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by on February 5th, 2014

Mediterranean Grain Salad

Maybe there’s a grain here you haven’t tried.

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We are losing one of my favorite specialty stores here in The Woodlands. As of March, Hubble and Hudson will be no more. That has always been my go to place to find unusual ingredients and browse their produce section that has/had amazing fresh products. We are getting a Whole Foods here so I can’t wait to see what I can find there.

Just because I obsess over finding new products to try doesn’t mean you have to. This recipe started off to be just a red quinoa salad and while shopping at Trader Joe’s I came upon this Harvest Grains Blend and thought the salad would be more interesting with a blend of different grains. This Harvest Grains Blend is a savory blend of Israeli style couscous, orzo, baby garbanzo beans and red quinoa. So if you can’t find this blend of grains then pick a couple or even just one to make this Mediterranean Salad.

Quinoa (keen-wah) is one of the grains in this mix you may not have tried yet. It is a grain-like (more of a seed) from the goosefoot plant.  This little “seed” has a long history and if you want to more more about it to to wikpedia and read about it. It has been grown for around 5000 years in the Andes mountains.

There also seems to be a controversy over quinoa because the prices have tripled for the farmer’s selling their crops and they choose to feed their families now on wheat and rice instead of the quinoa that has been part of their diets for hundreds/thousands of years.

If you are looking for a different salad to take to a gathering, try this. I loved the different grains and the look and texture it gave the salad.

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I still had a little of my oil I bought in France left.

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The baby garbanzo beans or the yellow things that look like split peas.

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This is the one I bought from Trader Joe’s. I should have used just a half a package because it made enough to feed an army.

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Mediterranean Grain Salad

1 small jar kalamata olives, about 3/4 cup
2 medium tomatoes, chopped (I used red and yellow)
1 cucumber, chopped in 1/2″ cubes
4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 medium red onion, chopped
1-2 lemons, zested and juiced
1/3-1/2 c. olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 pkg. Harvest Grain Blend (or orzo, baby garbonza, quinoa or couscous

Cook the grain according to package directions. Drain in colander and cool a few minutes.  I usually add the olive oil (or some of it) just so the grain doesn’t start sticking together. After it has cooled almost to room temperature add the tomatoes, cucumber, onion and feta cheese.

Add the zest from the lemon and lemon juice and the rest of the oil or just enough of it to totally dress the salad.  Salt and pepper to taste.

*Note: You can add avocado to this also and parsley would add a lot of color if you have some on hand.

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