Tag Archives: grains

chard, bean + quinoa salad w pickled golden raisins

A friend inspired this dish by telling me she had made a similar salad with her CSA haul earlier in the week. We needed to fortify our supper offerings over the weekend with more complete proteins and slow-burning carbohydrates (there were many rounds of golf to be played) and something like this salad seemed just the thing. And it was: the perfect partner to poached chicken, pan-roasted pork chops, and all by itself. The market is currently full of greens that would fit the bill for this salad. You could blanch beet greens, kale, or spinach as indicated for chard below and the result would be a marvelous salad. I have to take an extra-large sack with me to the farmers’ market on Saturdays because even one of the giant bunches of kale or chard I collect while I’m there will fit in a normal tote bag.

Most of my recipes involving chard will use the ribs. In this one, since the chard is barely wilted, I knew the stems would be too crunchy. But I urge you to take my note below seriously. Use them for another purpose! At the very least throw them into your next pot of bones or scraps to make broth. Or do something more exciting. For example, I have been dying to make Lulu Peyraud’s salt cod and chard stem gratin.  Or if you were willing to take a few extra minutes, you could chop the stems separately and add them to boiling, salted water for about 5 to 7 minutes, until they’re tender. They would make a delightful addition to the salad. In any case, try making something with them—they’re flavorful and wonderful.

Let me say that you could easily slice radishes in here, or avocado, or roasted beets (which make poor neighbors in salads, turning everything fuchsia), or serve it with hard-boiled eggs, or poached eggs, or goat cheese. Or any crumbly cheese. Instead of quinoa, you could try this with cooked lentils, or bulgar, or cooked spelt grains, farro, brown rice or wheat berries. These heartier options would probably require a more orthodox stance on dressing. (The way I put this together, with such a light grain as quinoa, didn’t really require any dressing besides the olive oil still clinging to the leaves of the Swiss chard, and the hint of vinegar from the raisins.) Variations on this salad theme—beans plus grains plus vegetables—are a summer staple. Make a double batch of this to last through the week. It’s a true chameleon at the dinner table, and a wonderful partner in the kitchen.

Chard, bean + quinoa salad w pickled golden raisins

  • 3/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 large bunch Swiss chard, roughly chopped, stems removed for another purpose
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 cup red quinoa (or black or white if that is what you have)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups drained, cooked beans (I used cannellini)
  • salt, to taste

1. In a small bowl, toss together raisins and vinegar and set aside. As you prepare the rest of the dish, stir and toss the raisins in the vinegar periodically.

2. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add Swiss chard and toss until just wilted, about 2 minutes. Add minced garlic and crushed red pepper. Continue to cook only until garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and drain and cool the mixture in a colander until it is cool enough to handle.

3. Meanwhile, rinse quinoa in a fine mesh strainer until very well rinsed. Add to a sauce pan with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until quinoa is done. This takes approximately 10 minutes. (Carefully taste quinoa to ensure it’s done.) Drain cooked quinoa in the fine mesh strainer.

4. Squeeze all the liquid you can from the drained chard. Remove to a cutting board and chop into a chiffonade. Drain any remaining vinegar from the raisins in the bowl. In a large bowl, combine the cooked chard mixture, the drained, cooked beans, the drained, pickled raisins, and the drained quinoa. Mix vigorously with a spatula; taste for salt and add more if necessary. If the salad is dry for your taste, add a drizzle of olive oil. Serve at room temperature.

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chard, butternut squash, farro + goat cheese salad

Making salad when we have turned the corner to fall is not quite the straightforward matter it is in summer. There are plenty of green tomatoes in the market this time of year, cut off before their prime. These are great for frying or pickles, but not so much for salads. There are green peppers, but no cucumbers. And the greens trend hearty—chard, kale, collards, cabbage—rather than leafy and delicate. I do think that while salads in this season present a greater challenge, there are also great rewards in combining these more substantial vegetables.

Thursday evening, faced with a potluck lunch at work and Ty’s parents coming into town, I found myself pulling out everything from my trip to the downtown CitySeed market on Wednesday. Bags of chard, squashes, arugula, pears, eggplants, apples, turnips, all rearranged themselves into a manageable chorus (heard mostly in my head) and I started cooking. The squash and chard singled themselves out for salad for the potluck.

I had farro on hand, and I do think it’s best in this type of salad, but you could also use reconstituted bulgar, wheat berries, quinoa, or another hearty grain. I love farro because it is chewy and, to me, it tastes like fall. It absorbs dressings beautifully while retaining its own character. I threw raisins into this; you could also use dried cranberries. And if you wanted, I think some diced tart apple or pear would be great in this salad as well. It’s a pattern for fall and winter salads that you can follow until spring appears, and with it tender lamb’s lettuce and Claytonia. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Chard, butternut squash, farro + goat cheese salad

  • 1 bunch (mine was 10 ounces) Swiss chard, sliced into thin ribbons
  • 3 shallots, finely sliced
  • 3 cups butternut squash, cut in 3/4-inch dice
  • 3 cups cooked farro* (you can substitute cooked quinoa or other grains)
  • 3 ounces goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • coarse salt, to taste
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 425 F. In a small bowl, mix together raisins, vinegar, honey, and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, plus about 1/4 teaspoon of coarse salt. Stir thoroughly and let it sit while you prepare the rest of the salad.

2. Line a baking sheet with parchment. In a large bowl, toss butternut squash cubes with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a generous sprinkling of coarse salt and a few grinds of pepper. Spread in a single layer on the baking sheet and place in hot oven until well browned and cooked through. Cubes should pierce easily with a knife. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool a bit.

3. Heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet until it shimmers. Add shallots and saute until golden brown. Add the ribbons of chard, and stir to coat completely with olive oil. Sprinkle with a few pinches of coarse salt. When greens have collapsed a bit and are a bright emerald green color, turn off the heat.

3. When chard, squash and farro are no longer hot, but still warm, assemble the salad. In a large bowl or serving dish, place the farro and chard mixture. Add the raisin mixture and mix very thoroughly using a large spatula or tongs. Take your time here to distribute the dressing thoroughly. Taste for seasoning and add salt or pepper, or more vinegar or olive oil if needed.

4. Add the roasted squash and combine a bit, leaving most on the top of the salad. Crumble the goat cheese over. You can hold the salad in the refrigerator overnight, or serve it right away.

* Farro is an ancient grain that you can find at Anson Mills. Used widely in Italy, you can sometimes find it in New Haven at Skappo Merkato at the corner of Orange and Crown, or at Liuzzi’s. To make farro, soak 1 1/4 cups farro overnight by covering it in 3 cups boiling water and letting it rest at least 8 hours. Then, bring to a simmer and cook for about 25 minutes until tender but still chewy and springy. (I taste it often after 25 minutes until it is done.) Drain and spread out in a colander or on a sheet tray to cool.

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roasted farro salad with basil

I know, I know. Squash ribbons? Way too precious to be practical. But hear me out. I wanted to “cook” this tender young yellow squash I had gotten from the CitySeed farmers’ market in Wooster Square in an acidic dressing, because it was so small and could really be eaten raw. And I had some extra time and used a vegetable peeler to make the paper-thin strips, which I marinated in a lemon juice and olive oil dressing. So sue me.

But, this salad is terrific without said ribbons. We ate it leftover sans ribbons for a couple of days. Or, if you have really tender squash that you’ve tasted raw and it tastes great, just dice it up and add it to the mix. I do not judge. You can put all sorts of vegetables in here as the season progresses. I would encourage it. I feel like this is one of those dishes where you can hide all manner of vegetables overflowing from your crisper after the farmers’ market. Also note that you could ribbon up a lot of squashes this way and sprinkle some herbs on them and have them on their own as a side dish as well. The citrus and salt tenderize the squash while it marinates. It’s hard to stop eating it once you get started.

Let’s talk about the roasted farro. I know, also a bit of a stretch. Not your normal supermarket fare. I ordered mine from Anson Mills and I…am…in…love. This grain is so rich and toasty and it just tastes healthy. If you cook it the way I outline below it has a gorgeous bounce to it. You have to soak it ahead and you then optimize the texture and shorten the cooking time. I put mine to soak in the morning before work, and then cooked it for 25 minutes when I got home. However, if you don’t have it on hand and don’t want to try it, follow the instructions below with another grain of your choice. Or even couscous. But I can’t promise more farro recipes aren’t going to appear here in the future. I really love this grain and I will make you love it, too.

Roasted farro salad with basil (and optional squash ribbons)

  • 1 cup (6 ounces) roasted farro (substitute cooked quinoa, barley, wheat berries, couscous, brown rice)
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped basil, packed
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion, soaked in cold water for 30 minutes and drained
  • 1 English cucumber (1/4-inch dice)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel or kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • freshly shaved parmesan or another hard cheese

1. Soak the farro in advance: Place the roasted farro in the pot you intend to cook it in later. Pour the boiling water over it and let it sit 6 – 8 hours. (I started soaking it in the morning and made the salad for supper.) After soaking, place pot directly onto stove, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Turn heat down to a bare simmer and cook 25 minutes, until grains are al dente and bouncy. (If using a substitute for farro, cook according to package directions.) Drain and cool to room temperature.

2. In a large bowl, mix the cooled farro and all the rest of the ingredients. Mix well and let stand for 30 minutes. Prepare squash ribbons if using. Serve garnished with squash ribbons. You can also shave strips of parmesan onto the salad if desired.

If doing the ribbons:

  • 1 young yellow squash (about 5″ long and 1″ diameter)
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon fleur de sel or kosher salt

1. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the squash into long, thin strips lengthwise.

2. In a bowl, combine the squash strips with the rest of the ingredients. Toss and mix well. Let rest at least 30 minutes, tossing occasionally to redistribute ingredients.

3. Serve on its own or with the salad above.

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