During the week, lunch can be a disastrous time. Without a plan, I find myself pushing off eating until my blood sugar is so low, I can barely see straight. Then I down a few spoonfuls of peanut butter and an apple, feeling slightly lightheaded until dinner. Or, worse, I go out and get some kind of over-the-top sandwich that leaves me feeling sluggish all afternoon. I’m sure this sounds familiar.
When I take the time at the beginning of the week to cook a batch of lentils or grains and prep some vegetables to use throughout the week, I eat lunch most days like a superhero.
I recently came across the recipe for chef Cathal Armstrong’s favorite salad in Food & Wine’s March issue and was immediately struck by how perfect it is for work-at-home lunches. It’s full of brain-boosting healthy fats and the main components—the beets and hard-boiled eggs—can be prepped ahead. Instead of the onion and scallions called for in the original, I add Lars’ Own crispy fried onions, which aren’t exactly healthy, but man, are they tasty. I also toss in some sliced radish and fennel for extra crunch.
The original F&W recipe wasn’t photographed, so it might have easily gotten lost. I hope this convinces you that this salad is definitely worth making!
- To prep early in the week:
- 1 pound beets (I prefer golden beets)
- 4 large eggs
- ¼ cup sherry vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- For each salad:
- ½ avocado, chopped
- 2 radishes or 4 slices of watermelon radish, cut into matchsticks
- ¼ bulb of fennel, thinly sliced
- 4 cups mixed greens
- 2 tablespoons toasted hulled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
- 1 to 2 tablespoons fried onions
- Flaky salt and freshly ground pepper
- Cook the beets to your liking: I prefer to steam them in a small amount of liquid until tender, 20 to 40 minutes depending on the size of the beets. You can also wrap them in foil and roast at 450°; this usually takes at least 40 minutes. After the beets cool to warm, slip off the skin and cut the beets into bite-sized pieces. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Boil the eggs: Bring a pot of water to a boil and carefully lower the eggs into the water. Cook for 8 minutes if you like a slightly sticky yolk or 10 minutes for truly hard-boiled. Drain and cover with cold water. When they're cooled, drain again and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Make the dressing: In a bowl, whisk the sherry vinegar with the mustard. Whisking constantly, drizzle in the olive oil until incorporated. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- To assemble the salad:
- In a bowl, toss one-quarter of the beets with the avocado, radishes, fennel, greens, pepitas and one-quarter of the dressing. Season with salt and pepper. Peel and half or quarter one of the eggs and arrange it on top. Sprinkle with the fried onions and enjoy.