pistacio & date ancient grain salad
I picked up an 'Ancient Grain' mix from the pick-and-mix section at Pak-n-Save the other day. Which, by the way, has a very impressive grain, seed and nut selection! Getting giddy from all the choices, I opted for this irresistible "Ancient Grain" combo of black, red and white quinoa, and amaranth. I've touted the benefits of quinoa before, but what about amaranth? It's super rich in calcium (second only to Teff) and is also high in iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. It is about 14% protein too!
So what evolved was a delicious warm salad spiked with beautiful middle eastern flavours and loads of greens. Gluten free, plant-based, vegan and full of flavour - here it is. Oh man it was delicious and I am definitely making it again!:
In the pan (check the method below for the order of things)
1 cup uncooked Ancient Grain (quinoa & amaranth) mix, rinsed well. Just use Quinoa if you can't find the mix!
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 3/4 cups water
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 small onion, diced
1 small bunch Asparagus
2 zucchini's sliced lengthways with a peeler
Into a bowl:
1 cup cooked brown lentils, drained and rinsed (I used a can)
4 good handfuls of baby spinach or kale
1/2 cup pitted dates, roughly chopped
1/3 cup toasted pistachio nuts, coarsely chopped
Fresh parsley and coriander, for garnish
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of one small lemon
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 rounded tablespoon sumac
In a wide pot, toast the ancient grain mix over medium heat for 3 minutes or so until the grains are dry and lightly toasted. Add the cumin and fennel seeds and toast another minute, then add water and salt. Bring to a rolling boil, stir, then reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Cook for 20 minutes or until all of the water is absorbed and grains are tender. Use a fork to fluff, cover the pot, and set aside for 5 minutes.
While quinoa is cooking, lightly pan fry the onion in a bit of coconut oil. Add asparagus and zucchini and quickly fry until cooked.
In a bowl, toss the lentils, spinach, dates and pistachios. Add the cooked ancient grain mix and pan fried veggies, mix well and drizzle the dressing over. Toss to coat completely.
Transfer to a large serving bowl or divide among serving plates. Garnish with parsley and coriander and serve warm.
Serves 2 as dinner or 4 as a side
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