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'Katherine's Favourites'

The Mighty Grain Salad

Home & Garden

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Wednesdays are my grocery shopping days, but in a very unconventional sense of the word.  This summer I signed up for a Community Supported Agriculture (or CSA) share, which arrives in Paisley each Wednesday afternoon.  A spectacular rainbow of organic and heirloom vegetables and herbs are laid out market-style in big bins and, following the directions on a chalkboard, I stock up on whatever I’m entitled to that particular week.  

 At first, this style of shopping and eating took a little getting used to.  As part of a generation that has grown up being fed glossy vegetables that fit a stereotypical shape and size, I had to learn to recognize and appreciate these bizarre veggie aliens that only distantly resembled their well-manicured grocery store cousins.  Picture round, white zucchini that resemble a spiky crown, beets that look like an orange when peeled, and massive heads of lettuce that feed my family for a week!  Most fun has been experimenting with new veggies, like kohlrabi, spring turnips, garlic scapes, and braising greens, and trying to use up large quantities of herbs before the next pick-up rolls around.

 One of the best ways to use lots of veggies in a quick and delicious supper is to make what one chef calls “The Mighty Grain Salad”.  You may be familiar with tabbouleh, or various versions of it, but a grain salad doesn’t need to be limited to the traditional bulgur-lemon-parsley combination (though it is delicious!).  On CSA nights, I like to sample a bit of everything and this is by far the best way to do it.  Use whatever your have on hand or feel like eating.  A grain salad keeps well in the fridge and is substantial enough to flesh out even the simplest of meals – or, even better, be a meal in itself!

 

 

The Mighty Grain Salad

  • 2 cups cooked grain (bulgur, couscous, quinoa, barley, wheat berries, rice, etc.)

  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil

  • 1-2 tbsp vinegar or freshly squeezed citrus juice

  • 2 tsp total of any desired spices (cumin, coriander, paprika, turmeric, curry, etc.)

  • salt and pepper

  • 2 cups finely diced vegetables (cucumber, peppers, celery, tomatoes, carrots, etc.)

  • 1 small handful of fresh herbs, chopped finely (parsley, chives, cilantro, dill, basil, etc.)

  • 1 19-oz. can beans, rinsed (chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans, white beans, etc.)

  • 1 small handful crumbled feta or goat cheese

1. Place cooled, cooked grains in a large bowl and add oil, vinegar, and spices; season generously with salt and pepper and toss well to combine.  (You will want to over-season this mixture so that when you add the other ingredients, everything will catch some of that flavour.)

2. Add vegetables, herbs, beans, cheese (and even some toasted nuts and seeds and dried fruit, if desired), and toss well to combine.  Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary to produce a balanced and delicious flavour.

Serves four as a side dish.

Adapted from “Good Food For All: Seasonal Recipes from a Community Garden” cookbook.


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Friday, September 02, 2011