Have I mentioned purple is my favorite color? Like the deep plum color? This farro salad is not only delicious but also like really beautify. The caramelized red onions and bursting roasted grapes are perfectly nestled with creamy goat cheese and whole grains. I love hearty grain salads, especially this time of year. They make a great holiday meal contribution because they serve well at room temperature and can be made in advanced and transported easily.
We hosted Thanksgiving this past week. I LOVE hosting, maybe a little too much. I tend to get carried away, never quite get everything I had planned done, but it somehow always comes together. My parents flew out from California and we had a handful of friends share the Thanksgiving meal with us. It was my 5th vegetarian thanksgiving to date, and my 10th thanksgiving with my husband! Our first thanksgiving, in 2008, was eaten on hot pink microwavable plastic plates in my dorm room. I'm pretty sure all we had was turkey, mashed potatoes, and jello but we felt soooo sophisticated with our red wine we weren't legally able to even drink. We've upgraded out thanksgiving-game significantly since then, and have spent each year following in a different place with different people. We try to make thanksgiving about gratitude and inclusion.
I've started playing Christmas music about 30 seconds after we finished the meal on Thanksgiving day. Every year I think Christmas could not come at a better time. I tend to get the winter blues this time of year and the lights, christmas music, and holiday gift buying always seem to energize me from the inside out.
Serves 4-6, or more as a side
1 cup uncooked farro (I use the Trader Joes brand)
2 cups water (or stock)
1 bay leaf
1 dried chile de arbol (optional)
1 large red onion
a couple sprigs of fresh thyme
1 pound red seedless grapes
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
chile flakes, to taste (I used 1/2 regular flakes, 1/2 urfa chile flakes)
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
4 oz goat cheese
large handful baby kale (or arugula)
salt & pepper, to taste
In a medium saucepan bring the water and farro to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for about 25-30 minutes (though this will depend on the type of farro you use - see package for specific timing) until the water has been absorbed. Remove from heat, season with salt, and let cool.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line a sheet pan with parchment. Slice the red onion in half, then cut the onion in half moon slices about 1/2 inch thick. Scatter the onions on the sheet pan and top with fresh thyme springs then drizzle lightly with grapeseed oil, and a liberal dusting of salt and pepper. Cook for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven, toss, then top with the grapes and another light drizzle of oil. Return to the oven and cook for another 10-15 minutes until the onions are deeply caramelized. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.
Pour the red wine vinegar, olive oil, and chile flakes over the farro and toss. Top with pine nuts, goat cheese, baby kale, and onion and grape mixture. Toss well and enjoy!
I have been super MIA. This time of year I seem to get so sucked into laziness as the days get shorter and the sun and warmth disappear. This makes it particularly hard to snap a photo of dinner when dinner is a bowl of roasted veggies we eat at 9pm.
With my husband and I both in grad school (me full time, him part time) and both working (him full time, me part time) we often find ourselves home late only to look at each other and almost simultaneously say "wanna order sweetgreen". Maybe I am SUPER basic, but I freaking love sweetgreen. Something about being able to order a hardy, filling salad that's comparable to something homemade feels like such an easy satisfying choice.
And being the total creature of habit that I am, despite going to sweetgreen maybe 20 + times I order the same thing literally every time: The Harvest Bowl no chicken. Sometimes I add tofu, sometimes I add falafel, sometimes I add nothing but it's so damn good on it's own.
With thanksgiving coming, I knew I wanted to recreate my beloved salad at home. I spruced it up with pomegranates and used warm roasted butternut instead of the cold sweet potato slices and it is everything. Prepping all of the different elements takes some time - which is part of what makes sweetgreen so damn tempting for folks who are busy, but it is worth the effort if you have some extra time. And because kale is basically the most badass green you can totally eat the leftovers the next day without them getting soggy! This will for sure be on our thanksgiving table this year!
Serves 4 as a large meal, or 8-10 as an appetizer/side
Inspired by: sweetgreen
1 small butternut squash
1-2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1/2 cup wild rice, uncooked
1 1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large pomegranate (or about 3/4 cup arils)
1 large bunch of kale (~10-12 oz), de-ribbed and thinly chopped
1 large honeycrisp apple, cored and diced into large cubes
3 oz goat cheese
1/3 cup raw almonds
1 tablespoon olive oil
For the balsamic vinaigrette:
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
2 teaspoons honey or maple syrup
1/8 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 425 and line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Meanwhile peel the butternut, then slice in half and discard the stringy center and seeds (or toast them with olive oil and salt for a tasty snack). Dice the butternut and then toss the cubes with oil and a liberal amount of salt. Bake the butternut for 35-45 minutes or until lightly browned, tossing halfway through. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly as you assemble the rest of the salad.
Make the rice. Bring water and salt to a boil in a small saucepan, then add the rice, cover, and reduce to a simmer. Cook for about 50 minutes (or per the instructions on your rice container).
Slice open the pomegranate and remove the seeds. I find the easiest way to do this is to quarter the pomegranate then submerge one quarter at a time in a large bowl of water. Underwater carefully tear away the pith, removing the rubies. The rubies will float to the top of the water and the pith will fall to the bottom!
Roast the almonds. Decrease the oven temperature to 350 degrees (alternately you could roast the almonds in a small toaster oven - that's usually what I do). Toss almonds with olive oil and salt and cook for about 5 minutes until almond skins begin to crack and turn a dark brown color (watch carefully so they don't burn). You want to bring them right to the edge of burnt so they are crunchy and extremely fragrant. Roughly chop and set aside.
Make the dressing by combining all the ingredients into a airtight jar (I use a mason) and shake until combined. Pour about half of the dressing over the kale and using your hands, massage the kale and dressing together for a good 3 minutes until the kale becomes limp and the pile decreases in size. Top with the roasted squash, wild rice, pomegranate seeds, almonds, goat cheese, and apple. Drizzle on the remaining dressing, toss and serve!
I survived the hardest semester of my life. Seriously, this time last week I was an angry sad person hating the decision I'd made two years ago to do this whole grad school thing. Things are a bit better now. I found my way back into the kitchen and even made it to yoga tonight. Also, I've become increasingly aware of a feeling of airiness around my shoulders!
It wasn't until around this time last year that I first made a panzanella. I remember thinking whoever thought it was a good idea to take massive amounts of cubed bread, toss it into salad, and call it dinner was freaking genius. This panzanella is filled with spring vegetables and herbs. It's bright and green and somehow both hearty and light. I'm pretty obsessed.
Adapted from: Food52
For the Vegetables:
1 head cauliflower
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 bunch asparagus
juice of half a lemon
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 bunch sugar snap peas, ~ 12oz, trimmed
1/2 cup of peas
2-3 green onions, thinly diced
For the Croutons:
1 multigrain baguette
2 garlic cloves
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
For the Pesto:
1 cup fresh basil
1/2 cup fresh mint
1/2 cup walnuts
2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 medium avocado
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Cut the cauliflower into bite size florets and toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and red pepper flakes (I used 1/2 teaspoon for medium spiciness, but feel free to use less). Lay the cauliflower onto a bake sheet lined with parchment paper.
Meanwhile, trim and discard the tough ends of the asparagus then cut into 1 inch pieces and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and salt + pepper. Place the asparagus on a second sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
Roast the cauliflower for 45-50 minutes until lightly browned on the edges. In the last 15 minutes of cooking, toss the cauliflower, then add the sheet pan of asparagus to the oven. In the last 5 minutes of cooking, toss the snap peas with the asparagus and along with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and pinch of salt.
While the vegetables are cooking, prepare the croutons. First, cut the baguette into one inch cubes. In a large saucepan over medium heat toss the croutons, olive oil, garlic, and a generous sprinkle of salt. Cook until the croutons are lightly browned on the edges, tossing regularly, about 10 minutes.
Lastly, prepare the pesto by combining the basil, mint, walnuts, garlic, lemon juice, avocado and salt into the bowl of a food processor. Puree the mixture until smooth while drizzling in the olive oil. Adjust to taste.
In a very large bowl (seriously, like the largest bowl you have), combine the roasted vegetables, croutons, peas, green onions, and the pesto (I start with about half of the pesto then add more accordingly) and toss. Let sit for 5 minutes or so then serve!
Notes: Refrigerate any leftovers, then an hour or so before eating let it come to room temperature. It will not be good microwaved, but tastes surprisingly great eaten at room temperature on Day 2.