As a defiant response to sad desk lunches, the Food52 team works to keep our midday meals both interesting and pretty. Each week, we'll be sharing our happiest desk lunches—and we want to see yours, too.

Today: A salad too big (and too delicious) to fail. 

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Sometimes—when I'm feeling adventurous and there is going to be pasta on the side—I like a risky salad, the kind I never thought would work. Other times, when I'm hungry and I need a salad I can rely on, I prefer to use ingredients that just can't taste bad together. The salad you see above is a shoo-in—a low-risk meal. It was born from the editors' various leftovers, but, serendipitously, none of the ingredients had to be strangled or smushed or massaged or made-over in order to fit with the others. They all made sense together. No upsets or underdogs here.

Here's what we had to work with:

  • Wild rice
  • Carrots
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Kale
  • Arugula
  • Goat cheese
  • Avocado
  • Sourdough "bread"
  • Pickled raisins leftover from this chicken salad

We started by cooking the wild rice with peppercorns and a bay leaf. We didn't have any vegetable broth lying around, so we just used water.

While the rice was cooking, we roasted the sliced carrots and halved brussels sprouts (the last remnants of the colder months). We cubed a loaf of failed sourdough that came out more like a giant hockey puck than a lofty loaf, coated the pieces with olive oil, and made croutons. For the dressing, we sautéed anchovies with garlic and olive oil, then mixed in balsamic for an easy, salty vinaigrette. 

We tore the kale into a really large salad bowl and added the arugula. Then, we dumped in the cooked rice, roasted vegetables, and the crispy croutons, and topped the whole thing with crumbled goat cheese, cubed avocado, some random pickled raisins we found in the fridge, and the garlic-anchovy dressing.

The salad was big, it was just as good as we thought it would be, and we had leftovers for the next day. 

What would you make with those ingredients? Tell us your ideas in the comments below! 

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I used to work at Food52. I'm probably the person who picked all of the cookie dough out of the cookie dough ice cream.

1 Comment

judy S. May 26, 2015
this sounds fabulous - goes along with one of my favorite fast twists - take your leftover leafy green salad, with tomatoes, carrots, etc. - whatever you usually have, dump it, dressing and all, into a blender, add some V-8 juice or tomato juice, and blend until smooth or keep it a bit chunky -voila! gazpacho! Taste and adjust seasonings - drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil, and crusty, garlicky crotons - enjoy!