Let’s face it – entertaining can be a little stressful. Extra guests, extra food, extra pressure to pull off the perfect holiday spread without breaking a sweat. We have all been there at least once. Kudos to those who volunteer to host the big family dinner year after year.
We have found that there are a few things that can make entertaining just a little less traumatic. Number one is planning, planning, planning. Start making those lists early, and never, ever venture into the grocery store without a list.
When planning your big holiday spread, look for dishes that can be made in advance, like our Oat Pilaf made with whole grain oat groats, walnuts, raisins and feta, which is even better after a day in the fridge.
If you do decide to make it in advance, don’t worry about it getting soggy. The oat groats are perfectly happy to sit in the flavorful balsamic vinaigrette overnight, without losing any of their hearty texture. In fact, the texture of the oat groats is what makes this pilaf work so well. The large grains stay separate and don’t lose any of their wonderful chewiness.
This easy-going pilaf is also one of those magical dishes that can do double duty on the buffet (Is it a salad or is it a side?) and is very forgiving when it comes to temperature. It can be served warm, at room temperature, or straight out of the fridge.
And did we mention that it’s delicious? Your guests are going to love the nutty, chewiness of the oat groats and the sweet/salty contrast of the raisins and feta. It’s also a great dish to take along when you’re asked to bring “something,” because it travels so well and doesn’t require heating at your destination.
In a sea of casseroles, this pilaf will stand out like a little gem.
Oat Pilaf with Walnuts, Raisins and Feta
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (60 ml)
- 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar (30 ml)
- 1/2 tsp honey (2.5 ml)
- 1/4 tsp salt (1 ml)
- black pepper freshly ground, to taste
- 2 cups oat groats (500 ml)
- 1/4 cup red onion finely minced (60 ml)
- 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley finely chopped (60 ml)
- 1/2 cup walnuts coarsely chopped (125 ml)
- 1/2 cup raisins (125 ml)
- 1/2 cup feta cheese crumbled (125 ml)
- Cook oat groats in a large pot of boiling salted water for 30 minutes.
- Drain and rinse cooked groats under cold running water. Allow to drain while you prepare other ingredients.
- Whisk dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine drained oats, onion, parsley, walnuts, raisins and feta.
- Add dressing and stir to combine.
- Serve cold, warm, or at room temperature.