Wednesday, March 6, 2013

My Dad's Chilled Whole Grain Salad

For all of you carb-fearing dieters out there, stop being afraid of whole grains!  In the past, I’ve fallen victim to the Akins and South Beach hype.  Yes, they are both quick ways to shed a few pounds and if you’re looking for relatively fast gratification, I can’t deny that they work.  Despite what the propaganda preaches however, neither are sustainable ‘lifestyle’ options over the long term, particularly if you lead even a remotely active lifestyle. 

People, grains are a good thing!  Eat them.  There’s a reason that they’re a foundation block at the bottom of the food pyramid.  The key however, is eating the right grains.  As long as you’re avoiding the polished, bleached, over processed variety, you’re making healthy eating choices that contribute to your long-term health and wellbeing.

I’m a huge fan of Earthly Choice Heritage Grain Blend.  They’re 100% organic, gluten free whole grains that pack a great serving of fiber and protein.  The blend of amaranth, red and gold quinoa and wild rice makes a fantastic side dish, or chilled salad.  Below, I’ve adapted one of my dad’s recipes that makes a great spring dish using the blend. 

Chilled Whole Grain Salad

2 cups Earthly Choice Heritage Grains, prepared and chilled (or the grain blend of your choice)
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons Italian seasoning blend
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 small cucumber, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
6 asparagus spears
1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

- Prepare grains according to package directions and chill to room temperature
- Blanche asparagus spears for 4 minutes or until bright green in color
- Chop spears into 1/2-inch sections and toss with the grains
- Add diced cucumber and bell pepper and toss to combine
- In a small pitcher, mix olive oil, vinegar and Italian seasoning and pour over the salad
- Season with salt and pepper
- Top with crumbled feta and serve at room temperature 

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