summer grain bowl
I often wonder why comfort food is reserved only for winter. This dish combines all of the comforts of summer — hearty grains, flavorful vegetables, and fresh herbs — in one unassuming, yet delicious bowl. The recipe makes enough for 2 and can be enjoyed as a healthful and energizing breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Any leftover vegetables are also delicious the next day.
for the walnut pesto:
¼ cup whole walnuts, toasted in a dry pan
2 tablespoons torn fresh mint leaves
½ small clove garlic
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons roasted walnut oil (or olive oil)
juice of ¼ lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil
for the bowls:
6 ounces green beans, ends trimmed
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more if needed
1 medium zucchini, ends trimmed and cut lengthwise into 8 spears
8 cherry tomatoes
1 ½ cups cooked quinoa
fresh mint for garnish
flaky sea salt + freshly ground black pepper
In a mortar and pestle, grind together the walnuts, mint, garlic, and a generous pinch of salt until coarsely ground and fragrant. Add the walnut oil and lemon juice and stir to combine. Set aside.
Fill a stockpot with water and bring to a boil. Add the green beans and blanch for 2 minutes. Immediately transfer to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Once cool, remove the beans from the ice water and set aside.
In a cast iron skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over high heat. Once hot, add the zucchini spears in one layer and cook, undisturbed, until browned on one side, about 2 – 3 minutes. Flip and cook the spears for another 2 – 3 minutes, until tender. Remove from the skillet and transfer to a mixing bowl. Pour half of the walnut pesto over the warm zucchini and toss to coat. Set aside.
Add the blanched green beans to the hot skillet, adding more olive oil if necessary, and sauté until just starting char in spots, about 3 – 4 minutes. Remove from the skillet, transfer to a bowl, and pour the remaining walnut pesto over and toss to combine. Set aside.
Add the tomatoes to the hot skillet and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until just blistered and warmed through, about 3 – 4 minutes. Remove from the skillet and set aside. Remove the skillet from the heat.
To poach the eggs, fill a medium saucepan halfway with water and heat until bubbles start to form at the bottom of the pan, but don’t break the surface. Carefully crack 1 egg into the water and swirl the water gently with a spoon to ensure the egg does not stick to the bottom of the pan. Crack the second egg into the water, gently swirling again. Cook the eggs in the warm water, adjusting the heat as necessary to keep the water just below a simmer, for about 4 – 5 minutes, or until the yolks are cooked to your liking. Use a slotted spoon to remove the eggs, tapping them on a paper towel to remove any excess water before setting them aside.
To assemble the bowls, divide the quinoa between 2 serving dishes. Arrange the zucchini, green beans, and tomatoes alongside. Top each with a poached egg. Garnish each bowl with a sprig of fresh mint and sprinkle with flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to finish.