I visited The Farmer’s Daughter for brunch this past weekend for the first time and I was not disappointed. It is just my type of food – local, seasonal and flavorful. The menu isn’t very big but I had a hard time deciding what to get. Pancakes? Grits & Greens? Hashbrowns? Everything sounded delicious. Oddly enough (for me), I chose the Power Salad. Maybe it’s the start of spring or the fact that the salad is described as “hearty” on the menu. Either way, I loved it and was determined to make my own version.
Their salad includes quinoa, French lentils, roasted root vegetables, seasonal slaw, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, shaved parmesan, and lemon-miso dressing with a smattering of salad greens tossed in. I started, of course, using what was provided in last weeks CSA share. While I could have used kale as the base of the salad, I thought I would try it with chickweed. Check out this link if you aren’t familiar with chickweed. It’s nutritious, crunchy and it tastes similar to spinach. To this, I added the quinoa and French lentils and kept the pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries. I used goat cheese instead of Parmesan because it was on hand but I think I liked it better with Parmesan. Parmesan provided umami (or savoriness) that the salad was lacking otherwise. I also swapped the roasted root vegetables for shaved carrots (because it was easier) and lemon-miso dressing for lemon-avocado dressing (because it was on hand).
This isn’t so much a recipe as it is a starting point. I think what makes this salad wonderful is the combination lentils and quinoa with lots of other flavors and textures. Below are directions on the lentils, quinoa and dressing but just use what you want and what is on hand. Experiment and enjoy this hearty salad!
Chickweed Power Salad
roughly 4 servings
- French lentils (recipe below)
- Quinoa (recipe below)
- Chickweed or greens of choice (kale, salad greens)
- Shaved carrots or veggie of choice (roasted root vegetables)
- Dried cranberries or dried fruit of choice (raisins)
- Toasted pumpkin seeds or seeds/nuts of choice (sunflower seeds, almonds, walnuts)
- Shaved Parmesan or cheese of choice (goat cheese)
- Lemon-avocado dressing (recipe below) or dressing of choice
Lentils (adapted from Cook’s Illustrated):
- 1 cup French lentils
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 4 cups water
- Optional: a few smashed garlic cloves, 1/2 onion, stalk of chopped celery, sprig of fresh thyme
- Bring all ingredients to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the lentils are tender but still hold their shape, 25 to 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Quinoa (from Cook’s Illustrated):
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and dried on a towel
- 1/4 teaspoon table salt
- 1-1/2 cups water
- Toast the quinoa in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, until the quinoa is lightly toasted and aromatic, about 5 minutes. Stir in the water and 1/4 teaspoon salt and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and continue to simmer until the quinoa has absorbed most of the water and is nearly tender, about 12 minutes. Spread the quinoa out over a rimmed baking sheet and set aside until it is tender and cool, about 20 minutes.
- 1/2 Hass avocado, pitted and removed from skin
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- A few grinds of fresh black pepper
- Place all ingredients in a small food processor or blender and process until fully combined. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.