For a long time, I thought of radishes as those pesky little veggies I had to pick out of salads in restaurants. Either that, or a meaningless garnish carved into the shape of a tulip. Nothing to write home about. But now I kind of love them. I think it takes eating radishes with a little bit of butter and sea salt to learn just how great their potential is. But you can also slice them up really thinly and toss them into a grain salad. That’s what we’re doing today.
And lest you need additional convincing that radishes are not merely for amateur vegetable carvery, they also happen to offer vitamin C, folate, and potassium. They are the dieter’s friend, as they are high in roughage and water content, so you feel full faster when you eat them. On top of all this, they are spicy, crunchy, and refreshing all at once. Give them a go, why don’t you! And why not pair them with green beans?
I’ve talked about green beans and their nutrition offerings before. But in case you need a reminder, they have antioxidant and cardiovascular benefits. When blanched and immediately cooled, they retain an incredible bright green color and a nice little crunch. Perfect for a salad!
Which brings me to the grain part of the salad. I hate to admit it, but I used quinoa in this salad. I say this because quinoa is rather controversial at the moment. If you don’t already have some in your cupboard, like I did, I implore you to use a different grain such as amaranth, bulgur, or wheat berries. Maybe farro, if you like. But let’s not buy any more quinoa for a while, until the shortage in South America is no longer an issue. Quinoa’s trendiness as a super food has driven up the price so much that the very people who grow it and include it as a major staple of their diet can no longer afford it. If you *do* have quinoa in your pantry already, then go ahead and use it here. It has a fantastic texture for a salad like this, and it’s high in protein, too.
Grain salads are incredibly versatile, so use whatever grain you like and cook it until tender. Drain it if the water isn’t all absorbed, and toss in a tiny bit of olive oil to stop it from sticking. Then follow the directions below to make a delicious salad.
Grain Salad with Radishes and Green Beans (serves 2)
- 1/2 to 3/4 lb. green beans, trimmed
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp white balsamic or red wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper
- about 6-8 radishes, thinly sliced
- 1 cup cooked grains
- 1 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
- 2 oz. cubed Gouda cheese (optional)
1. Put a couple of inches of water in a large covered skillet and bring to a boil. Add the green beans and blanch for about 1-2 minutes, until just starting to get tender. Drain and either shock in a bowl of iced water, or rinse with cold water until no longer hot. Cut into 2-inch lengths.
2. While the green beans are blanching, make the dressing: whisk together the Dijon and vinegar, then add the olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Whisk everything together until a cohesive dressing forms.
3. Place the green beans, radishes, grains, and cilantro into a large bowl. Drizzle the dressing over the top and toss everything together. If the grains are still hot, put the salad in the fridge to cool off. Add the cheese before serving.