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Health & Wellness

Health & Wellness
Health & Wellness


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Mediterranean Salad

Mediterranean Salad

It's time for IHCC's monthly Mystery Box Madness Challenge again!

Modus operandi is the same: we can choose a dish from one of IHCC's twelve chefs. This time round, the chosen dish must contain at least three of these mystery ingredients: brie, crab, chives, pecans, strawberries (fresh, frozen or dried), vanilla, breadcrumbs, green beans, vinegar, puff pastry. 

Initially, I was thinking of making Nigel Slater's Strawberry and Black Pepper Palmiers that includes strawberries, puff pastry, and vanilla. But hubby and I aren't big fans of puff pastry desserts. They might end up in the bin. :S

So, I tried searching again and found Giada's Mediterranean Farro Salad. I can't find farro in Malaysia. Ordering online sounds too much of a hassle. The closest substitute is barley and I also add some quinoa. Most importantly, this recipe has these three mystery ingredients: chives, green beans, vinegar.

Recipe adapted from here.

(Serves 2-3)

1 & 1/2 cups farro (I used 1 cup barley & quinoa)
2 cups green beans, cut into 1 to 2-inch pieces, cooked and drained

1 cup canned chickpeas, drained
1/2 cup pitted black olives
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 small yellow bell pepper, cut into thin strips
3/4 cup crumbled Parmesan
1/4 cup chives, snipped
1/4 cup sherry vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Salt and freshly grounded black pepper

How to:

1. In a medium saucepan, combine 4 cups of water with the barley and quinoa. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat, about 20 minutes. Drain well. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool.

2. Once the barley and quinoa are cooled, add green beans, chickpeas, black olives, red pepper, yellow pepper, Parmesan, and chives. Stir to combine. 

3. In a small bowl, mix together apple cider vinegar, olive oil, mustard, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad. Toss to combine and serve.

I love the rainbow colors!

Healthy, nutritious, delicious!

The vinaigrette's tartness blends very well with the rest of the ingredients. As a person who don't like to eat my chives raw because they taste quite similar to scallions, I'm surprised to find that this humble looking herb adds another layer of delicate taste.

Adding chickpeas is a great idea because I get more protein and they make this salad a fulfilling main dish. I love the crunch from the barley and quinoa together with chickpeas and black olives. The vegetables - green beans, red & yellow bell pepper - make this salad oh-so-pretty!

Overall, this is a really good salad. Thanks Giada for your recipe!

I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC) for this week's theme, May 2015: Mystery Box Madness Challenge!


Previous Mystery Box Madness recipes:

April 2015: Tarragon, Chicken & Ham Pasties (Donna Hay)

March 2015: Boeuf Bourguignon (Mark Bittman)

February 2015: Round and Round Pasta (Giada De Laurentiis)

January 2015: Blueberry Buttermilk Cake (Tessa Kiros)

December 2014: Curried Lentil Soup with Potatoes (Mark Bittman) 

November 2014: Date, Apricot, Chia Seeds Tea Bread (adapted from Diana Henry)


  1. Good choice. I love mediterranean dishes with their vibrant colors. I have chives growing in my herb garden which I adore with its small purple flowers and tender texture.

  2. Hi Joyce, I am new to IHCC but looking forward to participating in the group. I like the Mediterranean salad that you made. I made a dessert with strawberries.

    1. Hi Diane, nice meeting you! Welcome to IHCC. Hope you'll enjoy cooking up a storm with all of us. :) See you again this coming week. :)

  3. Oh yum! This is such a hearty and colorful main dish salad. I love Giada's recipes because I find them so family friendly. I bet this one was a big hit. I'd love to pack this salad in my lunch for work:)

    1. Yes Kim, this is a wonderful salad. Giada never fails. :)

  4. Joyce, I love how pretty and colourful your mediterranean salad looks. As they say, the more colourful your food is naturally, the more nutrients and vitamins they give you. This is definitely better than yummy!!

  5. Hi Joyce,
    Such a lovely looking dish. Looks so pretty and refreshing, and delicious too!

  6. How healthy and delicious does this look and am glad we are connected through the May 2015: Mystery Box Madness Challenge! re IHCC!