March 6, 2018

Roasted Vegetable and Adlai Salad with Mustardy Dressing

So making this recipe got me totally busted. Have you ever “borrowed” something from a friend while they were gone. Yeah, me too. I was watching a friends fish while he was out of town. This consisted of going to his place everyday to feed shrimp, starfish, crabs, and lots of other little sea creatures. I started making this recipe and realized we had no mustard left, but I had a key to their place so I could possibly avoid going all the way to the store. No big deal, you only need 1 teaspoon, so I would put it back next time I went to feed the fish. The next morning I get a text saying “Hey, I got home early so no need to come feed the fish anymore.” Busted, I texted back, “Great! P.S. I have your Grey Poupon, but you can come over for dinner if you want to come get it.” It was really a win win if you ask me.

Living in Manila, 8,000 miles away from family, definitely has its ups and downs. One of the hardest parts is not being able to call home whenever I want, with a 13 hour time change I have a small window of when I am able to talk to people back in the States. Missing family events like my sisters bridal shower that happened last weekend is hard too. That’s not all but I will leave it at that and get on to the more positive things.

I get to live in a foreign country/continent and experience a different culture everyday. I am lucky enough to try new things and see things I have never even heard of. In my case one of the best parts is trying new foods, it’s something I get excited about everyday (it’s the small things in life that you have to recognize, right?!).

I try and support the local farmers market, the local restaurants, coffee shops and vendors as often as possible. It exposes me to new foods, supports the local economy, helps start up small companies, and helps to promote more regionally unique agriculture. There is an awesome farmers market (Salcedo Community Market) on Saturday’s in our neighborhood and we go whenever we are in town. When I am at the market I always try to find new things I’ve never tried before. I’ve tried star apples, Saba bananas (basically a boiled banana), amaranth leaves (similar to spinach), Chico (a delicious fruit that tastes like brown sugar), and so much more! My friend had told me about this grain she had seen at the market and I was eager to give it a try.

Adlai is a Heirloom grain that is grown in Asian countries and by the Indigenous People of Northern Mindanao. It is similar to Isreali couscous if you have ever had that, a little bigger than rice with the texture and taste similar to pasta. It is considered a healthier substitute for rice. It’s nutritional highlights are:

good source of iron and magnesium

lower glycemic index than rice

a good source of protein and fiber


Don’t worry this salad is very versatile and you can use any grain including quinoa, wheatberries, farro, or couscous. It’s a great salad to make if you want to use up all the vegetables in your fridge that you don’t know what to do with. You can make it as a side dish, main dish, make it on Sunday and you have a delicious lunch salad for the week. Feel free to use other vegetables, if you have parsnips, broccoli, mushrooms or cauliflower they work well in addition to what I used.

As always if you make the salad share it with me @amandabarnesrdn and #abnutrition, I would love to see it!

The Recipe: adapted from a change of appetite cookbook

serves 4 – 6

6 carrots, halved if small, quartered if really fat

2 beets, scrubbed and cubed

2 cups spinach or amaranth leaves

2 tbsp olive oil

salt and black pepper

1 cup Adlai or other available grain

2 tsp balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup walnuts, toasted

For the Dressing:

1 Tbsp Grey Poupon

1 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, crushed

pinch of red pepper flakes (optional, or add more if you like more spice)

1 tbsp flat leaf parsley

  1. Preheat oven to 375F or 190C. Put the carrots and beets onto a roasting pan in a single layer, they will roast better and get more caramelized if they are not on top of each other. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and stir around to get everything coated. Roast in the oven for about 40 minutes, or until tender and slightly  browned.
  2. While the vegetables are roasting, cook the Adlai. Place 2 cups of water in a medium sauce pan, cover and cook for about 40 minutes, until tender. When done the water should all be absorbed just like rice. Take off heat and add a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
  3. To make the dressing add all ingredients into a small mixing bowl and whisk together to incorporate herbs and spices, vinegar and olive oil.
  4. When the vegetables and grains are done cooking, add everything to a large bowl, including walnuts and mix with dressing. Top with extra parsley and season more with salt and pepper if needed.

Enjoy! ~ Amanda

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