Today, I bring you the most hippie salad I've ever made. In full disclosure, no, Birkenstock is not sponsoring this post.
Mostly raw, vegan, and gluten free, this is the salad any kombucha guzzling, hybrid driving, obsessively recycling, yoga enthusiast would dream of.....I think I just described myself.
Alas, this salad is so flavorful and satisfying with it's citrusy and spicy tahini dressing, fluffy sprouts and crunchy veggies that you'll soon forget all that and just enjoy it.
The idea of this salad prompted my first experiment with DIY sprouted grains. Sprouted grains are a regular at our house in the form of Ezekiel bread, but I had yet to make them myself. I was initially intimidated, but then I realized I've already tackled ricotta, goat cheese, pizza crust, beer and yogurt, so might as well jump head first into the world of sprouting grains!
Why sprout grains in the first place. Essentially, sprouting mimics the process of a seeds germination into a plant. This greatly increases nutrient bioavailability, mainly by breaking down a compound called phytic acid. Soaking and sprouting does this by increasing the activity of phytase, the enzyme that breaks down phytic acid. This is important for anyone who follows a plant based diet as phytic acid binds to minerals that tend to be lacking in a plant based diet, namely zinc, iron, calcium and B vitamins. You can do the same with beans and nuts, which also contain phytic acid.
The process is so simple, I really don't know why I didn't start sprouting earlier. Basically, all you do is soak, rinse, then let it sprout for a few days in a clean mason jar covered with cheesecloth or a sprouting lid. Check out this fantastic how-to article on Nutrition Stripped for more in depth information and a helpful chart on sprouting times. And if you really want to get into it, check out The Everything Sprouted Grains Book.
From a culinary standpoint, sprouted grains are a lot of fun to experiment. They have a lighter, fluffier texture than cooked whole grains, which works well tossed into a salad or in a sandwich. You can also grind the sprouted whole grain into flour and bake with it. Sprouted grains can even be used to make cereal or granola. I just used sprouted quinoa to make my quinoa almond energy bites!
Do be careful though as sprouted grains are at risk for food borne illness. Keep your kitchen and hands clean as well as your sprouting equipment. After sprouting, make sure you store the grains in the fridge and consume within 4 days.
Now, go throw on your Jefferson Airplane vinyl, light some incense, and make this salad!
p.s. Are you in Atlanta this weekend? Come meet me at Pure Barre in the Park, sponsored by the Virginia Highlands Pure Barre. The class is sold out, but I'll be there from 8-11 at my booth and would love it if you could drop by and say hello! We'll be in Piedmont Park across from the Nook. Hope to see you there!
- 1 head broccoli, cut into florets
- 1 bunch arugula
- 1/2 small head of red cabbage, thinly sliced
- 1/4 small red onion, diced
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1 1/2 cups sprouted grain, like amaranth, quinoa, millet or wild rice
- 1/2 cup tahini
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2-4 tablespoons water (optional, to thin)
- Sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste
- Set a steamer basket over a medium pot filled with an inch or so of simmering water. Place broccoli florets in the basket, cover, and steam for 5 minutes until tender, but with bite. Set aside to cool.
- While the broccoli is cooling, make the dressing. In a medium bowl, whisk together the tahini, lemon juice and zest, oil, garlic, honey and spices. Whisk in water until smooth. Season with sea salt to taste. Set aside.
- In a large salad bowl, toss the arugula, red cabbage, red onion and broccoli. Top with pumpkin seeds and sprouted grain. Divide salad among plates, drizzle with dressing and serve.