FoodStory

Writing about what feeds me.

[Take This To Your Next Potluck]

After making this Granissimo Fiesta Salad twice, I just had to share.  It’s on the back of this Granissimo brand, 5-grain organic multigrain blend of black quinoa royal, millet, amaranth, red lentils and brown long grain rice.  I am going to try it again soon by recreating the blend, but sans millet and amaranth though.

Ingredients

1 cup of Granissimo
2 3/4 cups of vegetable broth
1 cup of chopped, fresh cilantro or parsley
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/2 orange pepper, diced
1/2 red pepper, diced
1 cup of corn
1/2 cup of sliced, toasted almonds
1/2 cup of raisins
3 Tbl olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon or lime
3 Tbl white balsamic vinegar
S & P to taste

Directions

In a medium pot, cook Granissimo in broth until almost all the liquid is absorbed (recommend bringing to a boil, reducing heat and simmering uncovered approx. 20-22 minutes).  Set aside and let cool to room temperature.  In a salad bowl, mix the oil, lemon or lime juice and vinegar.  Add all the ingredients and mix (including the cooled cooked Granissimo).  Refrigerate until time to serve.

The recipe above is written verbatim, but let me provide a few modifications that I have already tried and found out work just fine:

1st Attempt
– used about 3 minced cloves of garlic (cause I LOVE garlic!)
– did not have/use orange pepper or corn
– used lime and about 2 Tbl regular balsamic
– did NOT add S & P since broth provided enough seasoning

2nd Attempt
– substituted water for broth
– used more than one clove of garlic (of course!)
– used yellow pepper in lieu or orange
– used lime and  about 2 Tbl regular balsamic
– added S & P since broth was NOT used this time
– added approx. 1 cup garbanzo beans (chick peas)

Verdict:
Really fresh, light, tangy and tasty.  Excellent accompaniment to grilled fish, such as salmon (I imagine; haven’t tried it yet).  I would kind of prefer not using broth so I can control the taste of the entire mixture.  Yellow or orange or both types of peppers are just fine.  Red peppers definitely provide great flavor and color.

* Be careful not to overcook quinoa/blend
* add ingredients in proportion to each other (e.g. depending on the size of the red onion, you may only want to use only 1/2 of one or even less than that)
* for more crunch, chop/slice toasted whole almonds yourself
* regular balsamic vinegar works fine, but keep in mind that it is not as mild in flavor as white balsamic – hence the reason I used less of it
* DEFINITELY use cilantro… unless you’re like these people. =P

UPDATE/REVISIT:

03 August 2013

Fiesta Salad “Wrap” – photo by Alan Kayanan
As  “resident chef” of ReSourceArts, I was tasked with the responsibility of preparing a healthy, easy-to-eat (cold) lunch for the 2nd DC Artist Exchange Panel in Brookland.  I decided to do lettuce “wraps” using the fiesta salad, topped with generous slices of avocado.   It was a hit despite the following:

– Making large quantities of this dish can be difficult for the mixing and portioning process.  In the future, I recommend (when catering) making/mixing one small batch (i.e. 2 cups of grains/double the above recipe) at a time and then combining.

– After several attempts at creating my own version of the Granissimo mix, I discovered that
a) If using brown rice, it needs to be cooked first and the other grains added later OR cooked separately
b) Cooking in broth may lend a darker, curry-like color to the grains mix, especially if using vegetable broth.
c) It would be worth a shot to JUST use every grain BESIDES the brown rice.  Instead, double the quinoa or use one part white quinoa and one part black/red quinoa.  Especially if you return to the lettuce “wrap” concept, I think a fluffier, lighter salad would have a much more appealing consistency.

This whole melange of flavors benefits, as opposed to, suffers from using lots of ingredients.  So, for me, I go crazy all the time now: ALL different colors of peppers – yellow, orange, red; throw in the corn, the chickpeas; hand-chop roasted almonds and save some more to throw on top before serving if you choose.  Make a separate version sans cilantro if you’re catering, but bring some chopped cilantro to garnish just in case.  I have yet to see this dish not be a favorite among different crowds and different events, every time! =)

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This entry was posted on February 21, 2012 by in Culinary, Vegetarian and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , .
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