Skillet #3 - Michael's Grain Salad

 

Fair Food Challenge's own Michael hosted the first Skillet Community Kitchen session by demonstrating their recipe for a healthy grain salad. As a current student studying a masters in environment, Michael is quite passionate about sustainability, veganism and making healthy food on a budget so we're delighted that they shared their recipe with us. 

Michael - "This recipe has been a staple for me since I learned to make it for a cafe I worked at. It is a little tricky to get a handle on initially with all the different grains and cooking times, but once you have it you can make a healthy and nutritious salad from mostly bulk-bought (i.e. cheap) dry goods you keep on hand in your pantry. On top of that you can make so many different variations by changing what dried fruits you use or even what grains you put in! "

 Michael and the various Skillet participants preparing the different salad components together.

Michael and the various Skillet participants preparing the different salad components together.

Serves 4 or can be served as a side for 8

Prep time: 20 mins

Cook time: 45mins – 1hr

 

 Locally sourced mint leaves being picked and washed in preparation for being added to the salad.

Locally sourced mint leaves being picked and washed in preparation for being added to the salad.

Ingredients:

Salad:

  • ¼ cup dried buckwheat
  • ¼ cup quinoa
  • ¼ cup pearl barley
  • ¼ brown rice
  • 1 cup brown lentils (or half a cup of dried lentils)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup slivered almonds
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • ½ cup pepitas
  • ½ bunch parsley
  • ½ bunch mint
  • 1 cup chopped kale
  • 1 spring onion
  • ½ red onion
  • 1 grated carrot

 

 Michael demonstrating how to quickly dice a red onion very finely. 

Michael demonstrating how to quickly dice a red onion very finely. 

Dressing:

  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon of mustard (wholegrain or dijon)
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • Rind and juice of one lemon
  • Salt and pepper

 

 All the components of the salad being incorporated nicely. 

All the components of the salad being incorporated nicely. 

Method:

Salad

  1. Prepare your dried grains:
    1. For the pearl barley add the ¼ cup to 1 ¼ cups of cold water, cover and then bring to boil on the stove. Once boiling turn down to simmer and allow to cook covered until tender. This should take about 30 – 40 minutes.
    2. For the brown rice add the ¼ cup to 1 ¼ cups of boiling water on stove and cover. Simmer for 45 minutes and then turn heat off for 15 minutes while still covered. Fluff with a fork afterwards.
    3. For the buckwheat add the ¼ cup to ½ cup cold water, cover and then bring to boil on the stove. Once boiling uncover, turn down to simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
    4. For the quinoa wash well and then place in a pot of boiling water uncovered. Simmer for 10 – 15 minutes.
  2.  Cool all your grains by running under cold water and then place uncovered in the fridge to continue to dry out while preparing everything else.
  3. Chop the green beans to 2 – 3cm pieces and place in steamer for 5 – 10 minutes or until they are tender. Quickly cool under cold water and store in the fridge with you grains.
  4. Pick all your leafy herbs and kale away from the stalk and finely chop. If you want to remove some of the kale flavor feel free to massage the leaves in olive oil before chopping.
  5. Finely dice your red onion and grate your carrot.
  6. Start combining everything together in a large mixing bowl, leaving your grains until the last so that they are nice and cool.
  7. Gently fold your grains through and dress accordingly

Dressing:

  1. Combine minced garlic, oil, vinegar, mustard and lemon juice in either a bowl or a glass jar (why stir while you can shake?).
  2. Taste test this to make it to your liking: you might want more vinegar or citrus depending on your tastes.

 

 Michael demonstrating their love of jars while also preparing the salad dressing.

Michael demonstrating their love of jars while also preparing the salad dressing.

Hints:

  • Keep your grains separated in different containers in the fridge if you want them to keep longer. After all you can always just throw this salad together again quite easily in 5 minutes if it’s all cooked and ready to go.
  • Substitute any of the nuts with other nuts: it’s all about your preference.
  • The dried cranberries can be substituted with other dried fruits and you can always put more in if that’s what you’re into (I personally love putting in a few different types like dried apricots and raisins).
  • This is the same for the herbs: if you have heaps of coriander then use that instead of mint. Whatever you have on hand will work.
  • If you want to store this overnight (or for up to 2 – 3 days) then leave the dressing on the side: it won’t last as long in the fridge if its covered in dressing.
  • Try substituting a few different grains for fun and see which ones you like the best!

 

 The final product: a colourful and large quantity of grain salad

The final product: a colourful and large quantity of grain salad