Last week, we were wearing parkas. Today, people are walking their dogs and delivering mail with bared legs so winter-white the sun isn’t the only reason I feel a sudden need to shield my eyes.
Likewise, in the kitchen, the time for soups and stews is slipping away. I, in fact, whipped up the first salad meal of the season in recent days. On a night when we were in such a hurry to get somewhere or the other that I didn’t even have time to cook my own quinoa.
Pre-cooked quinoa, which can now be found in many groceries, pretty much tastes the same as homemade. It’s more expensive, of course, but it sure came through when I wanted to add a punch of protein to a salad and still get out the door in a flash.
Here’s the recipe if you are experiencing a similar convergence of warm weather, crazy schedule and a desire for simple Lenten meals:
Rinse your greens (I used about six cups of red-leaf lettuce and flat-leaf parsley, which serves four to six) and pat them dry with a clean kitchen towel. Tear them into bite-sized pieces (removing tough stems) and place them in a large mixing bowl. Add any other vegetables or fruit that you are using, chopped into bite-sized bits. (I used red peppers.)
Add 2-3 cups prepared quinoa (either pre-cooked or cooked and cooled if you are cooking it yourself).
In a measuring cup or small bowl, combine 4 Tablespoons olive oil, the juice of one lemon, 1 Tablespoon honey (agave nectar for vegans), 1 teaspoon Dijon or stone-ground mustard, 1 teaspoon ground pepper, 1/4 teaspoon salt and one garlic clove (finely minced).
Whisk the dressing with a fork. Immediately pour it into the salad bowl and toss lightly, until all is well coated.
Top each serving with 2 tablespoons chopped nuts of your choice. (I picked unsalted cashews). Add a smoothie (see my recipe archive for the vegan World’s Best Smoothie) and you’re golden — healthy, spring-light and out the door.
A quick reminder: My new book is also in step with the Lenten/Easter season. Making a Grand Exit: Biblical Answers to Our Fear of Dying is available on Amazon.