Bowl Filled with Super Good Stuff (Roasted Veggie Salad with Lentils, Quinoa, Lemon Tahini Vinaigrette, This, That, and whatever else)
you can't prepare for everything, but you can prepare for lunch
things you’ll need: butternut or other roastable squash, beets, lentils, quinoa, tahini, lemon, maple syrup/honey, olive oil, a wee bit of toasted sesame oil, shallot/garlic, shaved brussels sprouts or some other representation of leafy greens, salt, pepper, and several storage containers. optional additions: goat cheese, pecans or other crunchy nuts/seeds, something sweet and fruity like dried cranberries or apples, etc.
At The Paisley Pig in Michigan, I had a delicious and devourable version of this bowl. At home, I had leftover shaved brussels sprouts, cranberries, and pecans from last week’s salad, so I combined a few ideas for a make-ahead salad version of this bowl. The original dressing recipe was adapted from this one on Love and Lemons. The Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette from last week would also be delicious.
incidentally gluten-free and vegetarian, easily vegan without cheese or honey.
Eat Well Enough is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Whenever there is a knock on the door, you expect bad news. When you find joy on the other side, it’s hard to know what to do. If you are unfortunately well-practiced at grief and fear, good news can be alarming when you’ve already prepared for the worst. When joy takes the place of apprehension, it’s easy to get lost or confused or simply float away.
More important than the Joy itself is allowing it to overtake you too, even just for a moment. Even if that joy is quiet and tender and small enough to fit in your pocket.
Being prepared is important, even though you know all about best-laid plans and their penchant for imploding, which is why you take time to prep your food as you head into a busy week. With that little joy in your pocket and a meal waiting for you in the refrigerator, you can basically do anything. Which is great, because you find yourself having to do everything most of the time.
Roast some squash. Break down a butternut or slice a delicata. Toss it with salt and pepper, put it in a hot oven (375-425), and cook until it’s done. Do the same thing with a few beets.
Rinse ½ cup of quinoa three times. In a pot, combine quinoa with ½ cup of brown, black, or green lentils and 3 cups of seasoned water/broth. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer until you are happy with the texture (15-25 min). Strain and set aside.
Let all the food cool down while you prepare for one of the other many things you must do. Don’t forget to fondle the tiny joy in your pocket for a little while.
Mix up a vinaigrette using ¼ cup of tahini, the juice from ½ - 1 lemon, a couple of Tablespoons of olive oil, a touch of maple syrup/honey, a dribble of toasted sesame oil, garlic/shallot, and salt to taste. If it’s too thick, add a couple of Tablespoons of water. If it’s not tangy enough, add a little rice wine vinegar or more lemon.
Shave some brussels sprouts or use the leftovers from when you made this, that, or the other salad. If not, then chop some kale or set aside a bag of spinach. Whatever you have is fine. You’re doing just fine.
Now take everything you’ve made and put it away for later. If you know nothing about what to expect tomorrow, at least you know there will be lunch.
When you are ready, mix all the prepped ingredients together. Toss with the vinaigrette and top with pecans (or pepitas or whatever crunch makes you happy), goat cheese, and maybe some dried cranberries or cherries if you have them around. Have an extra apple? Toss it in. Green onions? Why not.
As someone who doesn’t expect things to go well most of the time, you find yourself both dubious and pleased when they turn out better than expected. Were midterms great? No, but they were not the dumpster fire you’d imagined either. Are the Holidays going to go smoothly? No, but there will be too much pie and then it will be over (eventually).
In the meantime, tuck all the joys you find in your pocket and do not skip lunch.
More bowls filled with super good stuff:
Check out Substack Chat (for subscribers only).
Also, there is always the introduction thread where anyone can stop by and say hello!
I’d love to get to know you better.
I keep going because you keep reading. Thank you for your support!
You can also give a gift subscription, hit that “Like” button, share, forward, follow on Instagram (@eatwellenough), or otherwise spread the word about this project.
Leave a comment or drop a line at email@example.com