Radish + Hazelnut Grain Salad

This is the type of meal situation that’s my bread and butter. It’s the sort of thing I’ll bring to a potluck or picnic-style situation, and it makes a routine visit in our regular meals much the same way tacos do – i.e. same concept, different ingredients depending on what’s on hand and seasonal. Over the years, I’ve also found that William usually takes some of the leftovers for his work lunch the next day – which only happens if it meets his slightly different than mine taste-bud standards. It also helps when I add raisins, which in our house grace many a main dish. We are both lifelong raisin affectionados. :)

While everything is fairly interchangeable here, you’ll note I only list gluten-free grains as options. I don’t tend to be outright against gluten-containing grains for those that can tolerate them, but many individuals tend to be at least slightly sensitive – especially those with pre-existing autoimmune conditions (since inflammation in the gut significantly contributes and/or is part of the cause, and gluten is inflammatory to everyone to a certain degree). I also find that many individuals running long miles, particularly in the summer heat, suffer from more achy tummy – not hungry – can’t tolerate lots of foods symptoms. That’s because these kind of long or hard workouts in stressful physical conditions contribute to damage of the endothelial tissue in the gut, which by design is very thin (one cell thick!) to allow for absorption. If you eat gluten and wheat products regularly, purchase a few non-gluten grains next time you’re out shopping. And if you do avoid wheat and gluten, try to find one or two new to you or haven’t tried in a while gf grains next time. Dietary diversity is also imperative for good long-term gut health.

One last note I’ll make here is that I left out a protein-rich ingredient to this. If you tend to follow a vegan or vegetarian way of eating, and especially if you’re active, please add one to your meal. You can read more here about the importance of protein, particularly for plant-based, active folks. Often I’ll add cooked beans such as garbanzos to make this type of salad a one-dish situation, but a side of seasoned/baked/grilled tempeh or tofu, grilled salmon or similar, a couple fried eggs, or whatever else is your protein of choice will round this out nicely into a true meal. Enjoy!

Radish + Hazelnut Grain Salad, serves 4
1 cup mixed grains (like millet, quinoa, buckwheat or any combination of these)
1 onion, thinly sliced
a large handful of baby spinach or kale leaves
1 cup radishes, thinly sliced
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup dried apricots, sliced into small pieces
1 cup parsley leaves, minced
1 cup mint and / or basil, minced
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 Tbs. white wine or raw apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted
salt and pepper to taste

  1. Place the grains in a medium saucepan and add 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and then cover. Cook for 20-25 minutes until the water is absorbed, and then set aside to cool slightly.
  2. While the grains are cooking, saute the thinly sliced onions in a skillet with a little of the olive oil. Cook them until they are soft and translucent, bordering on being caramelized. Pull off the heat and transfer them to a large serving bowl.
  3. Tear or slice the spinach or kale leaves into small pieces and then pile them on top of the the onions.
  4. Add the slightly still warm cooked grains to the mixing bowl on top of the greens. Stir through to wilt them slightly. Then mix in the radishes, dried fruit, and herbs.
  5. Add in the olive oil and vinegar, 1 Tablespoon of each at a time, and stir through. Add additional as needed to make it the right consistency for you, i.e. add more oil and vinegar if you like a wetter mixture. Also taste as you go, since you might need more vinegar to bring a little more acid flavor for balance. Salt and pepper to taste at this time as well. You might need up to 3/4-1 tsp of salt and 1/8-1/4 tsp. black pepper.
  6. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

strawberry, asparagus + radish flatbread

strawberry, asparagus + radish flatbread

 

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It started with my annual, have you tried asparagus before? questioning at the high school garden. To all the new students who told me they won’t eat asparagus, I brought them over to the plants, cut off a few stalks, snapped them into smallish pieces, and handed them over.

This always works.

I love converting asparagus haters. Fresh-off-the-plant raw asparagus is the epitome of what spring tastes like. It’s not tough or bitter or slightly limp like some of us have grown used to. It’s alive and green and has a flavor that even vegetable-avoiding high school students can get behind.

 

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Since then, we’ve been eating a few asparagus-filled meals on repeat.

 

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The first is this strawberry, asparagus + radish flatbread. It is perfect for a light meal or can be paired with others for more of a tapa-style selection. The Recipe Redux theme this month is tapas and small bites, so check out the link-up below for more ideas, if you’ve the mind. William and I have tended to make two of these flatbreads at a time, eat one for dinner, and then the other for lunch leftovers the next day. I like mine drizzled with a little balsamic vinegar and he leaves his as is. We love them.

 

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The other asparagus dinners we’ve been enjoying and sharing with friends this spring include a quick sauté of asparagus, mushrooms, zucchini, and peas over Lindsey’s chickpea mash and then again with her vegan chickpea alfredo pasta, which we serve with asparagus, peas, and any number of other spring vegetables.

 

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Strawberry, Asparagus + Radish Flatbread, makes 2

1 1/3 cups garbanzo bean flour

2/3 cups brown rice flour, plus more for dusting

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

1/2-2/3 cup water

1 bunch asparagus, chopped into 2-inch pieces

1 bunch radishes, thinly sliced

juice from 1/2 lemon, or more to taste

olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbs. raw honey

1 lb. strawberries, sliced

1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

balsamic vinegar, to drizzle, optional

  • Mix the flours, oil, baking powder, salt, and water. Add enough water to make a dough that can be handled and rolled. Then allow the mixture to rest for about 10 minutes. Divide it in two, and roll out one of the flatbreads on a floured work surface. Transfer to a baking pan or pizza dish and with a pastry brush or your fingers, coat the dough with a small amount of olive oil.
  • In a large bowl, toss the asparagus, radish slices, lemon juice, and garlic.
  • Then top the dough with half the asparagus mixture and bake at 400 degrees F for about 16 minutes. Without removing from the oven, add half the sliced strawberries, a handful of parsley, and a drizzle of honey, and then bake for an additional 3-4 minutes, just to warm the ingredients.
  • Remove from the oven, drizzle with a small amount of balsamic, if desired, slice and serve.
  • Repeat with the remaining dough and ingredients.

Sweet + Tangy Quick Pickled-Radishes

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Currently, I’m smack in the middle of a sweet and tangy quick-pickle phase and thin slices of vinegary vegetables have been going on everything. Seriously, everything. Falafel, rainbow salad, beet and lentil flatbreads, as a taco topping, in lieu of salad dressing, on quick grain and lentil leftover jumbles, and even at a super fancy restaurant meal last week for my birthday.

 

I began this phase by pickling a batch of onions but have had radishes in the vegetable bin non-stop since March. Radishes are one of the quickest, easiest, and earliest of spring vegetables to grow and their vibrant parade of reds, pinks, and neon purples have had me purchasing a bunch each week when waiting for my own to grow. I had been tossing them into just about everything and threw a few thin slices into the quick-pickle jar one day. If I ever had enough beets around for long enough, I’d quick-pickle them as well and am planning to hop on over to pickling creamy spring turnips next because all the spring root vegetables and a jar of slightly sweetly spiced vinegar is a quick and definite thing!

 

Have I convinced you yet?  If not, come on over and I’ll hand you a jar and fork and change your mind forever. But please, don’t even think about smelling my breath–It’s vinegary!

 

The Recipe Redux challenged us to a DIY recipe this month and I’m especilly excited about these quick-pickles because William has gotten on board and he is was not a pickled-anything fan. They are super easy to make and can liven up almost any sort of dish (I’m making fava burgers next–you better believe these are going all up on them!) If you’ve got a few minutes, some sort of vegetable (of the root variety preferred) and vinegar, you’ve got yourself quick-pickles.

 

Okay, I’ll stop chattering now. But only because I’ve got another batch of these to make.

 

For a whole host of other DIY recipes like pizza/pasta sauce version I or version II, an assortment of flavorful dressings, infused oil, vinegar (!), and a must-try pot of creamy black beans, etc., check out the recipe page–I’ve updated it.

 

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Quick-Pickled Radishes

1 1/2 cups apple cider or rice vinegar

3 Tbs. sugar

2 tsp. salt

1-2 bay leaves

3 whole cloves

4 black peppercorns

1 bunch radishes, thinly sliced

  • Pour  all the ingredients save the radishes into a medium-size pot and stir to dissolve salt and sugar while bringing to a boil.
  • Once the liquid boils, remove from heat and toss in the radish slices.
  • Allow to cool slightly and then transfer to a jar and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or until you are ready to eat. They should last for up to a week, if not used right away.