The scent of brown rice cooking will forever mean warmth and comfort to me—it’s the dish my preschool teacher would make just before nap time, the dish whose scent sang me a daily lullaby. Today, I still find warm grains deeply restorative—they’re the quick food I turn to when I have minimal time and want maximal flavor and nutrition. There are few things more nourishing than a meal built on a foundation of truly whole foods. 

Though my grain dressings often run wildly simple (tahini, olive oil, Bragg’s apple cider vinegar, and spirulina is a favorite), I take every opportunity I can to gussy up a bowl. And, given a few extra minutes, the luxury of toasting grains before cooking them elevates the dish to an entirely new flavor profile. This toasted grain bowl uses the power of toasting to expand and enliven the inherent nuttiness of whole grains, and pairs that depth with the bright flavors of a nut-free pesto. 

Topped with gently massaged kale, feta, and generous hands of lemon and black pepper, it’s the perfect bowl for every time of day. Every part of this recipe is customizable—you can use any grain you like, or a blend of grains, you can use nuts instead of hemp seeds, you can use all basil instead of basil and mint, and you can use any greens you like. Make it your own bowl of true nourishment.

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Ingredients

Toasted Grains
  • 1 cup uncooked farro or grain of choice
  • 2 cups water
Hemp Seed Pesto
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons hemp seeds
  • 1 large clove garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Kale Salad
  • 3 large leaves kale, washed, destemmed, and thinly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • squeeze lemon juice
  • pinch salt, to taste
  • freshly cracked pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 2-3 radishes, very thinly sliced

Directions

  1. Place uncooked grain in a large frying pan over medium flame and toast, shaking pan frequently, until the grains begin to brown and smell nutty—3 to 4 minutes.

  2. Transfer grains to a saucepan and add 2 cups water. Cover with lid and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to lowest setting, and simmer, covered, until water has evaporated and grains are tender, 20-25 minutes depending on the grain.

  3. While grains cook, blend basil, mint, olive oil, lemon juice, hemp seeds, garlic, and sea salt in a food processor until the mixture becomes slightly creamy and only small flecks of basil and mint remain. Set aside.

  4. In a large bowl, massage chopped kale with 1 tablespoon olive oil until leaves become tender, 30-60 seconds. Add a squeeze of lemon juice, a pinch or two of salt, freshly cracked pepper, and toss. 

  5. Once grains are done cooking, transfer to a medium-sized bowl and toss with the pesto. Top with dressed kale, feta cheese, and thinly sliced radishes.

Nutritional Information

Calories
545
Total Fat
34g
Saturated Fat
6g
Cholesterol
11mg
Sodium
662mg
Carbohydrates
48g
Dietary Fiber
5g
Sugars
1g
Protein
14g
YIELD:

3 servings