© 2016 Green Kitchen Stories Mediterranean_rainbow_salad_1

Mediterranean Five-Grain Rainbow Salad

I recently read a text by Elisabeth Kirby about how our lives online sometimes can seem so perfectly edited. Luise and I have been talking a lot about that as well. In the world of blogs and instagram, it’s easy to believe that our photos are a perfect reflection of the lives we live. Please know that they are not. We are fortunate enough to work from home creating colourful vegetarian recipes that we also get to eat and take photos of. But if you zoom out from the photo there is often chaos outside the frame. Elsa and Isac building castles of sofa pillows while spilling smoothies on the white carpet, Thai take-away in front of a My Little Pony cartoon on the iPad, flour spilled all over the kitchen floor, failed recipe attempts and the inevitable fights that come from working closely together with the person you love. But also all those sweet moments of falling asleep together with the kids, cooking recipes for fun and not just for work and being silly with friends.

Our photos and recipes reflect moments of creativity that balance our otherwise quite crazy and chaotic life as parents to two children. We aim to inspire, mostly by showing how gorgeous and delicious plant based food can be – like the salad above! We will also keep reminding ourselves to share personal stories and photos but many times those parts of life are best just lived.


Okey, enough rambling, let’s move on to today’s recipe! We have created this salad in collaboration with Swedish/Italian family company Zeta (see our disclosure in the bottom of this post). They are launching a new range of organic whole grain mixes and asked for our help to develop a recipe for them. Since grains can be a little colourless, they asked for a delicious recipe that looked stunning (no pressure, right). Luise and I share a deep love for Italy and Italian flavours and we truly indulged in that while creating this salad.

The grains add a nourishing base for this salad and they are tossed in pesto for extra flavour. We add sunchokes that are roasted until buttery soft centers and mix with thinly sliced raw, crunchy chioggia beets (aka candy cane or polka beets) and radishes. Of course we threw in some mozzarella and pine nuts (because, Italy!) and added red grapes for sweetness. All in all, it’s a real beauty of a salad, it is very nourishing and tastes just as good as it looks.

The idea of mixing chioggia beets with radishes for a colourful kick is shamelessly inspired by some of the salads in Erin Irelands instagram feed (worth checking out btw!).


Mediterranean 5-grain Salad with Sunchokes, Beets & Mozzarella
Serves 4–6

The recipe is also available in Swedish here.

1 bag (250 g / 1 1/2 cup) Zeta organic 5-grain mix (Farro, Barley, Kamut, Brown Rice and Oat Groats), or grains of choice
500 g / 1 lb sunchoke/jerusalem artichoke
2 chunks mozzarella di bufalo
4 polka beets (chioggia) or yellow beets, peeled
1 bunch radishes, rinsed
200 g / 7 oz  red grapes, halved
1 handful pine nuts, lightly toasted
2 handfuls rucola/arugula
1 bunch fresh basil

Pesto dressing
5 tbsp green pesto

2 tbsp cold-pressed olive oil
juice from 1/2 lemon

Preheat the oven to 200°C / 400°F. Rinse and brush the sunchokes (don’t bother peeling them) and cut them in 5-10 mm (1/4-inch) slices. Place the slices in a bowl, drizzle over olive oil and toss them until everything is covered in oil. Spread out the slices on a baking sheet covered with baking paper. Roast for 30-40 minutes or until soft with crispy edges. Meanwhile, cook the grains in a large sauce pan filled with salted water, following the cooking time on the package. Drain any excess water and scoop the grains back into the sauce pan. Stir together the pesto dressing and pour over the grains in the sauce pan. Make sure they are all covered and then pour the grains out onto a wide plate or salad bowl. Layer with sunchoke slices and torn mozzarella chunks. Use a mandolin (or sharp knife) to shave the polka beets and radishes very thinly and spread on top of the salad together with pine nuts, grapes, rucola/arugula and basil.

Disclosure: We wish to be as transparent as possible when it comes to sponsorships and collaborations. We have never had any ads on this site but in order to pay bills and continue doing this work that we love, we do on rare occasions accept collaborations with companies. We were compensated by Zeta for creating this recipe using some of their products. We would never work with products that we don’t believe in and their new range of whole grain-mixes felt like something that we would happily receive money to cook with, as they are all organic with short cooking times and all nutrients still intact. All words are our own and will always be.
xx D&L


  1. Posted 26 Feb ’16 at 15:31 | #

    Woah! This salad is absolutely stunning. I just can’t get enough of all those colors. . .especially that vibrant pop of fuchsia. It undoubtedly would put a smile on those who are lucky enough to have one of these beauties in front of them.

  2. Posted 26 Feb ’16 at 17:28 | #

    This salad is getting me very excited for the weekend! I can’t wait to try!

  3. Posted 26 Feb ’16 at 17:31 | #

    So stunning! Polka beets are definitely my favorite veg!

  4. Posted 26 Feb ’16 at 19:11 | #

    Thank you for opening up a little bit about your life, and how it’s not always portrayed in the beautiful photos here. It is so easy to think that others’ lives are “perfect” based on what we see online / social media, so it’s always a relief to know that others have messes and spilled flour and old take out boxes! ;) But this salad looks absolutely stunning, especially with those beautiful beets!

  5. emily
    Posted 26 Feb ’16 at 19:19 | #

    Such a gorgeous salad. Perfect dish next time we have friends coming over. Laughed when I read about my little pony on the iPad. Same in our house!?

  6. Posted 26 Feb ’16 at 21:49 | #

    OMG! Love the salad and the post! Looks amazing! Gotta say that had to google chioggia beets!

  7. Posted 26 Feb ’16 at 21:51 | #

    This looks fantastic! Somehow I’ve never had sunchokes. What do they taste like?

    • Posted 26 Feb ’16 at 22:29 | #

      Sunchokes have a very soft, sweet and delicate flavour. We usually roast them with peel since they are very lumpy and takes forever too peel. They are also good in soups.

    • viola
      Posted 27 Feb ’16 at 16:37 | #

      Sunchokes are also known as Jerusalem artichokes.

  8. Barbara
    Posted 26 Feb ’16 at 21:55 | #

    Thank you so much for saying that your lives as a family is not as picture perfect as your photos are. I absolutely love reading your blog and trying your recipes- (I try to cook as whole foods and healthy as I can). As a mother of three children and a hubby who loves to eat ( both of us of Italian descent!) I do sometimes think to myself…wow what beautiful people, inside and out, how do they do it? They look like they have perfect lives! But I know that life is not perfect for anyone, and it is messy and complicated, but it is also wonderful and beautiful, just as your photos are! Thank you, on behalf of all the regular people out there, for saying so! It is much appreciated. Keep up the lovely work :) From Vancouver, Canada.

  9. Posted 26 Feb ’16 at 22:02 | #

    What a beautiful salad – definitely looks like Spring is around the corner. And I love the video!

  10. Posted 26 Feb ’16 at 22:04 | #

    That salad is just so unbelievably stunningly gorgeous, I could print it off and put in on my wall as art. And thanks so much for saying that, it’s good to be reminded of and so important to recognise I think.

  11. Jane Sanderson
    Posted 26 Feb ’16 at 22:49 | #

    What is rucola please?

  12. Christine
    Posted 26 Feb ’16 at 23:34 | #

    The salad looks lovely! I wanted to purchase the grains, alas, I cannot read a thing on their site :(

  13. Posted 27 Feb ’16 at 01:58 | #

    sweet, tangy, nutty, so many flavors here! I’m looking forward to trying this. Thank you so much for the recipe :) x

  14. Posted 27 Feb ’16 at 06:50 | #

    Now that is a stunning salad. And despite the push towards “authenticity” these days, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with keeping some parts of our lives offline. That being said, I’m always happy to read the story part of Green Kitchen Stories.

  15. Posted 27 Feb ’16 at 10:49 | #

    Such a lovely, heartfelt post! Appreciate your transparency and candor. And, I can’t describe how excited I am whenever you two post a new recipe. This one does not disappoint! Such simple ingredients that you know will taste great together. Much love xx

  16. Posted 27 Feb ’16 at 10:52 | #

    This looks mouth watering!

  17. Posted 27 Feb ’16 at 20:28 | #

    Haha, we know that so well. We do most of our photo shoots on our bed! Being parents to a baby boy our surroundings may be the totally opposite of our photos; messy and chaotic. But I think that’s one of the beauties of our online lives; that we’re able to create something that beautiful in the middle of all the chaos. But of cause it’s important to remember that no-ones life is that perfect :)

    Beautiful recipe and photos, btw. We can’t wait to try it out!


  18. Posted 27 Feb ’16 at 22:44 | #

    Very appreciated post not only for the recipe (looks yummy!) but also for the honesty in admitting that life can get pretty messy behind the camera! Thanks a lot for this – it’s good to know especially for a new blogger like me ;)

  19. Doone
    Posted 28 Feb ’16 at 17:03 | #

    Please forgive me for waiting SO LONG to tell you how much I appreciate what you do. I’ve been following the blog for several years and it never fails to inspire me.
    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

  20. Posted 29 Feb ’16 at 02:59 | #

    They say eating the rainbow is good for you … guess I’ll have to try this salad soon!

  21. Posted 29 Feb ’16 at 08:22 | #

    alla bilder är alltid sååå jäkla fina, vill alltid laga allt

  22. Posted 29 Feb ’16 at 14:48 | #

    thanks for sharing this recipe! it looks exquisite (as usual :-) )

    If I may, it’s mozzarella di bufala (and preferably mozzarella di bufala campana DOP to guarantee it’s Italian origin!!).
    I would also suggest to use cacioricotta, a harder goat cheese, very fresh, to replace mozzarella in this case :-) http://www.guffantiformaggi.com/en/chees/cacioricotta-2/

    can’t wait for the next recipe!

  23. Posted 1 Mar ’16 at 01:49 | #

    Can’t wait to taste that salad. It will be terrific addition o summer dishes.

  24. Sile
    Posted 1 Mar ’16 at 12:28 | #

    This is really delicious – for the grain mix, I combined quinoa, farro, pearl barley, and kuromai (japanese black rice), and I omitted the cheese from the recipe. But it turned out really nicely – I will definitely be coming back to this one again. Thanks so much for posting!

  25. Posted 1 Mar ’16 at 22:25 | #

    cant wait to try
    Thanks for sharing

  26. Posted 2 Mar ’16 at 23:58 | #

    I’ve never seen a more beautiful grains salad! The beets and rice just work so perfectly and create a lovely rainbow platter!

  27. Posted 3 Mar ’16 at 13:58 | #

    This salad looks soooo good!! I will definitely be making it soon :)

  28. Posted 4 Mar ’16 at 08:28 | #

    Wow!! This looks so fantastic!!!
    I have made a warm Quinoa Salad which you should try, it is really delicious.




  29. Ute
    Posted 7 Mar ’16 at 08:10 | #

    Hi Luise and David,
    we had that salad yesterday evening and experienced it as beautiful and as tasty as expected. Also really satiable. Only one side effect of sunchokes probably should be mentioned. They contain an ingredient named Inulin, which is seemingly quite healthy but impossible to digest.
    We had a very troublesome night since that vegetable produced gas and pain in our digestive system which was not to be repeated.
    Perhaps we will use small potatoes next time.
    Kind regards and thanks for all the inspiration you add to my kitchen!

  30. Posted 12 Mar ’16 at 06:55 | #

    I love everything about this salad – healthy and colorful just the way I like it. Thinking of making it but combining quinoa and couscous, do you think it would work just as well? Thanks!

  31. Posted 12 Mar ’16 at 20:53 | #

    This salad is beyond gorgeous! I live in the suburbs in Canada and I know my local grocery store doesn’t have sunchokes but I’m pretty confident I can slightly adapt the recipe and that it will still be delicious! Love your recipes and photos so much David and Luise! Have shared them often n my blog and via social media. Keep inspiring us and whipping up magic in the kitchen!

  32. Posted 11 May ’16 at 13:04 | #

    Nothing sounds healthier than a salad but this one looks amazing and delicious. I am looking forward to my lunches for the next few weeks now! Thanks for sharing =)

  33. Nate
    Posted 12 May ’16 at 21:28 | #

    Nutritionally colorful!!! I would recommend this to our friends and patients. We promote the Mediterranean die because it’s not just good for the body but the mind too. Please let me share a couple of articles pertaining to the benefits of Mediterranean diet to cognitive function – ( https://www.gatewaypsychiatric.com/mediterranean-diet-improves-cognitive-function/ ) and ( https://www.gatewaypsychiatric.com/mind-diet-prevents-cognitive-decline/).

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