Healthy Grain Salad

Some time ago, we visited one of our favorite restaurants of all time, Porta.  While there, we had one of the most delicious salads, the 6-minute abs (check our our blog post). And while we didn’t develop abs in 6 minutes, this salad sure made us feel as though we were on the right path to getting them.  So, as promised, we’ve decided to re-make the salad and share it.

One of the things we loved so much about this salad is the grains.  The salad used grains that we usually don’t cook with.  These grains have so many health benefits.  The first grain we used was Bulgar Wheat. It is lowfat, high in vitamins and antioxidants, and rich in plant-based proteins.  We also used farro.  Farro is an ancient grain that is mostly used in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes.  Farro is an excellent source of fiber and protein.  Now lentils, we are use to, so it was nice to have a bit a familiarity while putting this salad together.  Lentils are the almighty grain.  They provide calcium, potasium, zinc, protein, dietary fibers… you name it, lentils have it.

To add a little boost of flavor, we decided to use chicken stock to cook the grains.  We didn’t want to use all chicken stock because of the sodium, so we cut the cooking liquid in half- 1/2 water and 1/2 stock.  It really gave the grains the extra flavor bomb it needed.

All of these grains are fast cooking and took only 15 minutes.  Our suggestion would be to use 2 or 3 pots so that you aren’t standing around for 45 minutes waiting for all three grains to finish.  We could’ve saved our selves quite a bit of time had we taken our own advice.

While the grains cook, throw some chickpeas sprinkled with spices into the oven to crisp them up.  They kind of take the place of the croutons in a regular salad, but so much healthier.  Don’t worry about missing out on that crunch, because these babies provide that same crunchy texture without the carbs.

Now, I’m not sure we’ve ever had watercress before that heavenly trip to Porta.  But, it has been a staple in our kitchen ever since.  Watergress is in the same family as arugula, kale, and brocolli, so you can just imagine it’s health benefits.  Like arugula, watercress gives off a slight peppery flavor.

Once all the grains finished cooking and the watercress was washed, it was time for the fun part.  The 6 minute eggs.  These eggs are the perfect addition to so many dishes and cook seriously quick. Yup, you guessed it… 6 minutes!  The only  pain in the neck is peeling them, especially if you are perfectionists like us!

While the eggs were cooking, we whipped up some Calabrian vinaigrette dressing for the salad. This dressing is super delicious and simple.  Just some olive oil and vinegar combined with spices and you’ve got yourself  an amazing vinaigrette!

After combining all your grains and tossing in the watercress, the final step is to top with your crunchy baked chick-peas, the 6 minute eggs and a drizzle of the vinaigrette.  The only thing left is to add a generous heap to your plate and get your health on!!

Healthy Grain Salad

  • Yield: 4-6
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup farro
  • 1 cup bulgar wheat
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 1-2 bunches watercress
  • 4 eggs
  • 3.5 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cans drained chickpeas
  • olive oil
  • paprika
  • chili powder
  • salt
  • pepper

Instructions

  1. Start with three medium sized stove top sauce pans:

    Pot #1: bring 1 cup water, 1 cup chicken stock, and 1 cup farro to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer covered for 15 minutes.

    Pot # 2: bring 1 cup water and 1 cup chicken stock to a boil. Add 1 cup bulgar wheat. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

    Pot # 3: bring 1.5 cups water, 1.5 cups chicken stock, and 1 cup lentils to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for 15 minutes.

  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  3. Spread drained chickpeas on a baking sheet and toss with olive oil, salt, paprika, and chili powder. Transfer to preheated oven and bake until chickpeas become crispy (about 30 minutes).

  4. Wash watercress and set aside to dry.

  5. In the meantime, prepare the dressing. Combine chili powder, salt, and pepper with olive oil. Add in red wine vinegar (the ratio should be 2:1). Set aside.

  6. For 6 minute eggs: prepare an ice bath and set it next to your stovetop. Bring 1 quart water to a boil. Carefully drop eggs into boiling water and cook for 6 minutes. Transfer eggs to an ice bath. Once cooled, peel.

  7. Assemble the salad: lay grains at the bottom of the bowl in 3 vertical rows (pictured above). Toss in watercress and top with chili olive oil dressing. Toss grains and watercress until they are well coated in dressing.

  8. Top with crispy chickpeas and 6 minute eggs.