Friday, March 22, 2013

Friends Who Cook: Simply Delicious Mediterranean Grain Salad

You remember my guest contributor Sarah Kagan, the Costa Rican jungle cook and blogger behind Beyond the Batter? Well, today I'd like to sing her praises... toot her horn, if you will. Sarah and I were on a conference call after work on Wednesday and while we were on the call, she whipped up the most fabulous, healthy dinner for me right before my eyes. I held the phone, and she made the dinner. 

Clearly I lucked out on this deal.

When a recipe is simple, part of me assumes that it must not be that good. To me, the complication factor of a recipe lends the dish distinct flavors and textures, whereas simple recipes oftentimes fall short.

But boy was I wrong. I literally had seconds... then thirds of this dish. It was a healthy indulgence, as opposed to my utter gluttony at Farmstead last week.

So, because this dish literally took her 20 minutes to make and was deemed 'oh so delicious' by yours truly, she's allowing me to share the secret recipe. I told you she's a doll.

Oh... and did I mention Sarah just completed another half marathon last weekend in DC?!? She runs AND she cooks! Some people just have it all!

Cook 1 cup of dry grains according to package directions. We used freekeh because we had a free sample from the Vegetarian Food Festival, but you could use brown rice, quinoa, barley, millet... anything really! Quick Tip: When you place a clean dish towel under the lid for the last few minutes, it helps the grains fluff up better!
While the grains are cooking, dice 2 yellow, orange or red bell peppers and finely chop a large handful of fresh basil (there is no exact measurement here, the more the merrier). Combine the peppers and basil in a large mixing bowl.
Add a large handful of pistachios. Any nut will work here... be creative!
 Once the grains are cooked, add them to the bowl and mix well. Dress it with a mixture of 4 Tbs olive oil, 2 Tbs balsamic vinegar, 1-2 Tbs. lemon juice, 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes and salt and pepper to taste. If you need more dressing, just work based off these proportions.
We served our grains with roasted asparagus (easy recipe here) and an avocado, grapefruit and radish salad. Oh... and a glass of red wine. What's dinner without that?
Have a lovely weekend!!

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