Thursday, April 4, 2013

Harvest Grains & Spinach Salad w/ Basil Balsamic Dressing

I reemember my frist trip to Trader Joe's when it opened here in Salt Lake. I was so excited and couldn't wait to use all cool stuff I brought home. I used most everything right away, but there sat my little bag of Harvest Grains, unused.  I wanted to find the perfect recipe to use them in but couldn't ever decide.  Finally this salad spoke to me and it WAS the perfect dish for those little grains.  Of course one of my favorite additions is the basil in the dressing, but the combination of everything together is unique and delicious!

Harvest Grains & Spinach Salad with Basil Balsamic Dressing
1/2 lb. harvest grains blend-about 1 1/4 cups (I got mine from Trader Joe's, has yellow lentils, red quinoa, orzo, baby garbanzo beans,  and Israeli couscous.)
1 Tbsp. butter or olive oil
1 3/4 cups organic chicken broth (or water)
1/4 cup Sun-dried Tomatoes
2 cups baby spinach leaves, chopped
1/4 cup raw cashews, lightly toasted
2 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
Basil Balsamic Dressing (below)

for the dressing:
1/4 cup finely diced onion
1 cup tightly packed basil leaves
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp salt
Bring 1 3/4 cups  broth or water to a boil.  Add butter/oil and 1 1/4 cups of the grains blend.  Bring back to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered for 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. 
In the meantime, put tomatoes in a small saucepot and add water until just covered.  Boil 5 minutes and cool.  Chop and set aside.
Prepare dressing by adding ingredients into a blender and whiz until smooth.
If desired, toast cashews in a small frying pan over medium heat about 3-4 minutes.
Once grains have cooled, add chopped spinach, sun-dried tomatoes and cashews.  Pour some dressing over the salad and toss.  Add more as necessary.  top with crumbled goat cheese.
SOURCE: Salad adapted from Cookin' Canuck, dressing from What's Gabby Cooking.

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