breakfast, brunch

bacon-avocado quinoa bowls with buttermilk-scallion drizzle.

Easy: thinking about all the things you’d love to write about and all the foods you’d like to make. Harder: Actually doing it. 

So here goes nothing: we’re just going to roll this back out again into daylight and see what happens, with little to no fanfare. Like I was never gone, right? So happy fall to you: or maybe it’s just pre-fall – not yet the official season, but you can’t tell me you haven’t been thinking about it. Some dread it because it means the end of summer, but I’m not that girl: I anticipate cooler weather like I long for the holiday season – in fact, for me, this really is the holiday season. The (not-so-wee) Wee One is back in school and loving every minute of it, and we’ve been blessed with spots of teasingly cool weather here and there already. My grass is green, there’s a breeze, and I’d be lying if I said that pumpkins hadn’t wandered across my thoughts a few times.

Something about kids going back to school after a summer at home gives me a shockingly real sense of how many hours are in a day. If you work from home, you know what I’m talking about: suddenly, there’s a welcome silence that you can fill with more than just relentless answers to questions. You can think actual adult thoughts for more than 7 minutes at a time. I’m trying to take advantage of that this year by…well…doing this. And hoping it sticks again.

So we’ll start here, with my new favorite breakfast. Or lunch. It seems appropriate for several reasons right now: it’s quick, it’s beautiful, and it feels SO good to eat. I’m a classic eggs-for-breakfast girl normally, and this is the first breakfast that replaces that without feeling like I’m missing something at the beginning of the day. I tend to go way more savory than sweet for breakfast, and this just hits all the right notes. All you really have to do is think a tiny bit ahead: the day before, make some quinoa (who couldn’t do that in their sleep by now?) and whip up this buttermilk dressing, which is really just buttermilk, some yogurt, scallion or chive and salt/pepper) and you’re good for the week. Swear you’re going to love this.

Adapted from the September 2018 issue of Cooking Light, my honest-to-God go-to for 90% of my “we’re just a family tryin’ to eat dinner” recipes.

Bacon-Avocado Quinoa Bowl with Buttermilk-Scallion Drizzle

Serves | 4 |

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa*
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 Tbsp greek yogurt
  • 3 to 4 scallions**, trimmed, whites and greens finely chopped
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 medium or 1 large ripe avocado(s), halved and sliced thinly tip to tail
  • 8 strips high-quality bacon, cooked to crispy and roughly chopped
  • kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, always

| Notes |

*I love quinoa always, but if you’re into another grain, by all means use it. Cook it how you cook it; you’ll use about 2/3 to 3/4 cup for each serving here, so plan accordingly. 

**Cooking Light uses chives, and I’m not mad about that: however, I’m not always going to spend $3 just for a teeny, anemic-looking box of chives that go bad in a day. I almost always have scallions in my fridge that need to be used, so it’s my way of giving you a more practical choice. 

Prep | quinoa | Rinse quinoa in a mesh strainer and pour into a medium saucepan. Add 1 3/4 cup water and a pinch of kosher salt, and bring to a boil over high heat. Once at a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 14 minutes until all water has absorbed. Keep lid on, remove from heat, and let sit for at least 5 minutes. Uncover and fluff with fork; set aside until ready to serve.

Prep | buttermilk dressing | Whisk buttermilk, yogurt and about 2 Tbsp of finely chopped scallion greens together in a medium bowl until it’s smooth and incorporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste and transfer to a jar; seal and refrigerate until ready to use.

Assemble | bacon-avocado salad | Divide slightly cooled or room temperature quinoa into low, shallow bowls or lipped plates. Divide cherry tomatoes over top and sprinkle a little salt over them. Add avocado slices and drizzle with buttermilk dressing; crumble bacon over top and add in some of the scallions, although that’s optional.

| To serve | Drizzle buttermilk dressing liberally over the top of each bowl/plate and crumble bacon over top; scatter a few scallion greens to finish. Season generously with salt and pepper and serve.

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  • Reply John / Kitchen Riffs August 30, 2018 at 4:55 pm

    Welcome back. 🙂 Fall is my favorite season, so I’m always eager for it to begin and sorry to see it leave. Sure, I like the other 3 seasons, and I do like seasonal change, but fall is it, for me. And this dish! It absolutely could be it for dinner for me at least once a week. Looks terrific — thanks.

    • Reply shannon September 6, 2018 at 9:34 am

      Thank you, John! Fall is pretty great around here: as i sit here typing this, i know we’re both headed straight into a few solid days of rain and cooler temps, and i couldn’t be happier about it. Fall is on the way!

  • Reply elizabeth September 1, 2018 at 1:05 pm

    Welcome back! I too have been making some inroads back into the blogging space, but I’m not going to hold myself to any sort of schedule–I write when I feel the inclination, and every once in a while I may not write about food specifically. (I have a post about walking around Centralia, PA that I really want to share and there’s not a mention of food in it.) At this point, the fact that we’re blogging at all is notable, you know?

    If I have breakfast at all these days I tend to be a cereal person, but I could totally see this working for a light lunch or dinner when I’ve had a long day and I have to make dinner for myself while M is out of town. In fact, I may just try this in a few weeks when he is out of town for a few days for work.

    • Reply shannon September 6, 2018 at 9:32 am

      Thanks! Same here: i’m really trying to not make promises regarding schedule or frequency: that can be overwhelming, even if it’s your own timeline you’re trying to adhere to, and it can feel like failure if you don’t meet it. I just read your Centralia post and loved it: i’ve been wondering how to branch out myself (mostly in the way that i find myself discussing things in my head that i’d love to chat about in this space)…hard for me to get into a comfort zone with it, but seeing you do it makes me less apprehensive. Because we can do what we WANT: we’ve both earned that after all these years. 🙂

      (sigh) cereal is my FAVORITE: i eat too much of it when i eat it, so i have to really limit my access. 🙂 I can say from experience that this is great for either lunch or dinner: add a protein and it’s super satisfying. Let me know if you try it! I’ve found i drizzle that buttermilk dressing over leafy salads now just because.

  • Reply Sara September 1, 2018 at 1:46 pm

    We made this recipe from the latest issue of CL too, but w/ farro as the grain (that’s what we had in the cupboard). The sauce is really yummy!! Great recipe.

    • Reply shannon September 6, 2018 at 9:27 am

      Farro would be great in this too-perfect substitute! I thought about using either that or bulgur in the future – love both of those grains in dishes like this.

  • Reply nagase September 1, 2018 at 9:16 pm

    These were really good! I substituted grapeseed oil for the butter, although the butter would have been delicious. I think I could have used less oil. I used powdered buttermilk, reconstituted, because I don”t keep buttermilk on hand and we were in the middle of a hurricane warning-grocery stores were closed in Honolulu. I tried it with Bob”s Red Mill corn grits and it probably made them course, but we liked them that way.

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