Of Greens and Grains

04 May 2017
POSTED BY Alvin Thomas

We all love mash but why not go for healthier, fresher produce when it comes to sides? Jazz up mealtimes with a range of delicious dishes that combine healthy grains, herbs and spinach.    

Dedicating more of your plate to fresh-from-the-garden produce as well as rice and grains can lead to a healthier lifestyle, according to Cheryl Forberg, a dietitian and award-winning chef and nutritionist for the US TV show, The Biggest Loser.

“Most of my adult clients who are not veggie lovers usually had little exposure to them growing up or they just weren’t cooked properly,” says Forberg.

“It’s important for parents to get their children involved in cooking, shopping and even gardening so kids can understand the journey from seed to plate.” 

To start living healthier and greener lives, Forberg offers four simple tips:

Start in the garden

This hands-on approach is a fun way to learn about nutrition and where food comes from. Following produce from seed to plate can compel you to eat more healthily. Plant a garden at home or become involved in a local project nearby.

Opt for veggies with big impact

Richly coloured veggies contain the richest supplies of nutrients. Opt for spinach or romaine instead of iceberg lettuce in your salads. Skip the celery or carrots and go for red bell pepper slices to deliver a healthy serving of antioxidants and vitamin C.

Make smart swaps

Replace the dense calories of pasta noodles with a flavoursome cup of cooked spaghetti squash. The squash is a satisfying and tasty alternative with a mere 40 calories, two grammes of fibre and loads of vitamins.

Pair with whole grains

Mashed potatoes may be a favourite dinner side but there are more nutritious options to complement your garden produce, such as this grain bowl with wild salmon from chef Seamus Mullen.

Learn more about starting gardens and living a greener, healthier life at seedsofchangegrant.com.

– Family Features

Warm Grain Bowl with Salmon, Almonds and Salsa Verde

Total time: 20-25 minutes

Servings: 8


  • 8 salmon fillets (85g each)

sea salt, to taste

  • fresh pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup asparagus, cut into 5cm pieces
  • 1/2 cup shitake mushroom caps, sliced
  • 1 package Quinoa, Brown & Red Rice with Flaxseeds
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds

Salsa Verde (optional):

  • 1 bunch scallions
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup packed coriander leaves
  • 1/2 cup packed mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup packed basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Heat the oven to 190C.


  • In an oven-proof pan, season the salmon with salt and pepper, and drizzle each fillet with olive oil. Bake for 12-15 minutes until cooked through.
  • In a blender or a food processor, combine all Salsa Verde ingredients and pulses until fully incorporated but still rustic and chunky. Set aside.
  • In a medium-sized frying pan, heat the remaining olive oil on a medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and asparagus and saute vigorously for 3-5 minutes. Add the grains and slivered almonds, and continue to saute until heated through, for about 5 minutes. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Divide the grains among eight plates, place a piece of salmon on each plate then finish with dollop of Salsa Verde, if desired, and serve.
  • Substitution: Shitake mushroom caps may be substituted with button mushrooms or other wild mushrooms.

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