grain and mâche salad with almonds, feta, and citrus vinaigrette
If it wasn’t obvious already, I sort of fell out of the habit of blogging. Work got busy, I got married…I could blame those things, but basically I just stopped doing it! I don’t feel guilty about it (though I do miss it!), nor will I make any specific promises as to my renewed commitment to blogging regularly or anything. All I really know at this point is that I still cook, I still like to preserve a record of recipes we’ve tried and enjoyed, and I felt like blogging about this recipe.
We’re always on the lookout for good lunch salads, particularly ones with a nice balance of greens and grains as well as some tasty mix-ins. When I came across the idea of this salad on Serious Eats, I couldn’t help but lust after the concept, though we made a couple little changes in the execution. We’ve been pleased enough with the result that it’s joined our repertoire!
This recipe makes enough salad for four lunch portions, or two dinner-sized salads. We’ve been enjoying making it in the afternoon on the weekends, and then saving a bit for Monday’s lunch at work. It makes lunch a bright spot in my day, and it’s pretty flexible. The citrusy dressing gives it a nice punch, while the cheese, avocado and nuts make it filling enough to get you through an afternoon (though, some chunks of chicken or crumbled bacon, or even a little hard boiled egg wouldn’t go amiss if you’re looking to bulk it up with more protein). You can also vary the grains or greens according to your tastes or pantry. I love mâche, but another leafy green would certainly work in its place (baby spinach, pea shoots, arugula, or the original recipe suggested watercress). Same goes for the grains– I used pearl couscous here because that’s what I had, but it’s great with quinoa or farro. You could swap the citrus (maybe meyer lemon instead of the lime), go for pistachios instead of almonds, maybe add some cucumber, or any number of other little switches. One way or another, I hope you enjoy it!
Pearl Couscous and Mâche Salad with Almonds, Feta, and Citrus Vinaigrette
Adapted from Serious Eats
1 cup farro, pearl couscous, or quinoa
For the dressing:
juice of 1 lime
2 T orange juice (freshly squeezed from about half an orange, or borrowed from can of mandarin oranges, only if they’re canned in juice)
1 T honey
1 tsp soy sauce
6 T canola oil
salt and pepper
3 handfuls mâche (can sub baby spinach or arugula)
1/3 cup sliced almonds
1/3 cup crumbled feta
about 1/4 cup mandarin orange slices (you can supreme a fresh one if you’re ambitious)
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/2 avocado, sliced
Optional: leftover shredded chicken or even some crumbled bacon
Cook grain according to package directions. Remove from heat, drain if necessary, and leave to cool.
Meanwhile, combine citrus juices, honey, and soy sauce in a glass measuring cup or shaker jar. Stream in oil and whisk or shake to combine, then season with salt and pepper. Toss 2 T of this dressing with the cooling grains, and spread them on your serving plate for presentation, or reserve if you prefer to toss them with the the remaining ingredients in the next step.
In a medium bowl, toss greens, almonds, feta, oranges, red onion, and avocado with 3 T of dressing. To serve, either plate the dressed greens atop the bed of grains on the serving platter, or add the grains to the bowl and toss it all together. If desired, add another sprinkle of almonds or feta for presentation.