Tuesday, April 1, 2014

three grain kale & kumquat salad

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I love looking back through past posts to see what I was inspired by each season - it gives me a chance to take note patterns and ingredients that I am drawn too.  For example, during the late winter, early spring I focus a lot on breakfast, hearty grain & greens based salads, spring rolls and citrus along with loads of desserts. This year you will find the same pattern in the archives; breakfast, salad, spring rolls, citrus and sweets - I may have mentioned in a recent post I'm pretty predictable. I have always thought of this time of year as very transitional relating to locally sourced food - most of our Winter Markets are closing as they need to focus their energy on the upcoming growing season, so I find myself scouring the supermarkets for seasonal fare. Citrus season is upon us and I plan to take full advantage of this beautiful season- starting with these little orange, full of happiness kumquats.

Grains are always in season and super versatile. There are so many unique grains on the market readily available in major stores - my current favorites are Spelt Berries, Red Quinoa & Cracked Freekeh. This salad can easily be made with  Rye Berries, Farro, Wild Rice or any combination of hearty grains you have on hand.
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When sauteed the kumquats become super sweet and a whole less bitter- the skin is totally edible making prep a breeze, just make sure you remove the seeds. About halfway through the week I was a little tired of "just" a grain bowl for lunch, I love transforming leftovers into something a little different each day. Adding the salad to a homemade tomato soup base totally transformed this dish, I also baked up a few little fritters by pulsing the salad in a food processor with a bit of flour & flax egg and coated the outside with panko bread crumbs prior to baking- they were so good!

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This winter has been so harsh and long, for the past few years we have been graced with mild winters and early springs, this year, it feels as if Spring will never come. I day dream about wandering throughout the garden, spring cleaning the yard for summer BBQ's & fires, but with 2 feet of snow still piled up in the backyard it looks like I will be daydreaming for a bit longer!

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I am counting down the days until I am able to ride my bike to the farmers market, get my hands dirty on a daily basis in the garden and day dream early in the morning with my cup of tea tucked away in the corner of my garden taking in the sounds and smells of all that is growing and working in the garden - I so miss those days & mornings!
Three Grain Kale & Kumquat Salad
6 - 8 servings

you will need:
1 cup Spelt berries + 3 cups water
1/4 cup Red Quinoa, rinsed well
1/2 cup cracked Freekeh
1 cup water
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cups Kumquats sliced in half & seeded
4 cups Kale, stems removed & leaves chopped
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 large shallot, diced
 1 - 14oz can Lentils or white beans, drained
3 -4 tbsp maple bourbon sherry or good balsamic
3 - 4 tbsp pure maple syrup
salt to taste

Bring 1 1/2 cups of water to a boil in a small sauce pan, add spelt berries and cover reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 45 minutes, drain and set spelt berries aside in a large bowl.

To the same sauce pan bring 1 cup water, rinsed quinoa & cracked freekeh to a oil, cover and reduce heat to a simmer- cook for 10 minutes, turn off heat and allow quinoa/freekeh to steam in the covered pan for an additional 5 minutes.

In a large saute pan heat olive oil over medium heat- saute kumquats, garlic and shallot until fragrant and kumquats begin to slightly caramelize on the outside. Add kale and saute until kale softens . Reduce heat to low, stir in lentils/white beans, grains, maple bourbon sherry , maple syrup , salt and pepitas. Turn off heat and transfer salad to the large bowl.

Serve while still warm, room temp or straight from the fridge!

Salad will keep for up to a week.



  1. I totally follow patterns during the seasons too - I love it!! This salad looks so good. I can't wait to try!

  2. Biking to the farmers market sounds divine :) My grandma used to have a kumquat tree in her house and the memories are very special to me. Their sour insides and sweet rind :) This salad looks hearty and tasty!!

    1. I cannot wait to dig my bike out! The tree must have been so pretty, the leaves are pretty gorgeous too - I agree the combo of sweet and sour is a match made in heaven!

  3. It's almost barely warm enough here to go outside without a jacket, but that of course, is debatable on a daily basis. This sounds lovely and vibrant. I cannot wait to give it a try.

    1. Funny you mention that, yesterday I saw multiple people in tank tops walking outside and it was only 50 degrees!

  4. wow this looks so good - especially the kumquats. I have not seen these in my grocery - must keep my eye out for them

  5. I don't think I've ever tried kumquats - I thought those were orange tomatoes in your pictures at first! I did recently discover freekeh though and I love it as a different option for grain based salads! This looks like a tasty lunch!

    1. Isn't awesome discovering a new grain! Find yourself some kumquats, you definitely have to at least try them once :)

  6. I am a big a fan of delicious kumquats, they are so juicy!
    So this salad is especially enticing :D

    Choc Chip Uru

  7. You always inspire me to get more creative with my weeknight meals- and this is no exception. I love how you transform a simple grain salad into something beautiful! xox

    1. Awww thanks Gabby- I love transforming leftovers into something a bit different!

  8. I have tried a lot of exotic foods, never tried kumquat though. I bumped in to it on my fav webshop, but didn't know how to use it. Using it as a salad, whipped up with fresh veggies, sounds like a good choice. Thanks for sharing!

    1. So amazing! I love how they lose a bit of their bitterness when cooked a bit, I am not a huge fan of them raw but loved them cooked and added to savory dishes!


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