Confession: I hate salad. Leafy greens depress me. I usually eat all of the “stuff” in a salad, leaving the greens until the end, and then heavily sigh as I try to clean my plate. So when it comes to eating a little healthier for lunch, I struggle. I feel compelled to order a salad but resent having to eat one. Yes, I realize I sound like a toddler turning up their nose to broccoli.
To deal with this dilemma, I put together some of my favorite grain based salads. They’re filling, they’re substantial, they’re make ahead, and they’re thoroughly non depressing. There’s also a recipe for everyone (vegetarian or vegan), so everyone can enjoy these for lunch.
INGREDIENTS (HIJIKI, BORWN RICE, SALMON, NORI, SHREDDED CARROT, GREEN ONION):
1 cup brown rice, cooked and cooled
4 ounces salmon, cooked and flaked
1 carrot, shredded
1 nori sheet, crumbled
3 tablespoons green onion
3 tablespoons hijiki (also spelled hiziki), cooked, strained, and cooled
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Combine all of the ingredients and mix thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper.
INGREDIENTS (QUINOA, BEET, GOAT CHEESE, SPINACH, WALNUTS, LEMON, PARSLEY):
3/4 cup quinoa, cooked and cooled
2 beets, cooked, peeled and cubed
1/4 cup walnuts, lightly toasted
1 cup spinach, packed
1/4 cup parsley, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Combine all of the ingredients, except the goat cheese, and mix thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper. Fold in goat cheese.
INGREDIENTS (BROWN RICE, CILANTRO, PICO DE GALLO, BLACK BEANS, CORN, HOT SAUCE, RED ONION, COTIJA):
3/4 cup brown rice, cooked and cooled
1/2 cup black beans
1 cooked corn cob, kernals removed
1/8 red onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons pico de gallo
up to 1 tablespoon hot sauce
1/4 cup cotija cheese
Combine all of the ingredients, except the cotija, and mix thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper. Fold in cotija.
INGREDIENTS (QUINOA, APPLE, PECAN, CHEDDAR, CARAMELIZED ONION, ARUGULA):
1 cup quinoa, cooked and cooled
1/2 apple, cubed
2 ounces cheddar, cubed
1/4 cup pecans, lightly toasted
1/2 yellow onion, caramelized
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 cup arugula, packed
Combine all of the ingredients, except the arugula, and mix thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper. Fold in arugula.
INGREDIENTS (KALE, PEANUT SAUCE, CHILI OIL, PEANUTS, GREEN ONION, CILANTRO, TOFU):
2 cups kale leaves, ribs removed (recipe below), cut 1/4 inch thin
3 tablespoons peanut sauce
1 tablespoon chili oil
3 tablespoons peanuts
3 tablespoons green onion
1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
1 cup tofu, cubed
To slice the kale, cut out the ribs, then stack the leaves. Roll the leaves up like a cigar and cut across in 1 inch slices. Chop again to get large pieces. Combine kale, peanut sauce, and chili oil in a large bowl and massage the leaves for at least 3 minutes, until wilted and bright green (they should be tender and easily chewed). Add the remaining ingredients, salt and pepper to taste, and mix thoroughly.
INGREDIENTS (PEANUT SAUCE):
2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
2 teaspoons sesame paste
2 tablespoons soy paste
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons of garlic, minced
In a food processor, combine peanut butter, sesame paste, soy paste, water, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, and white vinegar. Process until smooth and fold in minced garlic.