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Jeweled Grain Salad

Still wondering how you can ensure a maximum impact Rosh Hashana meal? I have two words for you: Salad. Power. While meat 'n potatoes may form the backbone to your meal, it's sparkling salads that act as vital accessories. Contrast is the magic word to remember as you contrast color, flavor and texture, and this delicious Treasure Chest Salad is the perfect example. Made with al dente ptitim - though you could substitute with couscous or large grain burgul - the sweet 'n spicy flavor profile perfectly compliments the Carmelized Red Onion Brisket and Marbella Chicken recipes recently shared. Make it a chag meal to remember by including this treasure chest of jeweled fruit 'n grains.

1 1/2 to 2 cups cups ptitim* 1/4 cup rice vinegar (see notes) 1/3 cup orange juice 2 tablespoons honey or silan 1/2 cup golden raisins 1/2 cup dried figs OR dates OR dried apricots, chopped finely** Pomegranate kernels (optional but gorgeous) 1/2 medium red onion, finely diced 3 large stalks celery, finely diced 1/4 cup olive oil 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest 1/2 cup blanched or natural almonds, toasted and roughly chopped Handful fresh parsley or mint, finely chopped Freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste * Can use bulgur wheat OR wholewheat couscous. ** Feel free to use all three dried fruits. 1: Make the ptitim according to package directions OR soak the bulgur wheat OR make up the couscous. 2: Whisk the rice vinegar, orange juice and honey together in a small saucepan, bring to a boil and add the raisins and dried fruit. Turn off the heat and let fruit steep in the juice and vinegar mixture. 3: Combine grain of your choice with red onion and celery and toss with the olive oil and lemon zest. Stir in vinegar and juice mixture and all the fruit. Toss with the almonds, chopped parsley or mint and season to taste. 4: Serve at room temperature - cold food has less flavor - or even slightly warm. COOK'S NOTES: Rice vinegar can be exchanged with apple cider or white or red wine vinegar. I chop dried fruit, onion & celery in the Progressive onion chopper which is the one shaped like a crocodile. This salad keeps very well for up to 4 days making it ideal for chag. Feel free to add extra dried fruit or mix with other nuts and add toasted seeds. See this as your blueprint.

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