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How to Craft the Perfect "Warm Salad"

How to Craft the Perfect "Warm Salad"

When it's cold, dirty and slush-filled outside, a nice warm meal to end the day becomes an absolute necessity. Salads are great, but something cold and crunchy is less appealing on cooler days. So why not try what I call a "warm salad?" Roasting vegetables turns cold and crunchy to warm and smooth and can be combined with quinoa or other grains to make a wholesome warm winter meal. Here is my go-to roasted vegetable warm salad recipe.

Ingredients

3 medium beets

2 bell peppers 

1 1lb. brussel sprouts

1 head of broccoli

1 sweet potato

1 cup quinoa

2 cups water

2 eggs

olive oil (to liking, minimum 5 tbs. total)

salt

hummus (optional)

lemon pepper (optional)

lemon juice (optional)

Start by preheating the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Prepare the quinoa either in a rice cooker or by bringing water to a boil. Follow the instructions of your specific rice cooker to use the proper settings. If preparing for stovetop, combine quinoa with boiling water. Reduce the heat and cover until the water has been fully absorbed by the quinoa. 

While the oven is heating and the quinoa cooking, begin preparing vegetables. Peel and cube the beets, slice the brussel sprouts in half, cut the stem off of the head of broccoli, and separate the broccoli into florets, and cut the bell peppers into slices. 

VETEGABLE PREP TIPS:

Bell Peppers - Using a knife cut around the stem at the to of the pepper. Gently twist and pull the stem to remove the pepper's seeds. Cut the pepper in half and slice away any remaining parts of the center. 

Broccoli - Cut the stem at the convergence point between the stem and florets. Use your hands to pull away the florets. Once the outer florets are gone, you may want to trim the stem again and separate the remaining florets. 

Seasoning may vary to your preference, but here is what I suggest: 

Place each prepared vegetable into a separate bowl. Add enough olive oil to lightly cover each vegetable. Broccoli will require the most olive oil to fully cover. Add lemon juice and salt to beets. Add lemon pepper and salt to broccoli. Add lemon pepper and salt to bell peppers. Add salt to brussel sprouts. 

Roast vegetables for 15-20 minutes.

The sweet potato may be cubed and roasted, however, for quick preparation use a microwave to steam the potato. Puncture the skin with a fork or knife several times before placing in the microwave. Depending on your microwave, use the default potato setting or start with 5:00 minutes. When done, wrap the potato in aluminum foil and set aside. 

To poach the eggs, bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Stir the water to create a whirlpool effect, then while the water is still spinning crack the eggs into the water. Turn the temperature down to medium and do not let the water intensely boil while the eggs are cooking. Leave eggs in water for 2-3 minutes before removing them. 

Once all the vegetables are done roasting and quinoa has finished cooking, uncover the potato and cut it into mid-sized slices.

Assemble the bowl with quinoa on the bottom, brussel sprouts, beets, broccoli, and peppers in the middle layer, and eggs on top. You may also garnish with hummus or other toppings to your liking. 

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