Skip rolling your sushi, and instead have the same tastes and textures in this easy-to-make (and easy-to-eat) California Roll Amaranth Salad!
Ready in 1 hour, 20 minutes
Creativity is an interesting thing. It can be easy to assume that there is a limited amount of creativity that each person has (that’s why you hear lots of folks saying, “I’m not a creative person!”), but as someone who works everyday in multiple creative fields, I can tell you that isn’t true at all. Creativity isn’t goo in a bucket, and when you’ve used up that goo, your bucket is empty. Creativity is more like a muscle. The more you work it and use it, the stronger it gets. Sure, you can get burnt out—just like you can overtrain a muscle—but for the most part, the more creative work you do, the easier creative ideas come.
And the proof is in the practice. I absolutely get my most creative ideas when I’m working on other highly-creative and highly-intensive projects. Like now, I’m working on recipe development for my second cookbook. You’d think with cooking, writing and photographing 4-5 recipes a day, I’d be totally burnt out. But the opposite is true. The whole process has my creative juices flowing so much, that I actually struggle to keep up with the stream of ideas. In fact, I have a separate notebook I keep just to jot down ideas I come up with to explore later.
So what does that have to do with this amaranth salad? Well, it’s a perfect example of this creative windfall that comes from working on my cookbook. There is a Mexican-inspired amaranth salad recipe in my new cookbook. And it’s amazing (really, super amazing). It has spicy peppers, fresh tomatoes, creamy avocado, a ton of cilantro and a really amazing lime dressing. Craig and I both absolutely flipped for it when we tried it the first time.
Such success with one amaranth salad got me thinking about other grain-based salads I could make, and as I was tossing those ideas around in my noggin, Craig said something that set the creativity on fire. He said, “You know what? This doesn’t have the taste of one, but it almost has the texture of a California Roll.” And he was totally right. I’m not a big sushi fan (another story for another time), but I’ve been able to get behind a California Roll or two, and this amaranth salad did have the same feeling as a California Roll. The amaranth was sticky and tender. The avocado creamy and smooth. And the spicy peppers gave that touch of heat you get from wasabi. I knew I had to make a new version of the amaranth salad, and this time really embrace the California Roll theme. So I headed back to the kitchen, whipped up another batch of amaranth and mixed in crab meat, avocado chunks, cucumber, sesame seeds, and really flavorful sesame-lemon dressing. And the result was amazing! Even I, Ms. Sushi Hater loved this salad. And if you’re a big sushi fan, you can easily up the sushi-ness of it by adding soy sauce, pickled ginger, or even some wasabi paste and nori strips.