Two Fridays ago, while visiting Steve’s family, I had lunch at The Backyard in Milton, DE. I’ve been there a few times before and enjoyed such treats as cauliflower steak and avocado fries (yes, you read that right), but this last time took the cake. I knew I wanted to try and stay gluten-free (always a challenge at restaurants), and that quickly cut down on a lot of options. Mostly I’m choosing from salads these days, but when there’s something like a black bean mango salad on the menu, I’m not complaining. This was the mother of all salads. It started with quinoa, included a somewhat spicy tomato and pepper salsa, black beans, barbecued chicken, and mango. And in case that’s not enough, it came with a side of spicy ranch dressing. So, creamy dressing and your feelings on meat aside, this is a pretty healthy meal. As soon as I finished it, I knew I’d be making it myself soon.
Exactly one week later, I set out to recreate this little delight. It actually doesn’t cost too much to make; the most expensive ingredients are the quinoa and the chicken, and you’ll have leftovers of those for other meals. I always keep black beans in the cupboard, and I usually have some version of the Rotel tomatoes and chilies on hand too. I’ve been working my way through a bag of quinoa for some time, and this was a great way to finish that up. So when I started this, I needed mangoes, chicken, barbecue sauce, and ranch dressing.
Here’s what I did: I started the chicken and quinoa first. The chicken needs to be absolutely slathered in barbecue sauce and baked at 350 (flipped once halfway through) for about 35 minutes. After that, I turned the broiler on for about 5-7 minutes, flipping it halfway through that as well. I wanted a really good coating of sauce on these because I’d be slicing them later on. While that was baking, I cooked the quinoa in vegetable stock – that takes a total of about 25-30 minutes.
Once everything was cooking, I sliced up two mangoes and waited for everything else to finish up. I did let the quinoa and the black bean mix sit and cool off for a few minutes, and I let the chicken rest for just a few minutes as well. I didn’t necessarily want anything to be piping hot – it is a salad, after all.
And then it was just a matter of plating – my favorite part! The only thing you can’t see here is the quinoa, but it’s hiding under there.
I have to say, this was one of the most delicious meals I’ve ever made. I enjoyed it, Steve enjoyed it, and I will absolutely be making this again (Friday, perhaps?)! I topped mine with some ranch dressing – not the healthiest, I know, but it balances the spicy flavors so well.
Mango Black Bean Salads
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 ripe mangoes, sliced
1 cup quinoa
1 can Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilies
1 can black beans
8-10 ounces barbecue sauce
Optional: 1/4 red onion, diced
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
2. Place chicken breasts in glass baking dish; cover and toss with barbecue sauce
3. Bake for 30-35 minutes, flipping halfway through
4. While chicken bakes, cook quinoa according to package directions (typically, boil in vegetable stock 12-15 minutes and let sit until liquid absorbs). Let cool.
5. In a saucepan, combine black beans, Rotel, and red onion (if using). Cook over low heat for 8-10 minutes stirring regularly. Let cool.
6. When chicken is cooked through, turn on broiler and broil for 5-7 minutes, flipping halfway through.
7. Once chicken is finished, let sit for a few minutes, then slice.
8. In each serving bowl, combine one large spoonful of quinoa and one of bean mix; arrange chicken and mango on top and top with Ranch dressing