last week i made two items for my two different roommates. one requested vegetables and grains, the other requested bread pudding. the quinoa salad is something that can be varied endlessly with different vegetables and different dressings and different grains. i like to use quinoa because it is a complete protein and has a pleasant nutty flavor that pairs well with lots of other vegetables and tastes good hot and cold. i used a mix of cooked and raw vegetables for a mix of textures and a lemon and parsley dressing for a bright accent. quinoa also pairs well with a creamy dressing made with tahini or other nut butter or yogurt or buttermilk.
the bread pudding i intentionally made not so sweet. challah bread is my bread of choice for bread pudding because it is already a rich sweet bread. i sliced the loaf the night before and laid it out to dry out overnight so the bread could soak up the custard easily. chocolate was specifically NOT requested so i rounded out the flavors with raisins, pecans, and walnuts and a generous sprinkle of cinnamon and a splash of vanilla. i based the ratio off of this recipe, but adjusted due to the huge loaf of challah and did not have brandy to soak the raisins. the result was a very tender, not too sweet bread pudding with a crust that you wanted to keep picking off every time you walked past the kitchen.
this is barely a recipe and can be adapted for any grain and whatever vegetable you have on hand. toss the following together:
1 cup grain of your choice, cooked
1 can of chickpeas, kidney beans, etc (i think black lentils would would very nicely)
assortment of vegetables, diced, cooked or raw (i used kale (cooked), carrots (raw), teardrop tomatoes (halved and raw), and zucchini (diced and sauteed with garlic)
dressing of your choice (i made a simple lemon, sherry vinegar and mustard vinaigrette)
chopped herbs (i used parsley and basil)
seasonings to taste