Weeknight Cooking

A Grain Salad, on the Fly

April 25, 2013

Every week we take a peek inside the lunches of the luckiest kids in Brooklyn. Read on, suppress your jealousy, and get a little brown bag inspiration. 

In an effort to break out of sandwich jail and to introduce our kids to more grains, I'm starting to cook up a bunch of barley, rice, and/or farro to keep in the fridge for salads. I'd like to tell you that I carefully plot out these salads, but I would be lying.

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Today, for instance, I noticed that we had some roasted cauliflower (made by my husband) in the fridge, and this seemed like a smart companion for cooked barley. I spotted some thyme. In! Then a nice leafy cress, that must have been leftover from this week's photo shoot. All the salad needed was some protein. Some smoked ham made the cut. I mixed it all up with some olive oil and lemon juice, and a barley salad was born. With a slice of rye and a macaroon alongside, we were in business.

What's in your lunch today?

Read More:
Springy salads that won't wilt on your way into work.
Our favorite lunchtime grain salad.
See even more of Amanda's kids' lunches! 


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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Aliea Bennett
    Aliea Bennett
  • DeesJournal
  • Amanda Hesser
    Amanda Hesser
Amanda Hesser

Written by: Amanda Hesser

Before starting Food52 with Merrill, I was a food writer and editor at the New York Times. I've written several books, including "Cooking for Mr. Latte" and "The Essential New York Times Cookbook." I played myself in "Julie & Julia" -- hope you didn't blink, or you may have missed the scene! I live in Brooklyn with my husband, Tad, and twins, Walker and Addison.


Aliea B. February 25, 2014
I have a 3 year old grandson who is a texture eater he only like thing that are soft and moist so it very hard to feed him he is very picky he even refuse to eat some days any adive on so foods or recipe that he might like that would keep his weight up and that he might eat would be greatly appreacted
Amanda H. March 1, 2014
Aliea, can you give us some sense of what he will eat -- pasta? cheese? sandwich bread? soups? -- let us know and I'll try to come up with some ideas.
Aliea B. March 2, 2014
He like pasta but no tomato sauce on it just butter real butter and he like to eat cottage chesse but that it for chesse French fries,and chicken but only if been cooked in the rotisserie and it not dry it has to be moist not beef at all not even hamburgers once in a while you an get him to eat hot dogs hasbrown cooked in butter and fruit cup he love fruit so he eat a lot of fruit he also get 2 bottle of pedi sure a day and we put carnation breakfast poweder mix in his milk every day to keep his weigh up he 3 and just hit the 30 lb last month
Amanda H. March 2, 2014
How about trying things like guacamole (made at home and only lightly seasoned) and hummus, since they're both soft yet also filled with nutrients and protein? Also have you tried mashed potatoes (add extra milk and butter to keep it loose and moist)? You could also experiment with other vegetable mashes, like carrot and potatoes, or butternut squash. If you use enough cooking liquid, they'll stay nice and moist. I hope this is helpful -- good luck!
DeesJournal May 2, 2013
for kiddo today, I stir fried some vegetables that I sliced last night(mushrooms, shredded carrots, diced onion, garlic, sweet peas and peeled and thinly sliced broccoli stems, ginger) with leftover basmati rice with a splash of tamari and sesame oil. I roasted for 6 min some shrimp that sat in olive oil, lime zest for 10 minutes and added to the stir fry. I sprinkled some black sesame seeds because kiddo asked for the black crunchy things :) The who affair from start to finish took less than 10 minutes