A Harvest of Ancient Grains

Delight in Edina’s hearty, healthy and wholesome dishes.
The farro, barley, and apple salad is only available through October at D’Amico & Sons.

Ancient grains have made a comeback as a modern-day food trend. With more fiber, nutrients and trace minerals than ordinary white flour and white rice, ancient grains make a healthy addition to any meal. While there is no list of ancient grains set in stone, amaranth, barley, bulgur, buckwheat, kamut, millet, quinoa, spelt and teff are prime contenders. In Edina, farro, oats and wild rice also make the cut. In addition to all of the health benefits, ancient grains taste great in salads, pancakes, breads, wraps and much more.


D’Amico & Sons
Robust fall flavors enliven this salad with a satisfying snap. Picture a mix of nutty grains, toasted pine nuts, grilled chicken, cubed honeycrisp apples, fresh mint, fennel and plump currants. The salad exudes pure healthiness with ancient grains and fresh unpeeled apples cloaked in a dressing of extra-virgin olive oil. Savory and sweet flavors come to life with extra touches of sherry vinegar and orange. A Sicilian influence flourishes in the orange, currant and pine nut trio. Pair your salad with a glass of pinot grigio or Peroni beer to complete your Italian culinary experience. The farro, barley and apple salad is only available through October, so don’t wait too long to try it. $8.99.


Dino’s Mediterranean
Fresh and flavorful bulgur-studded tabouli makes an ideal side dish for gyros and other Greek food fare. As one of Dino’s designated heart-healthy specialties, this vegetarian dish “is probably one of the healthiest items on the menu,” says Brian McConnell, marketing services. The green and red flecked dish with nuggets of fluffy bulgur wheat please the eye. Dino’s has a proud 30-year tradition of authentic Greek food. The local chain uses an old family recipe for tabouli. A consistent standard of quality is the hallmark of the dish, according to McConnell. “Our managers are required to taste test it every day before it goes out on the line,” he says. Made fresh with cucumbers, tomatoes, green onions, lemon juice, parsley and a hint of mint, the tabouli is a signature dish at Dino’s. $3.25 for a side.


Edina Grill
Comfort food favorites are served with a twist at Edina Grill, and the quinoa pancakes are no exception. A topping of toasted quinoa builds in an unexpected but welcome crunch. A grand finale dollop of whipped cream enhances the wonder; drizzle in swirls of sweetness with a side of real maple syrup. Make no mistake, these are not ordinary pancakes. Updated health sensibilities flourish in a hearty batter with buckwheat and quinoa. “The simple recipe lets the true flavors shine through, in a more healthful breakfast option,” says Liz Berquist, general manager. A stack of three fresh-made quinoa pancakes paired with a cup of Blackeye cold-press coffee will keep you going all day with a nutrition boost you can feel good about. $7.25.

(Have a hearty breakfast of quinoa pancakes at Edina Grill.)


This burrito is classic Freshii fusion food. A neatly rolled burrito looks like a south-of-the-border specialty, but the filling boasts Asian flavors of spicy lemongrass sauce, peppery cilantro and edamame. Fresh shreds of cabbage and carrots pack a lively crunch. With a dairy-free, low-calorie base, the Thai lemongrass burrito is probably about the healthiest thing you can eat, with a “perfect balance of protein and flavor,” according to Michelle Boettcher, general manager. For extra protein, add some tofu, falafel, chicken or steak into the mix. The Thai lemongrass burrito, like all of Freshii’s healthy options, is made to order, so you can build your own creation. $6.49.


McCormick & Schmick’s
Hazelnut and cashew granola makes a healthy, happy breakfast with staying power. Top-quality, all-natural ingredients such as whole oats start things off right. At McCormick & Schmick’s, granola charms with a medley of grains, nuts and a topping of fresh fruit. Coconut, hazelnuts, cashews and almonds add a distinct nuttiness. Honey pulls everything together with a whisper of sweetness. The granola is adorned with a colorful seasonal selection of strawberries, raspberries, pineapple, cantaloupe or honeydew melon. A generous mound of yogurt dresses up the granola fruit toss with a pleasant zing. Good day starters don’t come any better. $9.99.


Peoples Organic

For a filling but light meal bursting with ancient grain goodness, try the Mediterranean wrap. Tabouli, feta cheese, marinated chickpeas, shredded carrots, housemade hummus, olives and romaine combine with zest—just what you’d expect from a haven of healthy eating like Peoples Organic. The tabouli has a quinoa base instead of the more traditional bulgur wheat. The vegetarian-fashioned wrap gets more veggie power from a side of mixed greens. All of the ingredients are organic, and the whole wheat tortilla is a 100 percent sprouted wrap. What to drink? A red wine like Alta Vista malbec from Argentina complements an array of down-to-earth flavors. $9.


Patrick’s Bakery & Café
Multigrain bread is a traditional staple with ever-increasing popularity; during the breakfast service at Patrick’s, multi-grain toast gets more requests than regular white bread. Nothing but the most wholesome ingredients go into Patrick’s multigrain bread. Flax seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, wheat berries and whole oats bake into a husky yet feathery-light loaf. Patrick’s family recipe transforms good-for-you grains into great-tasting bread perfect for sandwiches and toast. The crust has a perfectly even brown tone dusted with whole oats. Take a loaf home and see how satisfying a daily slice of whole grain bread can be. $5.95 per loaf.


Red Cow
Red Cow ensures that their non-burger brethren always feel welcome with standard menu features like the beet and quinoa salad. Vegetarian and gluten-free with healthy carbs, this delicious salad still has heft, appearing deceivingly light with arugula, quinoa, edamame, red peppers, garbanzo beans and chèvre cheese. Roasted beets weigh in with shades of deep red and golden yellow. Balsamic vinaigrette coats everything with a tantalizing sweet zing. Frills of dark, rich balsamic reduction adorn the plate with a garnish too invitingly tasty to leave in place. With all of the scrumptious extras in this salad, it’s easy to eat right with no compromise on flavor. Enjoy this salad as an entrée and you can treat yourself to some of those famous Red Cow cheese curds without guilt. $12.50.