Bean, Green & Grain Salad

We’ve talked about cooking with grains in the past. If you don’t recall, here is a chart of how to cook 10 common grains for your reference.

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And cooking dried beans was another past topic in the post on RAFL’s Everyday Cehf titled A Beginner’s Guide to Dried Beans.

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What I love about this recipe is that everything is interchangeable. Use the grains, beans and type of greens that you like most or have on hand – it doesn’t matter.

Serve it hot or cold, as a side or main dish, vegetarian or chock full of bacon. (If you go the bacon route try a maple smoked variety – adds some amazing flavor.) It’s all up to what you like and want to do. And in the end, you can even top it with your preferred dressing.

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Bean, Green & Grain Salad

Serves 4 as a side or 2 as a main dish

  • 2 slices bacon, chopped (optional)
  • 1 tbsp butter or oil
  • 1 medium sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 8 ounces of spinach or other spring greens
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked white beans or your favorite bean variety
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa or your favorite grain variety

If using bacon: Heat a skillet on medium heat and add chopped bacon. Fry until golden brown, then remove bacon with a slotted spoon and let drain on a paper towel, keeping the bacon drippings in the pan.

If not using bacon: Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat.

Add onions and mushrooms to the pan and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Add minced garlic and
spinach and stir for 2-3 minutes, until spinach is wilted down.

Add in beans and quinoa. Turn off heat and stir in bacon (if used). Serve as a main entree or side dish. Dress with your favorite dressing for extra flavor, if desired.

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Three Grain Breakfast Salad

I’m not a morning person. Yet the morning contains one of my favorite meals, and everyone’s most important – breakfast. I rarely ever sit down to a breakfast on a weekday. Does anyone, really? Instead, I tend to grab something on my way out the door, maybe a banana or granola bar, or make a stop at the local coffee shop. Though, I still attempt to make wise choices, at least most days. And as a baker for that local coffee shop, I can’t say there is anything wrong with purchasing something to enjoy with your caffeine, especially if it’s one of the semi-nutritious items I make. Yet, in the back of my mind, I’d love to have more control over my breakfast, as should you. It sets the tone and your metabolism for the day.

Luckily, there are ways to make a healthy, filling breakfast possible without having to embrace other aspects of the am, like leaving the comfort of your bed, for instance. Taking the time to prep a meal like this three grain salad on a weekend or less busy evening is one. The grains – quinoa, steel cut oats, and millet – can last several days in the fridge without turning to mush on you.  They’re toasted, simmered with ginger, then mixed with the zing of lemon juice and zest, the sweetness of maple syrup and the spice of nutmeg. Afterwards, it’s simple to mix in your favorite fruits and nut combination. And if you take the extra few minutes to divvy this up into small jars or containers, you can still grab your breakfast on the go.

Three Grain Breakfast Salad with Apples and Walnuts

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Makes 8 servings

1 cup steel cut oats
1 cup golden quinoa
1/2 cup millet
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and cut into large chunks
2 large lemons, zested and juiced
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups walnuts, roughly chopped and toasted
2 cups chopped apples or other seasonal fruit

Mix the oats, quinoa, and millet in a strainer and rinse for about a minute. Set aside. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the grains and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until they begin smelling toasted. Pour in 4 1/2 cups water and stir in 3/4 teaspoon salt, the ginger, and the zest of 1 lemon. Bring to boil, cover, turn down heat, and simmer for 20 minutes. Turn off heat and let sit for 5 minutes, then remove the lid and fluff with a fork. Remove the ginger.
Spread hot grains on a large baking sheet and let cool for at least half an hour. Spoon the cooled grains into a large bowl. Stir in the zest of the second lemon. In a medium bowl whisk the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil with the juice of both lemons until emulsified. Whisk in the maple syrup, yogurt, and nutmeg. Pour this into the grains and stir until well-coated. Stir in the toasted walnuts and apples. Taste and season with additional salt, if necessary. Refrigerate overnight; the flavors of this really come together overnight in the fridge. Then, enjoy as a ready to go breakfast multiple days of the week! Just reheat or enjoy cold.