This post was originally published in January 2014 and was updated in July 2020.
Once a month or so, I make a trip to Trader Joe's to stock up on my "special" groceries. My list has changed over the years along with our tastes and Trader Joe's offerings. Current favorites include sundried tomatoes, bars of 72% dark chocolate, mandarin orange sparkling water, and vegetable masala burgers. But the Harvest Grains Blend—a mixture of Israeli-style couscous, orzo, baby garbanzo beans, and quinoa—remains a standby.
Trader Joe's Harvest Grains Blend is one of those relatively bland tasting but texturally intriguing foods that I will happily eat in large quantities—the smooshiness of the Israeli couscous and orzo contrasts perfectly with the slight crunch of the al dente garbanzo beans. Mike, on the other hand, is less enamored with texture and more into flavor. Years ago, I had a brainwave: the way to Mike's heart is through garlic and Parmesan. If I could work those into my Harvest Grains Blend somehow, I'd be golden. Using this pasta recipe as a starting point, I came up with a dish that featured the flavors Mike was looking for and the texture I love.
If only all compromises tasted this delicious.
Serves 2 as an entree or 4 as a side
- 1 1/4 cups dry Trader Joe's Harvest Grains Blend (half of a 16-ounce bag)
- 1 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup packed parley leaves
- pinch of crushed red pepper
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Bring 1 3/4 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in grains. Return to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir to prevent grains from sticking to the bottom of the saucepan.
Meanwhile, heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add oil and tilt to coat evenly. Add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic is light golden-brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add parsley and red pepper, and stir until parsley is coated with oil and slightly wilted.
Add parsley mixture and Parmesan cheese to prepared grains and toss.
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