Mediterranean Five-Grain Rainbow Salad
I recently read a text by Elisabeth Kirby about how our lives online can seem perfectly edited and it was very much in line with something Luise and I have been talking a lot about. In the world of blogs and instagram, it’s easy to believe that our photos are a perfect reflection of the lives we live. Please know that they are not. We are fortunate enough to work from home creating colourful vegetarian recipes that we also get to eat and take photos of. But if you zoom out from the photo there is often chaos. Elsa and Isac building castles of sofa pillows while spilling smoothies on the white carpet, Thai take-away in front of a My Little Pony cartoon on the iPad, flour spilled all over the kitchen floor, failed recipe attempts and the inevitable fights that come from working closely together with the person you love. But also all those sweet moments of falling asleep together with the kids, cooking recipes for fun and not just for work and being silly with friends.
Our photos and recipes reflect moments of creativity that balance our otherwise quite crazy and chaotic life as parents to two children. We aim to inspire, mostly by showing how gorgeous and delicious plant based food can be – like this salad! We will also keep reminding ourselves to share personal stories and photos but many times that life is best just lived.
Okey, enough rambling, let’s move on to today’s recipe! We have created this salad in collaboration with Swedish/Italian family company Zeta (see our disclosure in the bottom of this post). They are launching a new range of organic whole grain mixes and asked for our help to develop a recipe for them. Since grains can be a little colourless, they asked for a delicious recipe that looked stunning (no pressure, right). Luise and I share a deep love for Italy and Italian flavours and we truly indulged in that while creating this salad.
We presented the recipe at their press event where we also did a little talk about developing plant based recipes, combining flavours and creating food that looks as good as it tastes. One of the things we talked about was how much we like working with a variety of textures and temperatures in our recipes. Mixing cooked vegetables with raw is a very effective way to create interesting flavours, textures and colours. It was a quite interesting talk actually and I am just realising that it might be something worth including in a future blog post.
The grains add a nourishing base for this salad and they are tossed in pesto for extra flavour. We add sunchokes that we roast until they are all buttery soft and mix with thinly sliced raw, crunchy chioggia beets (aka candy cane or polka beets) and radishes. Of course we threw in some mozzarella and pine nuts (because, Italy!) and added red grapes for sweetness. All in all, it’s a real beauty of a salad and it tastes just as good as it looks. We also created this video for Zeta.
The idea of mixing chioggia beets with radishes for a colourful kick is shamelessly inspired by some of the salads in Erin Irelands instagram feed (worth checking out btw!).
Colourful Mediterranean 5-grain Salad
The recipe is also available in Swedish here.
1 bag (250 g / 1 1/2 cup) Zeta organic 5-grain mix (Farro, Barley, Kamut, Brown Rice and Oat Groats), or grains of choice
500 g / 1 lb sunchoke/jerusalem artichoke
2 chunks mozzarella di bufalo
4 polka beets (chioggia) or yellow beets, peeled
1 bunch radishes, rinsed
200 g / 7 oz red grapes, halved
20 g pine nuts, lightly toasted
2 handfuls rucola
1 bunch fresh basil
5 tbsp green pesto
2 tbsp cold-pressed olive oil
juice from 1/2 lemon
Preheat the oven to 200°C / 400°F. Rinse and brush the sunchokes (don’t bother peeling them) and cut them in 5-10 mm (1/4-inch) slices. Place the slices in a bowl, drizzle over olive oil and toss them until everything is covered in oil. Spread out the slices on a baking sheet covered with baking paper. Roast for 30-40 minutes or until soft with crispy edges. Meanwhile, cook the grains in a large sauce pan filled with salted water, following the cooking time on the package. Drain any excess water and scoop the grains back into the sauce pan. Stir together the pesto dressing and pour over the grains in the sauce pan. Make sure they are all covered and then pour the grains out onto a wide plate or salad bowl. Layer with sunchoke slices and torn mozzarella chunks. Use a mandolin (or sharp knife) to shave the polka beets and radishes very thinly and spread on top of the salad together with pine nuts, grapes, rucola and basil.
Disclosure: We wish to be as transparent as possible when it comes to sponsorships and collaborations. We have never had any ads on this site but in order to pay bills and continue doing this work that we love, we do on rare occasions accept collaborations with companies. We were compensated by Zeta for creating this recipe using some of their products. We would never work with products that we don’t believe in and their new range of whole grain-mixes felt like something that we would happily receive money to cook with as they are all organic, with short cooking times and all nutrients still intact. All words are our own and will always be.