this is la ensalada de mi padre


*For several years now, I have cooked for my dad on Father's day. It's fitting, I think - because my dad is not much of a material-centric man and is not the kind of person who really desires objects or things. As such, how I show my love for him is through an act of service, through cooking for him and feeding him, which reciprocally mirrors the ways in which he has nourished me with his care and encouragement throughout the years.

*I cooked several dishes, but I thought this one in particular was very suited to his tastes: he loves Mexican food - especially beans - so this Mexican fiesta salad - which was not too difficult to throw together - seemed to fit the bill. This is a refreshing, flavorful, and colorful dish that is perfect to serve up on a hot summer day. It can be eaten in a tortilla, atop salad greens, or even as a side dish at a barbecue.

*(don't leave out the toasted chili pumpkin seeds - they are key and give this dish a lot of flavor and texture!)


Padre’s Mexican Fiesta Salad
(adapted from the Candle Cafe Cookbook)

serves 2-4

1 cup quinoa (I used 1/2 c yellow, 1/2 c red), rinsed and drained
2 1/2 c water
2 ears of corn1 can black beans
1 red bell pepper, destemmed + deseeded + diced
1 cup hominy
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
juice of 1 lime
salt + pepper to taste
1 cup toasted chili pumpkin seeds*

(optional) 1/2 avocado, diced (I didn’t add this this time, but I definitely would next time!)

*season 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds with 1 tsp chili powder and 1/2 tsp sea salt. Toast at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes.

1. Bring water to a boil in a pot. Add quinoa to the pot, then lower to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes until fluffy. Set aside to cool.
2. Boil (or steam) corn in a large pot of water for about 8 minutes. Remove and let cool.
3. In a large bowl, combine black beans, bell pepper, hominy, chopped cilantro, and lime juice.
4. Using a sharp knife, cut the corn from the cob into the salad mixture.
5. Add quinoa to the salad. Toss well.
6. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

7. Top with toasted pumpkin seeds and avocado.



  1. I love to cook for my dad on Father's Day or his birthday too! Partially because he's so bloody difficult to shop for, but you also describe beautifully why it's so fitting to put in work and care. I always think it's so easy to buy a generic bottle of wine or something, but - and I don't know if your dad can cook, but mine isn't very kitchen-savvy - creating something special for him is way more effort and feeling. Also, I freaking love the sound of the chili toasted pumpkin seeds...

  2. @Indigo my dad is NOT kitchen-savvy either. he can toast bread and boil pasta. that's about it!

    and definitely try the chili toasted pumpkin seeds. so good.