Did I mention that I have a new roommate? Indeed, Percy and I welcomed a new addition to our humble abode this past weekend – this guy. I’m super happy and excited about this change, even amidst all of the passive aggressive comments i.e. “oh, you’re playing house!” or, “you’re finally shackin’ up!” You take the good with the bad, I suppose. In this case, the good far outweighs the bad, in my opinion.
One thing this move has taught me was that I need to work on my organizational skills. In the ten months I have lived in my house, I have managed to fill all the closets/corners/nooks/crannies with who knows what. Inviting another person (and all of their belongings) into your home makes you reconsider what’s worth keeping. One area that needed my attention was the kitchen. Have I told you that I don’t have a pantry? It’s not a deal-breaker for me, I just dedicated a set of cabinets to act like a pantry, as most of the food I buy falls in the produce/refrigerated category. But the random bulk bags/Trader Joe’s bags of grains, nuts, etc. were starting to get out of hand. Luckily, I found this post from Naturally Ella, which gave me the inspiration I needed to get organized.
I ordered these and these from Amazon, gave them all a good wash, and then got to work sorting through my mess of a “pantry”. What did I find? Three different types of quinoa, two partially-used bags of hazelnuts, lots of miscellaneous bulk bags, etc. etc. In short, a ton of food that likely would have gone bad before I had the chance to use it, as I barely knew it existed in there. This simple task made me feel so much better, and was just the inspiration I needed for a few new recipes.
This first one is a simple, use-what-you-have-on-hand grain salad. I used quinoa as the base, added some roasted beets (my new roommate is obsessed with beets… I think I picked a winner) which gave the whole dish a vibrant pink color, a simple dressing, cheese, fresh herbs – and you have a delicious, fresh side dish or lunch. Feel free to use this recipe as a guide to make your own cleaning-out-the-pantry creation. I promise it will make you feel good!
Quinoa-Roasted Beet Salad
1 cup quinoa, prepared according to package directions
1-2 large roasted beets, peeled and roughly chopped
1 15-ounce can chick peas, drained
5 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
1 handful fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons mustard
¼ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
Combine quinoa, beets, chick peas, feta cheese, pine nuts, and cilantro in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the mustard, vinegar, oil, a dash of sea salt and a couple turns of a black pepper grinder. Pour over the quinoa mixture and toss to coat. Taste, adjust salt and pepper, as needed, and serve immediately or keep covered in the fridge until needed.