Quick and healthy: Poached egg on kale and millet grits

My work as an acupuncturist allows me to have lunch at home several days a week, and it’s something I’ve come to enjoy immensely. I love to cook, but I don’t want to go to a lot of trouble in the middle of the day (too much time, too many dirty dishes), so my challenge is to find something quick and healthy that I can whip up quickly.

Lately, all of my lunches involve eggs in various forms. I never get tired of eating them since you can do so many things with them. Eggs are an excellent source of protein for my mostly vegetarian diet, and pack a whallop of solid nutrition. The whites are almost pure protein, and it is a complete protein with the full compliment of all 8 amino acids. The yoke has gotten a bad rap in the past since it contains most of the fat in the egg, but it turns out that that fat is not so bad for you as they used to think. The yolk also contains most of the other nutrients, including healthy doses of B vitamins and minerals. They have an extremely low glycemic index, a 2 out of 100.

When I eat eggs, I feel comfortably full for longer, with steady-burning energy the whole time.

I feel best when I pair them with a whole grain and something green. Kale is another of my favorite super-foods. It has similar, almost complete amino acid compliment like eggs, along with a host of vitamins and minerals, including a hefty dose of vitamin A. Kale also has a low glycemic index.

I made this dish last week when I had some left over millet grits. Next time I have some of my Millet-Amaranth-Quinoa blend on hand, I think I’ll make this again.

This recipe is for 1 serving, and the quantity of kale is up to you–I like having a lot!

Poached egg on kale and millet grits

Millet grits (or other grain), prepared according to package instructions with small pat of Earth Balance dairy-free “butter” added (or real butter)

1-2 hands full of chopped kale (or any other leafy green)
Chopped garlic, to taste
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 or 2 eggs
Sriricha chili-garlic sauce (optional)

Place small pot of water on to boil for poaching your eggs (use a larger pot if you plan to poach more than 1 egg at a time). Add 1 tsp white vinegar to the water (this helps keep the egg together while it poaches).

Saute garlic and kale in a skillet. Season with small pinch of salt. If necessary, add a bit of water to steam the kale a bit until you get a texture that is soft but still toothsome.

In the meantime, poach your egg(s). Poaching instructions can be found here and here. You want to have a nice, runny yolk at the end.

Serve in a bowl large enough for you to stir everything together. Start with your grains, then top with sauteed kale and then your egg. If you like spicy things like I do, garnish with your favorite hot sauce (mine is Sriracha). Stir, making sure to break up the yolk and stir it in.

Whole grains for a busy life

In my attempt to eat primarily whole grains, Iíve found a few shortcuts that make it possible to fit the longer cooking time into my busy work schedule.

First, I generally make a large pot of brown rice mixed with some millet at the beginning of the week. Iím not too exact about the ratio of rice to millet, but I generally try to make 3 cups total, usually a 1/2 cup of millet and 2 1/2 cups of brown rice. They cook together nicely, and the millet doesnít really change the flavor too much while adding a lot of nutrients. (It contains iron and some other helpful minerals, B vitamins and protein.) You can do this same thing with white rice to improve itís nutritional value without changing its taste too much.

This big pot of rice allows me to simply re-heat it any time I want some rice with a meal, without the 30+ minutes of cooking time.

My other favorite pre-cooked grain combo is a blend of quinoa, amaranth and millet. I generally make about 2 cups total, with roughly 1 cup of quinoa + 3/4 cup millet + 1/4 cup amaranth. These grains also cook nicely together in about 12 minutes (like white rice). Quinoa and amaranth have a heavy dose of high-quality protein (similar to egg white, which has the highest quality protein around), as well as large quantities of minerals (like iron and magnesium) and B vitamins. I generally use this grain blend as a breakfast porridge. I re-heat it in the morning with some soy milk, and add raisins, nuts, cocoa nibs and a bit of honey for a super-healthy, super-filling start to my day.

Both of these whole grain blends contain ample fiber and have a low glycemic index, making them filling, slow-burning energy generators.

Both blends cook well with a standard 2 parts water to 1 part grain ratio. For the brown rice, I generally add and additional 1/4 cup of water since it cooks longer. Itís important to add 1/2ñ1 teaspoon of salt to bring out the natural flavor of the grains.

These grains are also gluten-free and allergen free, so theyíre a good choice for people with food sensitivities.

For more information about the nutritional makeup of these grains, you can check Nutritiondata.com.