Cooked Grains Salad with Tomato Vinaigrette

Hey, look! Another grain and vegetable summertime salad! Well, when summer produce is abundant and delicious, far be it from me to refrain from eating it whenever possible.

This recipe is borrowed with gratitude from the New York Times' Recipes for Health series. I love their fresh, light, seasonal recipes -- they always seem to know exactly what I would like. This one's simple yet really, really great. The tomato vinaigrette in particular is outrageously good. I could have just eaten that with a spoon. Of course, the quality of the vinaigrette will depend in large part on the quality of your tomatoes, so choose wisely.

If I were to change anything the next time around, I'd probably add a few more veggies. I think lightly steamed summer squash or chopped-up green beans would be really nice in this.

Cooked Grains Salad with Tomato Vinaigrette
  • Half-a-pound ripe farmer's market tomatoes (I used a yellow heirloom variety)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced finely
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (or sherry vinegar if you have it)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups cooked grains (I used pearl barley and brown rice; you could also use farro, quinoa, or bulgur)
  • Kernels from one ear of corn, steamed (you can steam the whole cob before slicing it up, or zap the kernels in the microwave for about 30 seconds)
  • 1 medium cucumber, diced
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh herbs (I used dill, but tarragon or parsley would have been great too)
Cut the tomatoes in half across the equator and grate on the large holes of a box grater into a wide bowl. Stir in the garlic, salt and pepper, vinegar, and oil. Add the remaining ingredients, toss together, and serve.

Mac & Cheese & Greens

Last night's dinner felt pretty blog-worthy. Tonight's, not so much. But I'll share it anyway in the interest of keeping the momentum going.

I cobbled this recipe together out of several different ones I've seen around the webs lately. It's a simple premise: mac and cheese that's actually kind of healthy. Less cheese; more veggies (greens and butternut squash); whole wheat pasta. You can throw the whole thing together in the time it takes to boil the pasta water and cook the macaroni, which is great on a weeknight.

This is a good way to put to use any leafy greens you've got in the fridge that look a little past their prime. Even if they're all wilted, it doesn't matter, because you're just going to saute them up and make a sauce out of them anyway. The only important thing is to wash them really well -- and not just under running water, I'm talking about swirling them around in a big bowl of cold water for at least 2-3 minutes. You'll notice a ton of dirt left in the bowl when you take the greens out.

If you want, you can puree the sauce in a blender or food processor before stirring the pasta in, but I left mine as-is because let's face it, I'm kind of lazy.

Mac & Cheese & Greens
  • 2 cups dry whole-wheat macaroni elbows
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 pound greens, cleaned and chopped (such as spinach, kale, collards, turnip greens, or my personal preference, chard)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt, pepper, red pepper flakes
  • About 1 cup of pureed butternut squash (about 2/3 of a can)
  • Nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth or water
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese (I used low-fat cheddar)
Prepare the pasta according to package directions. In the meantime, heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the greens, garlic, and salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste. Saute for about 4-5 minutes, or until greens are tender. Add squash, broth or water, and nutmeg to taste; heat through. Stir in cheese. At this point your pasta should be done, so add it to the pan and mix well. Add more broth or water if sauce is too thick. Serves 3-4.

Curried Quinoa Salad with Cucumber-Mint Raita

First recipe on the new blog! Woo! Good times. I figured tonight's dinner was as worthy of a blog post as any, so why not start off with it? This is a great and very different recipe from the most recent issue of Cooking Light, a magazine that often frustrates me (some months it contains very few vegetarian recipes). But this one was kind of fun.

It's the kind of grain/vegetable salad, served at room temperature, that I'm so drawn to during hot summer weather. It has a nice savory-sweet balance: the curried quinoa is salty and spicy, mango and currants add sweetness, and celery provides just the right amount of crunch. A minty raita ties it all together.

This is a great vegetarian meal because quinoa has lots of protein. In fact, it's a "complete" protein, meaning that it has pretty much all the amino acids that people need. If you haven't tried it, you should -- it's a delightfully chewy little grain.

Curried Quinoa Salad with Cucumber-Mint Raita
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed or minced
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 diced peeled mango
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons dried currants (*note: you can find these near the raisins in the grocery store)
  • 1/4 cup finely diced peeled cucumber
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh mint
  • 1 six-ounce carton plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1 five-ounce package fresh baby spinach
Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add curry powder and garlic to pan; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add quinoa and 2 cups water; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10-15 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat; stir in salt. Cool completely.

Add mango, diced celery, scallions, chopped cilantro, and currants to cooled quinoa; toss gently.

Combine cucumber, mint, and yogurt in a small bowl, and stir well. Divide spinach evenly among 4 plates, and top each serving with about 1 and 1/4 cup quinoa mixture and about 2-3 tablespoons raita.


Hi there. If you're reading this, it's likely you're one of two or three people. I guess I don't food-blog for the general public so much as for my friends. As they (you) know, I'm a lawyer -- hence the title of the blog (get it?). I used to have another blog, but I can't log into it for reasons too complicated to explain here. If you want to go back and revisit some of my old recipes, here it is. Should I point out some of my old favorites? Perhaps I shall:
Anyway, on this new blog, don't expect to see meat recipes anymore because I'm vegetarian now. Other than that, my focus on eating well (meaning both healthily and deliciously) hasn't changed.

Looking forward to sharing great recipes with you!