As much as I enjoy food writing, it’s always a joy when a recipe tasty and colorful enough to speak for itself without a lot of my accompanying verbiage.
This is one of those recipes, a bright and flavorful mixture of spicy arugula, sweet, thinly shaved fennel, chewy ancient grains, crunchy pomegranate seeds, and–delicious but not mandatory–creamy cashew cheese. It hits a lot of textures and a lot of tastes at the same time, and it’s beautiful to look at.
The ancient grain mixture you’ll see in this salad is one that I’ve been using a lot lately, for breakfasts and for lunch bowls. Amaranth isn’t my favorite grain on its own; I have to mix it with fluffier and plumper grains to really enjoy it. But, when it’s combined in that way, I actually appreciate how the superfine texture helps it to bind other grains together.
Besides, it’s always healthy to mix one’s whole grains up, as they all have different micronutrients to offer us. Variety is one of the most important features of a healthful diet. Amaranth happens to be rich in protein, calcium, and iron, and it’s also the only grain that contains Vitamin C. Some studies suggest that it may have anti-inflammatory effects as well. (1)
This salad will be perfect to serve through the fall and well into the holiday season–the pomegranate seeds help to make it look festive and taste delightfully, surprisingly sweet. To make the prep process easy, you can cook the grain mix a day in advance, and/or prepare the cashew cheese in advance.
If you’d rather not use the cashew cheese, no problem. Simply swap it for some chopped avocado, a heaping handful of shelled hemp seeds, or toasted pumpkin seeds. They’ll all add extra texture and taste to the salad.
If you do use the cashew cheese, you’ll have some leftover. This is the perfect time of year to spread it on toast and top it with some sliced figs or grapes. It’s also a perfect accompaniment to grain bowls and pastas. It’s one of my favorite, all purpose toppings, and I’m always happy to have some at home.
I hope you’ll love the salad!
While today’s post may be a little brief, I have some exciting blog changes to write about later this week, so stay tuned, and enjoy your Tuesday.
1. Silva-Sánchez C1, de la Rosa AP, León-Galván MF, de Lumen BO, de León-Rodríguez A, de Mejía EG. Amaranth may have cancer-preventing, anti-inflammatory properties. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, February 27, 2008; 56(4): 1233-40.
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I had no idea how this salad would turn out but thought it looked interesting. I made it tonight and it’s wonderful! I subbed 1/2 cup each brown rice and quinoa as I didn’t have the other grains on hand, and it was still good. The cashew cheese is absolutely incredible, tastes just as rich as dairy! Thanks for the wonderful recipes!
Oh my gosh! that is a great salad!
Hi Gena, I’m currently trying to decide which looks better – the photography on your website or the recipes! I’ve followed you here for a while but I had to leave a comment to commend you on your work. Keep it up. The world needs more people like you!