Monday, June 1, 2009

Mediterranean Grain Salad

Whole grains deserve a bit of experimentation. Tossing them into a salad along with some more traditional ingredients is a great way to introduce yourself and get to know each other a bit better. When you add a whole grain to a leafy salad, it suddenly becomes far more filling. Hold off on the crusty bread, tempting though it may be, with this one.

I chose to use quinoa in this recipe since we've been having a whole grain love affair for several years now. I should warn you, though, that quinoa has a tendency to cling to everything it touches, so you'll end up with quinoa-coated spinach, quinoa-coated cheese crumbles, etc. If this bothers you, you might want to use farro, bulgur or barley. Just pick the grain you feel like getting to know better. The instructions below are for quinoa, so if you use something else, follow the package directions to cook it.

Spicy radishes, creamy goat cheese and a light lemon vinaigrette compliment the quinoa and spinach nicely. This is a pretty inoffensive salad that you can serve to almost anyone. Anyone who knows what's good for them, anyway!

Mediterranean Grain Salad
adapted from Williams-Sonoma's Food Made Fast: Salad
serves 2


1/2 cup quinoa (or grain of choice)
juice of one lemon
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons EVOO
4 radishes, thinly sliced
1/4 English cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced
a few leaves of fresh mint, finely chopped
3 oz. baby spinach leaves
1 oz. goat cheese or feta cheese crumbles


1. If using quinoa, rinse and drain, then put in a saucepan with 1 cup water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until all water is absorbed. Turn off heat and set aside to cool for a while. Use this time to prep remaining ingredients.

2. Make the vinaigrette: whisk the lemon juice, salt, pepper, and EVOO together in a small bowl (or shake in a salad dressing shaker).

3. Assemble the salad: Put radishes, cucumber, mint, spinach, cheese, and quinoa in a large bowl. Drizzle with vinaigrette and toss gently to combine. Serve.


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