This summer I’ve been facing the proverbial question every human seeks to answer at some point in their life. What is my greater purpose on this planet? Really since the election last fall, I’ve been asking myself the question of how can I make a bigger difference in the world. Is my work meaningful? Am I using my time and talents as efficiently as I can? Am I truly living my dharma?
I’ve been quiet on the blog lately, as you might have noticed. Not because I had a lack of motivation or content to share, but because I’ve been evaluating what my voice is in this increasingly crowded online realm. It’s easy to churn out blogposts and social media shares, but in a time that feels so filled with dare I say…”fake news”…and trendy wellness fads, I needed to step back and check my own intentions. Call it Saturn Return, call it existential questioning, call it the Trump era and climate change…whatever it is, I’ve been in a deep period of reflection and self-inquiry on my path and purpose. And everything has been up for review.
I haven’t fully arrived on the big answers to these questions yet, but through this exercise, I have come to realize how much meaningful community matters to me and taking the time to root into what is real. Somehow, these experiences always leads back to food and the moments shared around a good meal.
Whether it’s been backpacking the Kalalau trail with my closest friend this spring and sharing kitchari on the beach made over our little butane burner, or beautiful groups gathering around the table together in Taos and Sonoma this summer at our longer women’s retreats, or slow Sunday porch picnics with friends over long conversations into the night. We come together to share nourishment on many levels, beyond the macronutrients of the meal. And in these uncertain times, the one thing I know is that I’m grateful for what is simple and what feels real.
This recipe was born out of a minimally stocked fridge post-travel and a quick need to make something tasty up for a lunch with a friend I hadn’t seen since my return from the islands. I had come home from a trip and immediately started soaking the mung beans. The original intent was for a soup, but the soaked beans quickly turned to sprouts (it’s been hot and humid in Oklahoma!), and to this salad they went instead. I like keeping my pantry stocked with staples like quinoa, brown rice, barley, and an assortment of beans. I store them in jars on my open shelving, so in moments where I need to get creative with few ingredients, I can easily see what I have on hand and get Top Chef crafty with the basics I have hanging around. For these last lingering hot days and wild summer heat waves, this cooling herb salad featuring the last of summer’s bounty was both nourishing, light and satisfying to eat and to share. Here’s to balancing meals, more time with meaningful community and saying yes to living a life with clearer purpose…whatever that may be ahead.
MINTED CORN, QUINOA & MUNG BEAN SALAD
1/2 cup whole mung beans, soaked & sprouted
1 cup quinoa, cooked
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 ear sweet corn, shaved
1/4 cup chopped mint
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/2 lemon, juiced & tested
To sprout the mung beans, place the beans in a large bowl, cover with 2 cups of filtered warm water and let soak overnight. If the beans absorb all of the water, add more to cover. The next day, drain and discard the soaking liquid. Rinse the beans once more with cold water and drain. Line a baking sheet with paper towel. Spread the beans evenly on the prepared pan, cover with a towel, and set the pan on a counter out of direct sunlight for another day to allow the beans to begin to sprout. If the beans are not sprouting after 24 hours, rinse once more under cold water. Line the baking sheet with fresh paper towel and spread the beans out again. This process may take between 36 and 48 hours total, depending on how warm and humid your kitchen is. When ready, the beans will be softer and will have grown little white tails, signaling that they’re ready to eat. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator to stop the sprouting process. Before serving, rinse in cool water, and toss with olive oil and lemon juice to lightly coat. Season with salt to taste.
When your mung beans are ready to go, the rest of your salad ingredients can be made. For the quinoa, bring 2 cups water to a boil in a medium pot. Add the quinoa and reduce to medium heat, cover and cook until tender. Remove from heat, set aside and allow to cool. Next, shave the corn from the cob into a large bowl. Add the chopped herbs, lemon zest and juice. Toss until lightly combined.
To serve, spoon the quinoa into the bottom of a bowl or plate. Layer with the mung sprouts. Next, top with the corn, tomato and herb mixture. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Drizzle the yogurt dressing over top
Herbed Yogurt Dressing
1 cup organic whole milk yogurt
2 tbsp finely chopped mint (or fresh herbs of choice, basil and dill also work well)
1 small clove garlic, minced (*omit if overheated)
1/2 lemon, juiced & zested
1/4 tsp pink salt
cracked black pepper
In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, citrus, herbs and spices. Whisk together. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Makes 2-4 servings