Mad Greens Inspired Brussels Sprout & Quinoa Bowl

We were driving home from the airport a few months ago and stopped at Mad Greens for a quick lunch. Jamie ordered the Belgium Bowl and has pretty much been obsessed with it ever since. So much so, that we now have driven out of the way to find a Mad Greens more than once. The Belgium Bowl has a number of ingredients, but is essentially a roasted brussels sprouts, quinoa, and chicken bowl with some fun toppings like bacon, goat cheese, and pecans. It’s hearty and very filling, which is something we look for in a lunch salad. We started to make this salad at home and have mixed and matched our own variations to get it to the recipe we are sharing today. It has become a family favorite and a great recipe to transition from winter into spring.

Mad Greens Inspired Brussels Sprout & Quinoa Bowl

  • Servings: 4 entrée servings
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A hearty and healthy brussels sprout and quinoa bowl, inspired by the Belgium Bowl at Mad Greens.

Ingredients

  • 8 cups finely shaved brussels sprouts (you can do this in a food processor)
  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa
  • 4 slices thick cut bacon
  • 3/4 cup pecans
  • 1/2 cup goat cheese
  • 1/4 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 – 1/4 cup honey
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Cook the quinoa. Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a medium pot. Add the quinoa and cook on a simmer until cooked through, about 15 minutes.
  2. While the quinoa is cooking, heat a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Add the bacon to the pan and cook until it is crispy, about 8 minutes. Remove the bacon from the pan and set it aside on paper towel, reduce the heat of the pan to low and drain the fat from the pan. You don’t need to clean the pan completely – you can leave any fat that remains on the bottom of the pan. Add the pecans to the pan and toast them until they become fragrant, about 5 minutes.
  3. While the bacon is cooking, make the dressing. Whisk the olive oil, mustard, and honey together in a small bowl. This dressing is more on the mustardy side (our preference) but if you want the dressing to be a little sweeter, add the full 1/4 cup honey into the dressing. Once all ingredients are combined, add a little water to the dressing to thin it out to a drizzly consistency and season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  4. Add the quinoa and brussels sprouts to a large mixing bowl. Chop the bacon and add it to the bowl along with the toasted pecans and red onion. Dollop the goat cheese around the salad and add the dressing over top. Toss everything really well so that the goat cheese is spread throughout the salad. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.


Beet, Goat Cheese, & Farro Salad

We have jam packed this salad full to the brim! Unlike our Semi-Homemade Pesto Caprese that we made earlier in the week, this recipe will have you in the kitchen for a bit more time if you are cooking the beets from scratch. We promise it is worth it! If you want to save some time, look for pre-cooked beets in the refrigerated produce section of the grocery store. We have also found quick cooking farro at Trader Joe’s, which helps cut the time down even more. This dish is hearty choice as a “salad for dinner” recipe and one of our favorite ways to pack in the veggies this summer. 

Beet, Goat Cheese, & Farro Salad 
Makes: 4 entree servings 
Prep Time: 45 minutes    Total Time: 1 hour 

Ingredients for the Salad: 

  • 4 large (or 6 medium) beets, stems removed and peeled 
  • 1 tbs olive oil 
  • 1 1/2 cups quick cooking farro 
  • 8 cups kale, large stems removed 
  • 2/3 cup goat cheese 
  • 1 avocado, sliced 
  • ⅓ cup olive oil 

Ingredients for the Balsamic Vinaigrette: 

  • ⅓ cup olive oil 
  • 1 tbs dijon mustard
  • 2 tbs balsamic glaze or balsamic vinegar 
  • 2 tsp honey (use this only if you used balsamic vinegar, not glaze)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced 
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. 
  2. Chop the beets into large, bite-sized pieces. Place them on a sheet of foil and drizzle with 1 tbs of olive oil. Toss to coat the beats evenly and season with salt and pepper. Lay them in a single layer on a baking sheet, cover with a second sheet of foil, and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until they are fork tender. 
  3. While the beets are cooking, prepare the farro. Heat a medium pot with water and bring to a boil. Cook the farro according to package directions; quick-cooking farro takes about 10 minutes while traditional farro can take up to 40 minutes. The farro should still have some texture and chew; strain when it has finished cooking. 
  4. While the farro is cooking make the salad dressing. Whisk all of the ingredients in a small mixing bowl until thoroughly blended. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
  5. When the beets have finished cooking, toss them in a large bowl with the kale, farro, and about 3/4 of the salad dressing. It’s okay if the beets and/or farro are still a bit warm- this will help break down the kale so that it is more chewable. 
  6. Assemble the salad by layering the beet/farro/kale mixture on the bottom of a serving bowl. Top with the goat cheese and avocado. Drizzle with the remaining salad dressing and freshly cracked black pepper. Serve immediately.  

Smashed Potatoes with Goat Cheese & Pesto

Our good friend Lea has been snapping pics of her homemade potatoes and we immediately reached out for the recipe. Normally recipes from her are hard to come by because of lot of her cooking has been taught in person, without recipe, from her amazing, Italian mama. Luckily for us, this time, she was willing to share. We made a few modifications and hope that these bad boys do her justice. Thank you Lea! 

These potatoes are cooked twice – boiled and baked. We love the bake at the end because it gives the outside of the potatoes a nice, crispy texture. The pesto and goat cheese makes the whole dish decadent and delicious. This is a great side dish to serve with just about any protein and perfect for Memorial Day Weekend. We chose to pair the potatoes with a steak during one of our fancy Steak Saturday dinners that we have been enjoying during quarantine. 

Smashed Potatoes with Pesto & Goat Cheese 
Makes: 4-6 side dishes 
Prep Time: 10 minutes  Total Time: 60 minutes

Ingredients: 

  • 1 lb baby potatoes 
  • 4 tbs olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pesto
  • 6 oz goat cheese 
  • salt and pepper for seasoning 

Directions for the Oven: 

  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place the potatoes in cold water covered by 2 -3 inches of water. Set the heat on high and bring to boil. Boil for 20 minutes. 
  3. While the potatoes are boiling, mix the pesto and goat cheese together in a bowl. 
  4. Drain and rinse the potatoes. Using a glass or other type of round ramekin, place the potatoes on a sprayed baking sheet and use the glass to “smash” the potatoes flat. This doesn’t need to be perfect. Some potatoes may break all the way through and others will remain intact. 
  5. Drizzle the olive oil over the potatoes and add a hearty dollop of the pesto/goat cheese mixture on top of each potato. Place the potatoes in the oven for another 30 minutes until the are crispy and the cheese mixture is fully melted. 
  6. Take the potatoes out of the oven and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serve warm!