So my current job has me working with kids. All day every day. So I need yummy, nutritious and filling food to feed me. But, I work for a non-profit which hosts school groups at our private facility and field station and technically the school is required to provide the teaching staff’s food. Kind of a weird set-up, I know. But whatever. Unfortunately, the food the school groups normally provide is pretty much in the “hot dogs, chips and lunch meat sandwiches” category (except s/o to the waldorf school which brought homemade curry and rice and beans – keep being weird and awesome you guys). The lack of nutritious and delicious provided food situation brings up a whole slew of questions and interesting things regarding public funding for nutrition and food education in schools and what it means to be able to spend money on good food, but I’ll save that rant/topic for another time. So, instead of opting for a cold turkey with mayo, I end up bringing my own food. This is been a challenge when the school groups stay at our facility for 3+ days of programming and I have to make all my food ahead of time. But I’ve made it work. Mostly because I’ve discovered the power of the “all you need” salad. Don’t worry it’s not really a salad. It’s more of a pile of awesomeness. (If I’m being honest, I don’t really like normal salads. That is, salads mostly made up of tasteless lettuce with a few chopped tomatoes, grated carrots and a light vinaigrette on it. blah. My high school’s boyfriend’s mom used to serve one with dinner every night and I never really got the point. Butttttt this salad, this salad is awesome. It’s loaded with hearty vegetables, leafy greens, plant protein, whole grains, and tons of flavor and creaminess (that word sounds weird in the context of a salad, but it will make sense once you try it). There are lots of similar style recipes out there to it and for a good reason. I pretty much bring a batch version of this type of salad on every school program I do because it makes me happy and full and has all the nutrients/food groups I want/need for a good meal. yay!
also! this uses black eyed peas which I never really used or eaten in the past , but I decided to start because they make me feel really cool for some reason. idk why they just do.
Argula, cumin, black-eyed pea and roasted veggie salad
~5 cups mixed greens (I like spicy ones like arugula, mizuna, mustard greens, baby spinach etc)
1/2 large sweet potato (about 1 1/2 cups chopped)
1 large parsnip (cause parsnips are so hot right now)
1/2 cup dry quinoa (I like the red kind but its also more expensive…)
1/2 can black eyed peas (or just use the whole can if you think you might not use the 2nd half any time soon)
1 Tbsp cumin
buckwheat groats for topping (not necessary at all but if you happen to have them in your pantry like I did (they were cheap and I wanted to try them) they will make your salad feel really official)
1 small shallot minced
2 Tbsp maple syrup (or honey, agave nectar)
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (one of the cases where fresh juice makes a difference)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin (or more to taste)
salt + lots of pepper
Chop and veggies and coat in olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast at 425 degrees till soft (about 30 min). Rinse and drain black eyed peas. Drizzle with olive oil and coat with cumin. Roast at 425 for about 25 min or till they reach desired crunchy level.
While that stuff is roasting, cook quinoa (its 1:2 grain to water ratio just in case you don’t have google) and make the dressing. To make the dressing pour everything into a blender and blend till smooth. If you don’t have a blender just whisk everything up with a fork in a bowl.
Once veggies and quinoa are done, add them to a mid-sized bowl with the mixed greens. Mix together until the greens get a little wilty from the warm food. The mix in the dressing and add the toasted black eyed peas. Sprinkle with buckwheat groats, sunflower seeds or sprouts.
Serves 1 large or 2 small.