Let me apologize to my followers who I hope are fond of my “real” approach to food. As anybody who reads this column regularly knows, I am fond of cheese, pasta and not afraid of the occasional slab of butter.
But as much as I hate to say this, I have been on a healthier kick lately. I am not sure if it is the heat, the need to be in shorts and bathing suits or simply that when fresh greens are abundant, I like to use them. Whatever the reason, I have been on a grain and green salads kick.
This started as a simple solution to having pre-made lunch in the house when I get busy. When my life gets hectic, I have less time to cook, and I really don’t have time to eat a leisurely lunch out. So, often, if I don’t have something in the house pre-made, that means grabbing a sandwich on the go. That can get fattening and expensive quickly if you eat out every day.
This winter I had a friend come visit and she brought me a recipe for a grain and lentil salad. It had kale, red peppers and a Green Goddess dressing. We doubled the recipe so it made a big batch. It was delicious, and I have made it several times since. I love to have a batch of it sitting around so I know that I have a quick, healthy meal in the fridge.
I have a friend living with us for the summer, and the week she got here I had made a farro salad with fresh corn, asparagus and feta. I shared some with her, and we decided it would be a good thing if we traded off and make big veggie and grain salads to have around the house.
Last week she made a recipe she had made before. She graciously adjusted it for me as I don’t like olives or uncooked tomatoes. So this version had quinoa, kale, cucumber, red peppers and carrots. We ate it with arugula and a feta salad dressing. It was amazing. Fresh tasting and healthy but still delicious.
This week I am going to try a brown rice salad with apples, celery and cheddar cheese with a cider vinaigrette. Stay tuned to see if I liked it as if so, it may appear in a future column.
I found the recipe online (at www.food52.com) as I loved the kale and quinoa so much that I wanted a new variation to rotate into our summer schedule. I think this one sounds amazing, and the addition of pine nuts and goat cheese should make it filling enough to sustain someone all afternoon.
* Special Note: I made this recipe on Sunday and added freshly shelled peas and purple basil. Delicious!