01/18/18 — Heydon Hatcher

Recipe and Photo by Mackenzie Smith

Megan Winfrey said something about culinary genius when I shared a picture of this salad thing on Instagram yesterday afternoon. Blushing (and swooning; Megan is so cool), I quickly assured her this meal had less to do with genius and more to do with Sunday prep.

I keep a few ingredients available for meals that come together very quickly. As I typed my response, I realized my take-10-minutes-and-compose-a-pretty-salad thing is more formulaic than anything.

Full-fat Greek yogurt + grain + green + roasted veg + avocado + citrus + egg + something crunchy + flaky sea salt + one more color = a pretty salad thing.

When I am doing life the way I should, I roast a big batch of veggies on Sunday afternoon. As they sizzle in the oven, a few cups of quinoa, farro or brown rice simmer on the stove while a dozen eggs boil for 6.5-7 minutes, all to to stow away for the week ahead.

A quick swoop of a heaping tablespoonful of yogurt onto the plate before loading it with veggies is a creamy punch of tang to everything I pile on top. Yesterday’s lunch had it all, but there is always room to riff:

Shaving one or two rainbow carrots into a quick salad is fun for another burst of color -- these were marinated in meyer lemon, maple syrup, olive oil and salt. Grapefruit is such a treat this time of year, so I try to make sure a few slices or supremes land in a meal a day at the peak of their season.

Right now I have pecans, pepitas, sesame and walnuts in glass jars out in my kitchen to sprinkle on everything for crunch and protein. This dish needed more green, so raw pepitas were sprinkled on top. Sometimes the only crunch around is the last of a bag of tortilla chips (dare I say, hot cheetos!) and those will be sprinkled on top just as delicately as the nuts and seeds. I keep a jar of dried cornflowers out to sprinkle on everything. I’ve heard they are good for eye health, but I use them because I am delighted by their periwinkle hue.

When I have an abundance of herbs, and those will go into the salad, either sprinkled on top and mixed in with the grains. All this to say, starting your week with cooked grains, roasted veggies and boiled eggs at the ready is a good foundation for genius salad thing math. Choose your own adventure, y’all!