Ah, summer. I’m not a fan of the sticky, sweaty weather, but I do quite enjoy the food out there! I was inspired this week to make a whole grain salad filled with local veggies, particularly because my boyfriend isn’t here to complain about eating it. As I wandered around the farmers’ market, I started to make note of all the colors that I could mix in- red tomatoes, yellow squash, orange beets, green beet tops (not the first time I’ve made use of those!). It started to look like a sunset!
So, I figured that these flavors would go well together roasted and mixed in with a whole grain. I chose buckwheat groats that I found in the bulk section of Whole Foods, because why not? Well, I’ll tell you why not (it was not a good spontaneous choice). I think I overcooked them, but they were grainy and mushy at the same time. Not ideal. Next time I make this meal, I will definitely choose another grain, like whole wheat couscous or bulgar wheat, either of which would be completely chewy and delectable with these vegetables. It’s pretty though!
Of course, I had to add cheese. Feta was my first choice because both the flavor and the grainy texture would blend in well with a whole grain and bite-sized veggies. I was at least right about that one! Yum. I also made a lemon vinaigrette to toss with the grains, which was a good choice to balance out the richness of the grain, the saltiness of the cheese, and the bittersweetness of the vegetables.
I only made about 1/3 cup of the dressing, which was plenty when the salad was hot. However, if you want to eat this salad cold, which is a totally reasonable and delicious option, I would recommend adding more after the salad cools, as cold dulls flavor. All in all, it was a delicious and healthy meal to eat for lunch all week!
- 1 1/2 cups whole grain (i.e. couscous, pasta, bulgar, brown rice)
- 1 cup each yellow squash, tomatoes, orange beets, and beet greens, chopped to bite-size
- 1/2 cup olive oil, divided
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp grainy mustard
- 4 oz crumbled feta, plus more for topping if desired
- Freshly ground pepper
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Prepare the whole grains to just al dente according to package directions. Chop the vegetables.
- Toss the beets and squash with olive oil, salt, and pepper and spread in a single layer on a lined sheet pan. Roast for 20-25 minutes.
- When the grains are done and cooling, stir the vegetables and add in the tomatoes and greens. Roast for another 5 minutes. Remove and let cool slightly.
- Meanwhile, whisk together 1/4 cup olive oil, lemon juice, and mustard with salt and pepper to taste.
- Mix the grains, vegetables, cheese, and vinaigrette. Add more vinaigrette and cheese, if desired, for serving.