Today I want to share with you one of my favorite go-to meals for this time of year. It's a versatile dish I affectionately call a warm salad.
I started eating these a couple years ago when I found this recipe for a Cous Cous Salad with Winter Squash and Cranberries at TheKitchn. To be honest, I've never actually made the recipe exactly as written (which is not uncommon for me). But it's endlessly variable when you step back and look at the essential ingredients. What you'll need:
- A whole grain, to form your base. In the original recipe, it's cous cous. I have brown rice a lot, and I've also had this with quinoa (with great success), buckwheat and millet, to name a few. Pick your favorite and go with it.
- A vegetable. Lately I've been using lots of sweet potatoes/yams, but I highly recommend butternut squash and beets, too. I've had it with broccoli, cauliflower, and other squashes, as well.
- Protein, usually in the form of nuts or beans. Again, pick your favorite, or what sounds good that day, and go with it.
- Fruit, whether dried or fresh.
- A little cheese, if you like. Feta is my favorite.
- And dressing. The original recipe has a dressing included, but I most often have this with an Italian vinaigrette.
Whole grain: I like to fix a batch of whole grain and have enough on hand for several meals during the week. Try this super-easy baked brown rice from Alton Brown. It's amazing. You'll need a 1/2 cup or so of cooked grain for one serving.
Finally, add your protein (Whole Foods' wonderful raw cashews pictured here), cheese, if you like, and dressing.
I reach for goat's milk as an alternative. The nutritionist I worked with last year recommended it for me primarily because you'll find lower levels of hormones in goat's milk as compared to traditional cow's milk. I've gotten used to it and really like this feta, which I get at Whole Foods.