Is it appropriate to wear Spandex to lunch? If you ask chef Nick Korbee of Egg Shop, a sun-filled café on New York's Lower East Side specializing in breakfast—eggs in particular, hence the name—the answer is a resounding yes. In fact, one of his most in-demand menu items is an homage to the stretchy workout pants. The appropriately named Spandex is as healthy as it gets: a protein-packed bowl filled with red quinoa, shiro miso, kale, avocado, pickled carrot, and topped with two poached eggs (or more, depending on how hungry you are).
The idea for the cult-favorite dish was born out of a brunch outing with Korbee and his wife, Amanda, at a "hip downtown restaurant" circa 2014 when he noticed not one, not two, but no less than 15 diners clad in spandex—including his date. "In that moment I learned that fashion, food, and fitness can share the same space," Korbee recently said. "Food can be healthful or not, fashion can be stylish or not, and any person can choose a healthy lifestyle, or not. It's that 'or not' that brings yoga pants into the restaurant."
He continued: "Everyone wears their yoga pants in public these days. In general, people are more health-conscious and wearing their lifestyle choices on their sleeve, or more appropriately their bums. The Spandex bowl was inspired by this fact, and from day one was meant to be a protein-rich breakfast that was both filling and light. The umami trifecta of red quinoa, white miso, and tamari provided a sense of heartiness that matches the nutrition and richness of a poached egg. The dish finds balance through the sweetness of pickled carrot and the freshness of kale."
Read on for the recipe, featured in Egg Shop's new cookbook ($22; amazon.com), out today from William Morrow Cookbooks.
Protein-Packed "Spandex" Bowl
1 cup organic red quinoa
1 tablespoon organic shiro miso
2 tablespoons organic tamari
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 avocado, sliced lengthwise into thin half-moons
¼ cup pickled carrots
4 cups baby kale
2-4 poached eggs
How to Make It
1. To make the quinoa, in a medium saucepan, combine the quinoa and 2 cups water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cover, reduce the heat, and cook until the quinoa looks like it is sprouting a little tail, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let rest, covered, while you prepare the miso mixture. Combine the miso and 3 tablespoons water and stir until smooth, then fold it into the quinoa.
2. In a small bowl, whisk the tamari, lemon juice, and olive oil. This dressing will separate immediately and that’s okay; just be sure to give a good whisk or shake before using to make sure the components are evenly combined.
3. To assemble the salads, portion the quinoa evenly into 2 wide, shallow bowls. Fan the avocado across the quinoa. Pile the pickled carrot ribbons between 12 and 3 o’clock, place the baby kale from 3 to 9 o’clock, and top each salad with 1 or 2 poached eggs. Dress the entire dish liberally with the tamari dressing.
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