24 January 2015

Weekend Cooking: Harvest Grain Salad

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Cooking Light January 2015My new meal-planning approach to dinners paid off in spades this week. I am starting my really busy editing season, which means long days and low energy for anything extra, including getting creative in the kitchen. Thank goodness for that dinner plan I set up on Sunday morning. I'm so happy to not have to tax my brain in the evening; just look at the dinner list and go.

Our dinners included a spicy lentil soup, a chicken and bean salad, and squash risotto. All good and easy to make because I put the pressure cooker to good use. The hit dish of the week, however, came as a big surprise: a grain salad.

A couple of weeks ago, I spotted a lamb chops with farro salad recipe in the January issue of Cooking Light. I knew right away I would not be following the recipe for cooking the lamb. We grill all year round, and I love the easier clean up, guaranteed success (my husband has the technique down pat), and good flavor. So that left the salad part.

Thanks to @SuziQOregon who writes at Whimpulsive, one of the staples in my house is Trader Joe's Harvest Grains Blend. And because we really like it, I figured I'd use that (cooked easily in the rice cooker) instead of trying to hunt down the precooked farro that the original recipe called for. I made a couple of other minor tweaks to Cooking Light's salad and came up with a dish I'll be serving often.

Seriously, this was so good we could barely stop eating it. This was a great accompaniment to our simply grilled lamb, but I can see this in the summer with burgers, as a main-dish salad, or as welcome addition to a pot-luck.

Note: If you don't have a Trader Joe's near you, try any grain mix or your own favorite single grain. The blend contains couscous, orzo, mini chickpeas, and quinoa.

Harvest Grain Salad
Adapted from Cooking Light
Serves 4 or more
  • ½ (16 ounce) package Trader Joe's Harvest Grains Blend
  • 1¾ cups chicken broth
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon country Dijon mustard
  • Dried thyme (I forgot to measure. Let's say ½ teaspoon or to taste)
  • Freshly ground pepper and salt to taste
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2½ ounces baby arugula, washed and dried
Cook the grain according to the package directions, using the chicken broth and omitting the butter. When done, let the cooked grain cool for a few minutes. (The grain should be warm but not hot.)

Meanwhile, whisk the zest, juice, honey, mustard, thyme, and pepper in a small bowl.

Place the cooled grain in a large serving bowl. Add the onion and the lemon mixture and toss well to combine. Taste and add salt as needed. Add the arugula and toss again. Serve. This was also good cold the next day.


Emma Litttlefield 1/24/15, 6:13 AM  

This looks really healthy and tasty. I assume you could use eggie stock vs. chicken?

Beth F 1/24/15, 6:17 AM  

@Emma: yes, absolutely. Even water will do.

rhapsodyinbooks 1/24/15, 6:21 AM  

If you can find farro, it's wonderful. Very nutty flavor. Almost umami-esque, in a way that makes it combine well with mushrooms and soy sauce. I did find out however that it is not gluten free, for people who need stuff to be gluten free.

jama 1/24/15, 6:38 AM  

I've never tried farro, but now want to try TJ's Harvest Grain Blend. This salad does sound like a tasty, healthy, versatile side dish. :)

Sarah's Book Shelves 1/24/15, 7:10 AM  

Yum! That looks like a great summer side dish (well, I guess it could be any season, but for some reason the look of it screams summer to me!). Kudos to you for putting your own spin on it.

Teddyree 1/24/15, 7:16 AM  

that looks absolutely delicious and just right for the hot weather we're having!

bermudaonion 1/24/15, 9:37 AM  

Triple yum! That photo looks like it belongs in a cookbook or magazine.

SuziQoregon 1/24/15, 10:17 AM  

Oooh - I like this use of Harvest Grains Blend - sounds delish and something I could take to work for lunch!! Saving this to try soon.

Esme 1/24/15, 10:27 AM  

Are you in my kitchen? I have been cooking out of this edition. The chicken recipes are great.

Anonymous,  1/24/15, 10:54 AM  

I just added the needed ingredients to the grocery list for later today.

Katherine P 1/24/15, 10:58 AM  

Oh this sounds delicious! I've been looking for lunch ideas for myself that are tasty but a bit healthier and this looks perfect. Thanks for sharing! I'll have to look for this book.

Les 1/24/15, 11:29 AM  

I make a menu and grocery list every Saturday morning. I love it when I actually stick to the plan and wind up with leftovers for lunches. This week has been a bit hit with new recipes, as well as those good old tried-and-true.

Thanks for the recommendation for the grain blend. I shop almost exclusively at Trader Joe's and will add it to my grocery list.

Jackie McGuinness 1/24/15, 12:39 PM  

Any new chicken recipes are always welcome. Lamb chops have my mouth watering.

Melynda@Scratch Made Food! 1/24/15, 2:38 PM  

We are just beginning to eat grain salads, but so far, very enjoyable. For some reason grain salads and curry dishes have been sparse on our table.

Anonymous,  1/24/15, 2:40 PM  

That salad looks delicious! I do go to Trader Joe's but I haven't seen that grain blend. I'll have to look for it next time.

Joy 1/24/15, 3:38 PM  

That salad looks wonderful. I love the flavors of the dressing with thyme and lemon.

Joy's Book Blog

Cecelia 1/24/15, 5:58 PM  

This salad reminds me of one they have at Sweetgreen (my favorite fast-salad place for lunch), but I've never attempted it at home. I'll have to get that grain mix at TJ's! YUM.

Tina 1/24/15, 7:38 PM  

I love Cooking Light! I want your meal, sounds so good. We happen to have a Trader Joes near us.

nishitak 1/25/15, 3:30 AM  

That looks really good. I'm always afraid to tweak recipes, but your tweaks seem to have turned out really well :)

Sheila (Bookjourney) 1/25/15, 11:24 AM  

Looks delicious! I am planning to make more salads this year. I wish we had a Trader Joes closer to us, it is a two hour drive!

Laurie C 1/25/15, 1:18 PM  

I love this kind of salad. Very forgiving to adapting to what you have on hand, too. Sounds and looks delicious!

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