Search results for 'grain-based salads'

Ellie Krieger’s Warm Bulgur Salad with Grapes and Feta

3 Feb

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Even though I enjoy cooking, life is busy and sometimes, I just want a big (healthy!) plate of food in front me me without having to work too hard for it.

I’ve talked about grain-based salads before, but I always come back to them because they are an everything-in-one meal. More on them later…

Last week, I went to a book talk for Ellie Krieger’s latest cookbook, Weeknight Wonders: Delicious, Healthy Dinners in 30 Minutes or Less. Krieger, who is very much a pragmatist, focuses on quick meals that can be prepared from chopping to eating in less than 30 minutes. During the recipe development process for the book, she even purposefully cut the onion slowly to be sure that the recipes would be within her time limit.

In the book, instead of listing “1 onion, chopped” in the ingredient list, she lists “1 onion,” and then later in the methods section, she gives directions to chop the onion. Things get prepared in the little pockets of time during the course of the recipes because that is how most people cook.

Krieger is a nutrition educator at heart, and that is what drives her personally and professionally. She sees a recipe as the perfect nutrition education tool. People want food that tastes good, and tasty food is a powerful motivator. Recipes can also bridge cultural gaps because everyone eats, and often times many cultures have similar foods prepared only slightly different (i.e. we all have some kind of taco-like dish…). Furthermore, recipes can create self-efficacy, or confidence in people when they try the recipe, they feel they can do it and they share it with friends.

It’s true! Sometimes, I am afraid to try a new recipe because it looks intimidating on the surface or I fear the new. Once I try it, though, I often like it, and then I share it with all of YOU.

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Besides being full of ideas and knowledge, Krieger is so down-to-earth and personable, and she truly loves food.

After the way she described this Warm Bulgur Salad with Grapes and Feta at the book talk, I knew I had to make it right away. The warm grain delicately wilts the spinach, and the burst of sweet grapes complement the slightly melted and salty feta cheese. What a lovely, simple salad.

Bulgur is a quick-cooking whole wheat that is often the basis for a Middle Eastern tabbouleh salad. Did you know that bulgur has twice the fiber of brown rice?! We reap different benefits and flavor profiles from different grains, so keep mixing it up! But as I always say, if you want to use another grain that you have on-hand, go for it.

Note that you can buy pre-washed spinach for this recipe. I used to think that I needed to do most of the work in the kitchen from scratch (which is I nice ideal), but sometimes “healthy shortcuts” like pre-washed greens, quick-cooking whole grains, and frozen fruits and vegetables, can make the difference between preparing dinner at home versus ordering in.

Krieger says, combining grain and vegetable in this dish does double duty as a side that pairs well with simply grilled or roasted meat or poultry. Or tossed with some walnuts, this would be a great vegetarian entree.

I know what I’m eating for lunch the next few days!

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Warm Bulgur Salad with Grapes and Feta

recipe adapted from Ellie Krieger’s Weeknight Wonders

makes 6 servings

1 cup quick-cooking or fine bulgur wheat

2 cups lightly packed baby spinach leaves

1 shallot (or 1/4 large red onion)

a few sprigs of fennel fronds or dill fronds (I used fresh fennel fronds and dried dill)

1 cup seedless red grapes

3 ounces feta cheese

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 large lemon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Cook the bulgur according to the directions on the package.

While the bulgur is cooking, chop the spinach, finely dice the shallot, and chop the fennel fronds. Place them into a large bowl. Cut the grapes into quarters, and crumble the feta cheese.

When the bulgur is done, fluff it with a fork, then add it to the bowl with the spinach and herbs. Toss well until combined, then let sit until the spinach is slightly wilted and the grain is no longer steaming, about 3 minutes. Add the oil, lemon juice, and the salt and pepper and toss until well coated. Add the grapes and feta and toss to combine.

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Summer Salad Round-Up!

24 May

Summer is about to hit us in full force, and I want us to be prepared for the potlucks, barbecues, picnics, and shenanigans to come. Pretty soon I will transition from roasting all of my veggies to shaving them into ribbons and enjoying them raw, preparing grain-based salads, bouncy pastas, light sautés, and brothy soups. It will simply be too dang hot turn on the oven.

Here are some ideas for no-cook (or very-little cook…) hearty salads to ring in the sunshine and keep us lookin’ nice and cool. Variations and substitutions are encouraged. Have fun and experiment.

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Potato Salad with Pickled Red Onion. Can you say 4th of July party?! This salad is salty, crunchy, acidic, herby, and creamy all-in-one. Heck yes.

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Get your fix of beans with this 3 Bean Summer Salad with Corn, Tomato, Avocado & Lime. Colorful and bright, this salad is great on its own or even used as a taco filling or chip dip.

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Radishes are taking over the farmer’s marktes in NY right now. Snag a bunch, slice them thin, and add them to this Israeli Couscous Salad. You could also try making a variation of this salad with a Miso Dressing.

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This Sweet and Savory Quinoa Salad is an old-time favorite. If it’s too hot to roast cauliflower, feel free to use whatever vegetable is easy to prepare and catches your eye. The dried fruit and Mediterranean spices remind me of summer fun.

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You better get your hands on asparagus NOW, before it goes out of season! Enjoy it in a Farro Salad. I recently made a variation of the potato salad above and added asparagus to it.

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No Cook Summer Fruit Salad. I like to use a mix of fresh fruit and dried fruit, with some fresh herbs and cinnamon to pack a punch. It is hard not to eat the whole bowl in one sitting.

Farro Salad with Roasted Asparagus and Overwintered Spinach

4 May

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Grain-based salads are my norm, my go-to, my default. Paired with seasonal veggies and a little protein from cheese or nuts or an egg, grain-based salads are a great dinner-to-lunch-the-next-day meal.

I work at a bakery that also carries some miscellaneous knickknacks for purchase like NYC soil, cocoa nibs, kale chips, random books on bicycles, dog toys, kombucha, and…emmer Farro from Cayuga Pure Organics! After gawking at the farro for weeks and weeks, I finally brought some home to “sample” the product.

Farro is one of those nutty grains that when cooked should be soft with a slight bite to it. Farro is typically combined with Italian or Mediterranean flavors, but you could definitely experiment. Some people even like to make a risotto using farro, or to sweeten it and call it breakfast.

I recently listened to an episode of WNYC’s Leonard Lopate Food Fridays show about grains that I found very interesting…check it out here. In that same episode, he speaks to Melissa Clark from the NYTimes Dining section about packing lunch, and she has some good words to say about farro.

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One of my nutrition professors recommended buying the overwintered greens at the farmer’s market right now. From what I’ve read, overwintered greens are super sweet and only available for a short time…right NOW! These are greens that have been planted in the fall, their shoots and leaves die off in the winter frost, but the roots remain and lend new stems emerging from the sweet roots.

I never knew about this before, and after tasting this spinach, it really is a treat.

Very anxious for spring produce, which is just barely starting to show up in the markets now, I was excited to try this overwintered spinach in combination with the first asparagus of the season. Indeed this is a transition meal, as the weather is finally starting to be consistently “nice” here in NYC.

I added some Vermont Creamery goat cheese to the salad, which I imagine would be perfect with spring strawberries (which I hope to see at the market soon…we still just have apples here in NY…), drizzled with some aged balsamic.

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Farro Salad with Roasted Asparagus and Wintered Spinach

**NOTE: if you don’t have farro, you could always substitute with Israeli couscous, orzo, quinoa, millet, rice, wild rice, wheat berries…etc.

1 cup farro, soaked in water for at least 4 hours

1 bunch asparagus

1 clove garlic

3 handfuls overwintered spinach

1 scallion or spring onion or a 1/4 shallot, thinly sliced/diced/slivered

2 oz goat cheese

extra: salt, pepper, drizzle of balsamic, dash of pesto…

Drain the water from the soaked farro. Place farro in a pot and with water to cover the farro by about an inch. Bring to a boil, and then simmer on medium-low heat for about an hour or until soft but still has a slight chew, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, heat the oven to 425 degrees F. Roast the asparagus with a small drizzle of olive oil and salt for about 15 minutes. Take out of the oven, let cool slightly, and chop on the diagonal into bite-size pieces.

Heat a skillet with a little olive oil. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add the spinach and cook until just wilted, about 4-5 minutes.

To assemble: Combine the cooked farro, the asparagus bites, and the garlicky spinach. Toss with crumbled goat cheese, salt, pepper, balsamic, and a dash of pesto. Enjoy!

**You could also make a runny egg and top the farro with it!

Recipe Index

7 Jun

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Restaurants, Outings, and Miscellaneous 

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Ice Cream/Sorbet/Custard

Ice cream condiments/toppings:

Tarts/Pies/Galettes/Crumbles/Crisps


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Fruit

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Soups/Stews

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Grain-Based Salads

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