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Start the New Year Light and Bright

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By Jane Morgan

 

Happy new year! I hope you had a wonderful holiday full of quality time with people you love and delicious, comforting food. This month, I’m cooking things that are light and bright, and maybe you find yourself craving those flavors this time of year, too.

 

These two recipes are here to help you kickstart a new year of cooking simple, nourishing meals for yourself. They’re easy to adapt to your preferences, and make for excellent meal prep options if bringing your lunch or cooking more at home is on your list of resolutions. I hope you enjoy them!

HERBY GRAIN SALAD WITH A HONEY LEMON APPLE CIDER VINEGAR DRESSING

This is my favorite salad. It’s light and fresh, packed with veggies, really easy to adapt with any ingredients you love or have on hand, and never leaves me feeling hungry. It’s also a great meal prep option if you’re looking for a healthy lunch that will last through the week. If you want to make it with a little more protein, some lemony grilled chicken or a soft boiled egg would be perfect.

 

Ingredients for the salad:

  • 1 cup dried pearled farro (quinoa, wheatberries, couscous, wild rice, etc. also work here)
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped herbs (my favorite mix is dill, mint and parsley)
  • 2 cups mixed greens and vegetables, such as arugula, shredded carrots, sliced Persian cucumbers, and halved cherry tomatoes (other fun additions are carrot tops, roasted squash, apples, sautéed kale, and thinly sliced fennel)
  • 1/4 of a red onion, thinly sliced
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

 

Ingredients for the dressing:

    • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon honey
    • Juice of the zested lemon
    • Cracked black pepper to taste

Preparation:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Rinse your farro through a sieve, then add it to the boiling water, and cook to your preferred texture. This usually takes around 20-25 minutes for me, but taste it as you go! When your farro is done, drain it and add it to a large mixing bowl.
  2. While your farro is cooking, do all your prep work. Toss your thinly sliced red onion with the vinegar of your choice in a small bowl and let sit until you’re finished with the rest of your prep. Thinly slice the rest of your veggies, peel your carrots with a Y peeler into beautiful ribbons, cut off the carrot tops and wash them well and add them right in with everything else, halve your cherry or sungold tomatoes, wash your greens, rinse and chop your herbs, slice your cucumbers, clean out your fridge and add anything else that sounds good. If you want a protein, chicken would be great here, or you could add a good cheese like feta, grilled halloumi, or shaved parm.
  3. Whisk the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon, and honey together until it emulsifies, then add cracked black pepper and adjust to taste. Set aside.
  4. When your farro is done cooking, toss it in a big bowl with your vegetables and herbs, add your lemon zest and pickled red onion, season with salt and pepper, then add your dressing if you’re serving immediately or keep it on the side if you’re making lunches for the week and add it as you go along. Enjoy!

 

TURMERIC ROASTED VEGETABLES

My favorite way to use up vegetables and turn them into something I actually know I’ll eat before they wither away in the back of the fridge is by roasting a big batch at the beginning of the week. Roasted veggies hold up very well and are great to have on hand because you can add them to just about anything. I love using them to add some density to a salad, serve alongside crispy chicken thighs, or liven up a simple quinoa bowl. I like using turmeric because it has the perfect amount of bite and kick to cut through the veggies, it’s a great anti-inflammatory, and it’s the easiest way to add a different flavor profile to your meal.

 

Ingredients:

  • 5-6 cups chopped veggies, such as broccoli and cauliflower florets, baby potatoes, carrots, halved Brussels sprouts, shallots, or anything else you like
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Lime (optional)

 

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Prep your veggies! Cut cauliflower and broccoli into florets, halve baby potatoes and Brussels sprouts, cut carrots into 1/2 inch coins, slice the shallot into 1/2 inch rings, and chop the garlic.
  3. In a large bowl, toss the veggies, garlic, turmeric, and olive oil together. I recommend using a spatula or wooden spoon because turmeric will stain your hands! Spread out the veggies in a single layer on a baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper to taste and top with red pepper flakes, if using.
  4. Roast your veggies, stirring halfway through, until tender, about 20 minutes.
  5. Check and adjust seasoning. Top with a squeeze of lime juice, and enjoy!

 

Jane Morgan is a personal chef, caterer, recipe developer and writer from Destin currently living in Brooklyn. You can see more of her recipes on Instagram  @janecooksforyou. And sign up for her newsletter at janedeanmorgan.com/newsletter.

 

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