Quick and Easy

A Grain Salad Cut Out for Weekday Lunch

October 22, 2013

As a defiant response to Sad Desk Lunches, the Food52 team works to keep our midday meals both interesting and pretty. Each week, in partnership with Earthbound Farm, we'll be sharing our happiest desk lunches -- and we want to see yours, too.

Today: Amanda turns a slip-up into a delicious work lunch. 

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I've been trying and failing to bring lunch to work, so, of course, it took a mistake to get me started. Over the weekend, I made a giant batch of grain salad so I'd have my kids' lunches checked off for the week, and then I realized, to my horror, that I'd included not only almonds in the salad, but also hazelnut oil in the dressing. In a nut-free school. Urg!

However, this meant all I had to do for my own lunch was to spoon the salad into a container, wrap up a few cookies (so it wasn't too self-consciously healthy) and put it in my bag. It was almost too easy. 

A note about the grain salad, which began as this recipe and I modified. For the grains, I used pearled barley, freekeh, basmati rice, and toasted quinoa. Instead of raisins and cranberries, I used prunes. I subbed almonds in for the pecans, hazelnut oil for the walnut oil, turnips in place of the radishes, and I 86-ed the herbs because I didn't have any. Otherwise, it's exactly -- sort of -- the same salad.

By the way, the salad lasts for a week, and travels well -- a Not Sad Desk Lunch in its DNA!

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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.