I really don’t like to think of Labor Day Weekend as the end of summer. Not only is it still hot and humid in NY, but summer doesn’t officially end until September 22nd. So I’m saying NO to the end of the summer and whipping up a delicious and refreshing summery grain salad. Even if you don’t agree with my sentiment, you will definitely want to make this Lemony Grain Salad with Feta & Almond to accompany your main dishes at this weekend’s backyard BBQ.
To create this healthy salad, I used Trader Joe’s Harvest Blend, which is a combination of Israeli couscous, orzo, baby garbanzo beans and red quinoa. Don’t live near a Trader Joe’s? No problem. Use any other dry grain blend that you can find at your local supermarket and cook it according to the package directions. I like to use a variety of grains for different textures and nutrients. I also added some shredded carrots, chopped cucumber and slivered almonds for a little crunch. Lastly, the saltiness of the feta cheese nicely balances the tart lemony dressing. I love how all of these flavors came together, and it’s the perfect lighter side dish for anyone who doesn’t want to feel overly full at the end of the BBQ.
Makes 4-6 servings (a serving is about 1/2 cup)
2.5 cups water
1.5 cups Trader Joe’s Harvest Blend (or any other blend of dry grains)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup cucumber, chopped into 1-inch pieces
2 carrots, washed and shredded (I used a peeler to peel them into thin shreds)
1/2 cup crumbled Feta cheese
1/4 cup unsalted slivered almonds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
- Bring the water to a boil. Once it’s boiling, add the grains to the water. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Remove from heat and set aside in a large bowl to cool.
- While the grains are cooling, make the dressing. Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice and honey. Season with salt and pepper
- Once the grains have cooled (they can be luke warm), add the cucumber, carrots, almonds, feta cheese, salt and pepper to the bowl. Pour in the dressing and stir to mix. Eat immediately or refrigerate for later.