I’m sure you know the feeling.
It’s halfway through the afternoon. You’ve been out and about all morning, running errands. You get home and you realize you’re beyond famished. You’re on the verge of completely losing your mind to hunger. You open the refrigerator door and slap your forehead.
D’oh! Grocery shopping probably should have been on the morning to-do list. There’s nothing here. Nothing, nothing, nothing. No bread, nothing green. Not even eggs or milk. Oh, crud.
So what do you eat when there’s nothing to eat? Don’t say the box of chocolates you have stashed away. You don’t want this day to end in self-regret or a massive belly ache. We’ve got to do better than that.
Okay, let’s make something out of nothing.
Even when I think there’s nothing in the veggie drawer, I have carrots. No, not the cute small ones with perky green tops still attached; I’m talking the big-uglies, pulled from the 5 lb. bag that has probably been sitting there for half of the winter, the kind of carrots that are over-looked, but if you scrub ’em up, peel and roast them, will surprise you with their sweet, earthy flavor.
What else can I find? Half of a red onion, part of a lemon, a few sprigs or rosemary, a small bunch of parsley that I should put to use before it’s too late, and a stubby piece of Parmesan.
Okay, to the cupboard. A can of cannellini beans and a bag of quinoa. We can work with this.
Turn the oven on and get some water boiling for the quinoa. We’re going to roast the carrots and onion and toss them with the quinoa. Hmm, what about the beans? Let’s roast those, too, and see if we can use them as our crunch element.
Excellent! The beans got super crisp and our carrots went from sad to vibrant. The onions are charred here and there, just the way we like.
Toss the resuscitated carrots and the roasted onion with the cooked quinoa. Add the beans, parsley leaves, and curls of Parmesan. Drizzle with olive oil, season, and squeeze a wedge of lemon over the top.
Done! Lunch is served, I’m out of my hunger-stupor, and I’ve got another go-to healthy, colorful salad in my gotta-make-something-outta-nothing repertoire. Crisis averted.
- 8 medium Carrots, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks
- ½ large Red Onion, cut in ¼ in. slices
- 1 sprig Rosemary (or any other herb that might be lurking around your veggie drawer)
- 1 14 oz. can Cannellini Beans, rinsed and well-drained
- ½ tsp. Smoked Paprika
- 1 c. Quinoa, rinsed
- handful of Italian Parsley Leaves
- Fresh Lemon Juice
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Preheat the oven to 400°.
- On a baking sheet, toss carrot sticks and onion slices with olive oil, salt, pepper, and rosemary. Roast until the vegetables are tender and lightly browned in spots, 25-30 minutes.
- On a separate baking sheet, toss the cannellini beans with olive oil, smoked paprika, and salt. Roast until the skins split and the beans are golden and crisp, about 20 minutes. Stir once or twice while they are roasting to prevent any sticking.
- Meanwhile, bring 2 c. water to a boil. Salt and add the quinoa. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until tender, 10-12 minutes. If any liquid remains, drain it off.
- Combine cooked quinoa, roasted carrots and onions, cannellini beans, and parsley leaves in a large salad bowl. Dress lightly with extra virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice, and freshly ground black pepper. Toss gently. Using a vegetable peeler, make curls of Parmesan to garnish the salad. The salad can be served still warm or at room temperature.