I make a grand attempt to meal plan. I buy all the groceries for the week on Monday stuffing them into my fridge feeling a real sense of accomplishment. Then come Tuesday my cravings take over and I want to order in Indian, then go out for ramen, and then “oh I’m not going to make this dish, I’ll make something else instead.” Suddenly its Sunday and I’ve lost the plot. Luckily one of the most satisfying things to me is going through the fridge and scrounging up all the last bits I’ve forgotten about and coming up with something delicious. A lot of times it’s in the form of a grain bowl. The sad beet I forgot in the veg drawer. The wilted kale because I always buy too much. Then I just go through the pantry and choose whatever grain and bean or lentil I have hiding out and I’m halfway there.
The beauty about these dishes is that the options are endless, there are no rules, anything works, whatever the season. AND they are healthy! Start with a grain, roast your veggies in a hot oven then choose whatever flavors go well with it. I always add some nuts or seeds, and some type of protein whether it’s cheese, beans or a poached egg. Carrots with couscous…stir in harissa, preserved lemon, pine nuts, garbanzo beans and mint . Asparagus with quinoa… add pesto, marcona almonds parmesan and a poached egg. You get the idea. Here are a few dishes I’ve made recently. I hope you enjoy and get inspired to make your own. All of the recipes serve 2-4 people, depending on how hungry you are
Beets and greens with quinoa, seeds & lemon tahini dressing
- 4 small beets
- 3 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup quinoa
- 6 cups greens ( I used a mix of baby kale, chard, spinach & mustard)
- 1 Tablespoon sesame seeds
- 2 Tablespoons sunflower seeds
- 2 Tablespoons preserved lemon, diced fine
- 2 Tablespoons tahini
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/2 Tablespoon water
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- pinch of black pepper
Heat the oven to 400º Wash beets well and put in a baking dish with 1/4 cup water, 1 tablespoon olive oil and a pinch of salt & pepper. Cover tightly with foil and roast beets for about an hour, until they are tender. I roast them whole because it retains their flavor better. Let cool then peel off skins. They should slide right off if you rub them with a paper towel. Cut beets in half lengthwise and then slice into 1/4″ pieces.
Rinse quinoa and put into a saucepan with 2 cups of water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil then simmer covered until most of the water has absorbed and the grain appears soft and translucent, about 15 minutes. Drain any excess water and set aside.
Heat a skillet over medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons olive oil and sauté the greens until tender. Season with salt & pepper and set aside. For the dressing, whisk together the tahini, garlic, lemon juice, water, salt & pepper and set aside.
Heat a small skillet and toast the seeds, shaking them gently so they don’t burn, until they are barely golden. To plate, divide quinoa and greens between 4 bowls and top with beets seeds and preserved lemon. Drizzle a few tablespoons of dressing over the top and dig in. *Avocado and/or garbanzo beans would be a great addition to this dish if you feel so inclined.
wild mushrooms with farro, chard and pine nuts
- 1 pound wild mushrooms of your choice
- 4 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- handful of parsley leaves, chopped
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 6 cups chard, cut into large pieces
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1 cup farro
- bouquet garni- 1 celery stalk, bay leaf, garlic clove, a few sprigs of thyme & parsley
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
Clean the mushrooms well and cut into bite size pieces. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat and sauté mushrooms and 1/2 of the minced garlic for a few minutes until they start to brown and release their juices. Add wine and cook a few minutes more. Season with salt & pepper, remove from heat and stir in the parsley.
Heat a dry skillet over medium heat and toast the farro for a few minutes until it starts to smell nutty and turns a shade darker. Put the farro, bouquet garni and a big pinch of salt in a pot and add enough water so it’s covered by a few inches. Bring to a boil and then simmer until al dente, about 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Heat a skillet over medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons olive oil and sauté the remaining garlic and red pepper flakes for about 30 seconds. Add the greens and cook for a minute or so then cover and reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook until tender. You may need to add a little water or chicken stock if it seems to be too dry. You want the greens to be able to steam a little. Season with salt & pepper and set aside.
Heat a small skillet over medium heat and toast the pine nuts, shaking often, for a few minutes until fragrant and golden brown. To serve, divide the farro between 4 bowls and top with greens and mushrooms, making sure to spoon any delicious juice from the mushrooms, then top with a sprinkle of the pine nuts.
dandelion greens with kasha, parmesan, almonds and egg
- 1 cup buckwheat groats
- 2 cups water
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
- 5 eggs
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 6 cups dandelion greens, cut into 2 inches pieces (you could substitute any bitter green here. Rapini would be excellent)
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 medium onion, diced small
- 1 cup parmesan, finely grated
- 1/4 cup marcona almonds chopped
- 1 Tablespoon vinegar (any kind except balsamic)
- black pepper to taste
Combine water, salt, and butter in a small saucepan and bring to a boil then turn off heat and cover. Meanwhile, beat egg in a medium bowl, add kasha and mix together until grains are thoroughly and evenly coated. Transfer to a medium-size, wide, heavy saucepan, place over high heat and stir egg-coated kasha constantly until grains are dry, smell toasty, and no egg is visible, 2 to 3 minutes. Add butter water, turn heat to very low, cover and simmer 30 minutes, or until all of the liquid is absorbed. (If you used cracked buckwheat, it will only take about 10 minutes to cook). Remove from heat and replace lid with a clean dish towel and cover tightly. Let sit for 10 to 15 minutes then fluff with a fork.
In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until soft and golden brown then add greens and sauté until wilted. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender. You may need to add a little water or chicken stock if it seems to be too dry. You want the greens to be able to steam a little. Season with salt & pepper and set aside.
Fill a medium size pot with at least 3-4″ of water and add vinegar. Bring to a gentle boil and gently crack in eggs. Wait a moment to let the egg get itself together then with a slotted spoon gently nudge it so it comes together and doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot. Repeat with remaining eggs and cook, maintaining a gentle boil, for about 4 minutes. Check them at 3 minutes. You are looking for the whites to be set but the yolk 100% runny. When the eggs are done, fish them out with the slotted spoon and let rest on a paper towel. Season them with salt and pepper.
To serve, divide the kasha between 4 bowls, top with greens (and some juice they may have accumulated), a sprinkle of almonds, an egg and then a shower of parmesan.