Last week, I took my sister to Le Pain Quotidien on West 40th Street for a quick birthday lunch, where I ordered the Grain Bowl above. It was so satisfyingly delicious, I decided to make it for Nyack High School's Teacher-Appreciation brunch the next day. But since I had little time to shop, I tweaked it slightly substituting ingredients I had in the house. I didn't have goat cheese, so I used feta, nor did I have squash, so I used sweet potatoes, and I was out of farro, so I skipped it. (Next time, I'll definitely try half farro/half quinoa.) I'm not suggesting that this is LPQ's recipe; it's just my interpretation of their tasty bowl. It was apparently a big hit among the teachers, so I promised I would post my recipe in time for Thanksgiving. I made a pretty gigantic bowl, so the recipe below is double what I'd make for my family of six. And I'll warn you, between sautéeing and roasting the vegetables and caramelizing the nuts, it's time consuming. You'll find the recipe for the sweet potatoes here and the carmelized pecans here. I'd suggest making the nuts in advance, as they'll stay fresh for 1 week. Of course, you could just use plain pecans if you're short on time, but they won't impart the same deliciousness to the dish.
Serves about 12
- 9 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
Sautéed Brussels Sprouts
- 1 1/2 pounds (app. 30) small brussels sprouts, thoroughly washed, trimmed and cut in half (from top to bottom)
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Fine-grain sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Roasted Sweet Potatoes
- 2 extra-large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Fine-grain sea salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1/2 tablespoon table salt
- 1 1/8 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 cups pecan halves
- 1/2 tablespoon grapeseed oil, plus more for greasing
- 1 oz. simple syrup
- 3/4 teaspoon light corn syrup
Additional Bowl Ingredients
- 2 cups quinoa, cooked
- 2 shallots, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup chopped kale
- 1 cup chopped arugula
- 1/2 pound Greek or Bulgarian feta cheese, crumbled
- 4-5 scallions, thinly sliced
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Whisk together vinaigrette ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
- Roast sweet potatoes as outlined here (skipping the fresh rosemary).
- Prepare pecans following instructions here (using only half the measurements as outlined above and just the 2 cups of pecans). Coarsely chop nuts once they cool.
- Prepare brussels sprouts by mixing them in large bowl with 1 tbsp. of the olive oil. Heat remaining olive oil in large pan over medium heat. Place brussels sprouts in pan (flat side down in a single layer--you might need to do in batches), sprinkle with some salt, cover and cook for approximately 5 minutes. The sprouts should be lightly browned and tender. Cut into sprouts to make sure tender throughout. If not, cover and cook for a few minutes longer. Once tender, uncover and turn up the heat and cook until the flat sides are deep brown and caramelized. Toss them once or twice to brown on both sides. Season with more salt and some pepper.
- Add cooked quinoa to extra-large mixing bowl.
- Heat 2 tbsps. olive oil in a pan. Add sliced shallots and sauté until lightly browned. Remove from heat. Once cool, chop and add to the quinoa and mix thoroughly.
- Add kale and arugula to quinoa mixture and mix well.
- Add 3/4 of the vinaigrette to the quinoa mixture and stir well. Continue to add more as needed, making sure it doesn't get soggy.
- Add brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes and nuts to the quinoa and mix gently and thoroughly.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Transfer quinoa mixture to a wide, flat bowl if you have one and scatter feta cheese and scallions on top.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.