Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Greens and Grains Salad with Lemon-Thyme Vinaigrette

With Easter just around the corner and the official day of spring on the horizon, my mind has been on all things fresh, green and vibrant. And, since I am hosting our family dinner this Easter, I've been contemplating the menu. We pretty much always serve a baked ham with traditional side dishes - sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, dinner rolls, etc. But, coming up with unique vegetable side dishes seems like a challenge most years. With all of the heavier, carb-laden dishes being served, I always like to offer a dish or two that's a little lighter and has some fresh elements. This salad totally fits the bill and will look stunning on the holiday table.

What I love most about this salad is the contrast between the roasted asparagus and the fresh, crisp raw vegetables. I, also, super love the texture and chewiness of the cooked grains scattered throughout the salad. And, the simple vinaigrette is such a great compliment to all of the elements in the salad.


Use whatever grains you desire. {I utilized a small bag of a barley, rice, wholegrain oats, wheat berries and spelt blend.} Quinoa would work great. Barley or all wheat berries would be good.
I used baby spinach as the base of the salad, but any style of lettuce or mixed greens can be used.
Frozen peas {that have been thawed} can be substituted in place of the sugar snap peas if desired. And, any other green vegetable{s} of your choice can be incorporated into the salad as desired.

Serves 4 - 6



2 tablespoons olive oil
1 bunch asparagus, washed and tough ends trimmed
Kosher salt
Black pepper
3 - 4 ounces fresh baby spinach
1 cup prepared grains, cooled
1/3 large seedless cucumber, thinly sliced and cut into half moons
1 cup sugar snap peas, cut in half lengthwise on a diagonal
6 - 8 green onions, ends trimmed and cut into large pieces


1/2 cup good-quality extra virgin olive oil
2 - 3 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon white vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
Kosher salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
Leaves of 2 - 3 fresh thyme sprigs


Lemon slices, for garnish
Fresh thyme sprigs, for garnish


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread asparagus onto a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 10 minutes or until just beginning to be tender. {Do not allow to brown much and do not allow to become too soft.} Remove from oven and allow asparagus to cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, whisk together vinaigrette ingredients in a medium mixing bowl or shake vigorously in a lidded glass jar. Set aside.

Assemble salad by laying down a bed of spinach onto a large serving plate or platter. Top with spoonfuls of grains. Arrange cucumber, peas and green onions atop spinach/grains.

Garnish with lemon slices and fresh thyme sprigs.

Serve with vinaigrette.

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