Loaded supergrain salad
I've been seeing lots of these 'supergrain' mixes around lately in the healthier fast food joints close to work. They tend to be served as a base for curries and stews, and they often include all kinds of great grains and pulses like lentils, quinoa and brown/red rice. Though I like the concept, I find that these places tend to serve up far too much of the supergrain base compared to the amount of curry or stew on offer. If I'm ordering a curry, I'd like it with a side of rice (and not the other way around!) But all this got me thinking to myself, why not make the supergrain base the star of the show? What about making a really nutritious and tasty salad with it instead?
I find grain salads to be excellent lunch options to bring to the office. Why? There are a few reasons, actually. First, they keep really well for a few days in the fridge which means that they can be assembled on the weekend and enjoyed during the first part of the week - a key step for successful meal planning. Second, I just love the fact that this kind of salad can actually be dressed ahead of time. This is a big bonus in my eyes, because it means fewer containers to carry around and less dishes to clean up afterwards.
This particular supergrain salad is one that's simply made with lots of things that I love using the supergrain mix idea as a base. I find it makes a really well-rounded nutritious salad. You've got your greens - in this case dino kale/cavolo nero, flat leaf parsley and garden chives - for that plant-powered alkalising boost. Then you've got your protein from the quinoa, lentils, mixed beans/chickpeas and crumbled Parmesan or tofu. Finally there's some cucumber for crunch and some Mediterranean marinated goodies like chargrilled artichokes and Halkidiki olives to tie it all together. Now that's my kind of salad!
Once you've cooked and cooled the base, this salad is really easy to throw together. Just add the rest of the ingredients to a large salad bowl along with some lemon juice, raw cider vinegar and salt and pepper to taste, and voila, c'est fait! The only thing I'd stress here is to massage the shredded kale with a bit of olive oil using your hands before adding it to the mix. This step breaks down the kale a bit and makes it a bit easier to eat. This is of course optional, but recommended.
And that's all there is to it! Now go forth and get ready for the week ahead (at least that's what I'm going to do!)
Loaded supergrain salad
This supergrain salad is loaded with all kinds of good stuff. The base is made up of red Camargue rice, wild rice, white quinoa and du puy lentils, to which fresh greens, veggies and some Mediterranean classics like artichoke hearts, mixed beans olives an Parmesan cheese are added. If you want to keep it vegan, skip the cheese or sub in some crumbled tofu.
- 1 cup | 185 g red and wild rice mix, rinsed
- 1/2 cup | 100 g white quinoa, rinsed
- 1/2 cup | 100 g du puy lentils, rinsed
- 3 1/2 cups | 800 mL water
- 1 tsp pink salt
- 3-5 large leaves dino kale/cavolo nero, shredded and massaged with a bit of olive oil
- 1 cup | 170 g marinated chargrilled artichoke hearts, coarsely chopped
- 10-15 Halkidiki olives, chopped
- 1/2 cucumber, seeded and chopped
- 1 cup | 240 g cooked chickpeas or mixed beans (equivalent to a 400g can drained)
- 1/4 cup | 25 g flat parsley, chopped
- 1/4 cup | 25 g garden chives, chopped
- 1/2 cup | 50 g Parmesan or tofu, crumbled
- 1 lemon, juice
- 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup | 60 mL to 125 mL raw cider vinegar
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Start by making the supergrain base. Add the red and wild rice, quinoa, and lentils to a medium saucepan. Cover with the water, add the salt and bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cover, cooking for 25-30 minutes until all the water is absorbed. Once ready, fluff with a fork and turn out onto a wooden chopping board to cool to room temperature.
While the supergrain base is cooking, prep the other ingredients and set aside.
Once the supergrain base had cooled down to room temperature, add it to a large salad bowl along with the kale, artichoke hearts, olives, cucumber, beans, parsley, chives, and Parmesan or tofu and toss to combine. Pour over the lemon juice, 1/4 cup of the cider vinegar, and olive oil and toss again. Taste and add the rest of the vinegar if needed (I personally like it on the tangy side). Season with as much salt and pepper as desired.
Serves 4-6, and keeps well in the fridge for a few days.