Pick-a-Grain Trail Mix Salad with Honey Yogurt Dressing
As part of a project with Stonyfield and Bob’s Red Mill (two companies with high-quality products and the nicest people behind the scenes, by the way), I was recently challenged to create a salad using one of the lesser known ancient grains–think amaranth, bulgur, farro, and sorghum–and yogurt. Loving the mild, nutty flavor and hearty texture of sorghum, I started there.
When I introduce a new ingredient, I like to pair it with readily-available, familiar flavors and keep the recipe simple. I, for one, am far more likely to seek out a new ingredient when I can envision the final outcome and have everything else needed for the recipe in my pantry. Because nuts, seeds, and dried fruit provide great flavor and texture–not to mention nutrition–to all sort of salads and are easy to have on hand, I started thinking of the following “trail mix” salad.
For a slightly sweet, refreshing dressing that would unite the flavors, I used honey to balance the mild tanginess of the Greek yogurt. The hint of sweetness and light creaminess complimented the nutty grain and a variety of mix-ins. When I made another version of the salad with quinoa, and later with a blend of sorghum and quinoa, the dressing paired well with each version. Millet, bulgur and couscous would be equally delicious bases.
You may use whichever dried fruits, nuts, and seeds you have on hand, and your favorite pre-mixed bulk blend would work, too. This dressing would also be well-suited to a broccoli salad. Accordingly, feel free to incorporate chopped broccoli in place of the cabbage or greens, or add some sliced scallions, chopped parsley or mint.
As a bonus, the versatility of this recipe satisfies my fondness for flexible recipes that allow people to work with what they enjoy or have on hand. So, if you have quinoa in your cupboard, try it with quinoa first. Maybe the next time around you’ll be inspired to mix in some sorghum. We’ve enjoyed renditions of this salad as a light dinner with a side of quick bread, and I love it as a ready-to-scoop lunch. The ingredients hold up well for 4-5 days in the fridge and are easily packed for workday meals. For fun factor and a little extra crunch, popcorn croutons are a nice touch!
One cup of most dry grains yields approximately three cups after cooking. Variances will be about a half cup, more or less, so feel free to choose other grains that you enjoy or have on hand. This recipe provides an excellent framework to experiment with new grains in a tasty, familiar, and healthy way.
- 1/2 cup Stonyfield plain Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (a fruity variety is delicious; may substitute another neutral-tasting oil)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup uncooked Bob’s Red Mill sorghum (pictured) or quinoa, millet, bulgur (not a gluten-free option), or grain of choice (see notes)
- 1/2 cup mix of seeds and nuts (sunflower and pumpkin seeds, peanuts, almonds, etc.)
- 1/2 cup mix of dried fruits (chopped apricots, dried cranberries or cherries, golden raisins, etc.)
- 1 cup shredded cabbage or chopped spinach
- 1 cup diced apple (about 1 small)
- Optional: 1/2 cup crumbled feta or goat cheese and/or an extra dollop of yogurt for serving
- For the dressing: Whisk the yogurt, honey, apple cider, olive oil, and salt together in a small bowl. Take care to fully distribute the honey as it may firm up a bit when coming into contact with the cold yogurt. Cover and store in the refrigerator until ready to use. Dressing will keep in the refrigerator for up to one week.
- For the salad: Cook the grain according to the package directions. For the sorghum (which I used in the pictured version) rinse and drain, and then add to 3 cups of water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 50-60 minutes or until the grains are tender but still have a slight al dente quality to them. Drain the excess liquid. The grains may be cooked in advance, cooled slightly, and then covered and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- In a large bowl, combine the cooked grain with the remaining salad ingredients. Pour the dressing over the top, and toss to throughly coat. Enjoy immediately or cover and store in the refrigerator until ready to eat. The salad will keep 4-5 days in the fridge.
I made a version of this recipe using 1/2 cup (uncooked) each of quinoa and sorghum. The cooking times are different, so this is a little more cumbersome, but the combination is delightful and I highly recommend. For easy meals, try cooking several different grains when you have a few extra minutes. Cool, cover and store them in the fridge for combining later in this and other salads using your favorite vinaigrettes and add-ins.
I am honored to be a member of the Stonyfield Clean Plate Club. I received product or coupons for writing this post, but all opinions are my own.