here for about a minute and don’t see blood yet – that’s gotta be a good thing, right?
I open my hand up a little bit more and see something red in my still mostly curled up right fist. “I CUT IT RIGHT OFF! IT’S FINGER MEAT!! NO!!!!”
Wait. No it’s not. It’s the end of the radish. Thank freaking goodness.
But then I see my middle finger, and in swoops my left hand to cover it up again, like a parent who quickly yanks their child’s head towards them to cover their eyes during the love making scenes in a movie. I run to the sink, turn on the cold water and run my finger underneath, again, tilting my head up to the ceiling and squeezing my eyes as tight shut as I can. (Am I the only one who does this? Why do we do this?)
This goes on for about 10 minutes before I open up the drawer under the sink and single-handedly open up as many Band-Aids as I can. Surely it would stop gushing soon, right? I couldn’t help but envision needing to be rushed to the hospital, still clenching my fingers an hour later with someone yelling “WE’VE GOT A BLEEDER!“, just like in There’s Something About Mary. Thankfully, the context of my situation would be far less embarrassing.
After another 10 minutes of alternating between rinsing and squishing with paper towels, I apply a dry makeup remover pad as a base and layers of Band Aids over top until my middle finger resembles a mummy.
With only a couple of whole radishes left sitting on the counter, I promptly decide I’ve done more than enough slicing, put them back in the fridge, toss the mandolin in the sink, and thank the heavens that the rest of my dinner had already been prepared.
And now here I am, writing this post. I’ve been attentively watching for the red spelling error underline because my middle finger is still in its mummified state which makes typing kinda tricky. But injury aside, I really wanted to share today’s Tuscan Bean and Quinoa Salad recipe with you so in my mind, quitting was not an option! And don’t you worry – there are no radishes or mandolins required. ?
A few recipe notes + helpful tips
Bean best practices
You can use whatever beans you like, and if digestion is an issue that normally makes you shy away from beans, try soaking them first. It might sound like more effort, but it makes a difference. Soaking helps remove the oligosaccharide substance on the surface (which can cause gas and bloating), making the cooked beans far easier to digest. As an added bonus, soaking can also reduce cooking time. Check out more about why I prefer to soaking my beans and grains in this post.
Make your quinoa taste better
If you’re sick of straight-up quinoa, try boiling it in low sodium vegetable broth instead of water. Other ways to add flavour include adding a bay leaf to the water as the quinoa cooks, or quickly stir frying a clove of garlic and some chopped shallots in the same saucepan before adding the quinoa and liquid of choice.
Fresh herbs are a must!
Seriously, they liven up this salad (and everywhere else you use them), and the flavours can help reduce the need for dressing and additional seasoning. I’m of the mind that you can never have too many and toss them on top of just about every meal I eat, but if you shy away from buying them because you think the leftovers will go to waste, simply blitz your leftovers in a food processor with a bit of olive oil and freeze them in ice trays. Voila – instant flavour cubes for pastas, soups, stews, marinades – the possibilities are endless.Print
Make it once, enjoy it all week long! This Tuscan Bean and Quinoa Salad makes a perfect plant-based lunch or dinner that’ll leave you feeling satisfied and energized.
- 2/3 cup uncooked quinoa (this will make about 2 cups cooked)
- 2 cups diced cucumber
- 1 ½ cups halved cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup shredded spinach or baby greens
- 2 cups cooked beans of choice (Great Northern beans, white navy beans, kidney beans and chickpeas are all great)
- 1 large roasted red bell pepper, cut into strips
- 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes soaked in hot water for 10 mins to rehydrate
- 1/4 cup very thinly sliced red onion
- 2 tbsp finely minced fresh parsley
- 1 tbsp finely minced fresh basil
- 1 tsp dried Mediterranean seasoning or blend of Italian herbs
For the dressing (you may have some leftover):
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tbsp dark balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- sea salt and black pepper, to taste
- Boil the quinoa in water according to package directions, about 10 minutes. While it cooks, prepare all remaining ingredients as directed above and toss them together in a large bowl.
- When the quinoa is finished cooking, drain off any excess boiling liquid and let it cool in the fridge for 5-10 minutes. (This will prevent the heat from wilting the greens.)
- Whisk together the dressing. Pour it over the salad and toss well to coat.
- Once the quinoa has cooled, stir it into the rest of the ingredients. Adjust to taste with sea salt and black pepper, plus a little more Mediterranean seasoning if you like. Note that the flavour will intensify after the salad has been left to sit for a few hours.
- Serve with lemon wedges for squeezing over top, if desired.