Triple might actually be an inaccurate count of how much "green" is in this salad. Facing the indecsion that plagues every facet of my life, I got a little carried away with the vegetables of my fridge and couldn't bear to exclude any. I blame Veggie Tales. So, if it was green and tasted good, it probably went into this dish. Although, a craving for wheatberries on a Sunday afternoon originally prompted the making of this one.
Wheat berries, very similar to farro, are a fantastic alternative to rice. The texture lends hearty and chewy bite to dishes and the flavor, a nice nutty and toasted taste similar to that of barley. As whole-grain option, they not only bring more taste to the party via the punch-turned-salad-bowl, but also 6g of protein, 4g of fiber, and tons of cancer and heart disease fighting phytochemicals.
Make them ahead, freeze these little guys in a mason jar and summon then for all your salad, soup, or pilaf needs. Or just reheat and eat under a poached egg for a lazy dinner.
So after my field trip down the street to Whole Foods to obtain a small satchel of my berries for less than a whopping dollar at the bulk bar, I went home and essentially emptied the contents of my crisper drawer atop my counter and started slicing and dicing.
On this mid-summer's eve, I invited my friend, neighbor and talented artist, Liz Moy, to come over for dinner. One-bowl grain salads simplify entertaining for a number of reasons. They're cheap and easy to make in large amounts so whether you're having one other person or five for dinner, everyone will get a hearty, fiber packed filling serving (or two) and leave satisfied. And if you're lucky, there might just be leftovers for lunch the next day.
This particular grain salad is especially simplified as it can be made in all of one skillet so there's no demand to make all the components and a dressing separately. Simply squeeze of a bit lemon over everything, toss with some mint and let the combined and heat of the just-barely-cooked vegetables dress each other. Throw some toasted almonds in for extra nutty flavor and crunch amidst the wheat berries and head to the roof, if you've got one.
Serve with just-barely hard-boiled egg and over some more fresh arugula --which might be my "quint" green in this dish but who's keeping track?
After all, there's no such thing as too much of a green thing.......well, debateable. But let's not spoil out appetites.
Triple Green Wheatberry Almond Salad
1 C. wheat berries
2 1/2 C. water or low sodium vegetable stock
2 shallots, finely diced
4 C. fresh or frozen peas (thawed if frozen)
1 zuccnini, thinly sliced
3C. fresh arugula
1/2 C. chopped toasted almonds, reserve a few for garnsih
1/2 cucumber, thinly sliced
1/2 C. fresh mint, chiffonade
1 lemon, juice and zest
Combine the wheat berries with the water or vegetable stock in a pan. Cover and cook until liquid is absorbed and berries are chewy and al dente. Set aside and allow to cool.
In a separate skillet, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet to medium high heat. Add shallots and sauté until translucent and nearly caramelized. Add the peas, zucchini, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Sauté on low heat until ingredients are just heated through. All the vegetables should still vibrant green in color. Remove the pan from heat and add the wheat berries. Stir. Finish by tossing entire salad with arugula, almonds and the rest of the juice of a lemon. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with sliced cucumbers, lemon zest, more mint and almonds. Serve over more arugula, if desired, and with a hard-boiled egg.