Summer Grain Salad

A great alternative to pasta salad for summer – serves 2 as a meal or 4 as a side dish. The trick is in the dressing; the balance of vegetables can be suited to your palate and what is fresh in your area. Nice additions are pitted nicoise olives, fresh corn, or even cucumber. If you want a non-vegan version some cubed, crumbled, or shaved cheese (aged parmesean always good but ricotta salata or even feta or peccorino will work – avoid soft cheeses).

1/8 cup pearlized spelt
1/8 cup pearlized barley
1/8 cup black (or red or wild) rice
1/8 cup brown rice
1 cup + a little liquid
1/2 cube of low-salt, vegetable bullion
1/4 cup diced cherry tomato
1/4 cup diced yellow bell pepper
1/4 cup diced carrot
1/4 cup diced zuccini

3-4 cups Arugula or Baby Spinach

toasted pumpkin seeds or pine nuts (optional)

Dressing: mix together in a glass dish beating vigorously with a fork as you pour it over the salad to keep everything evenly distributed.

2/3 cup olive oil (this is salad so use the good stuff)
1/3 cup made up from 1 part lime juice, 1 part red-wine or apple cider vinegar, 1 part balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. finely grated fresh ginger
2 tsp. finely grated fresh garlic
1 tsp. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. crushed dried mint or 2 tsp. fresh mint finely minced

Cook mixed grains according to cooking times for each (adding the faster cooking grains to the pot as you go). I start with the black rice, add the brown rice then the spelt and then the barley. About half way through the cooking time lower the heat and cover the grain.  Feel free to stop and taste the grain to see how it’s coming along but don’t stir. If it starts to get dry before it’s done, add some very hot water from the tap (a little at the time). While the grains are cooking dice the vegetables and prepare the dressing. Towards the end of the cooking (about 5 min. before it finishes) add the carrot and the zucchini to the top of the grain so that it is (very lightly) steamed.
Combine cooked grains, carrot, and zucchini with tomatoes and bell pepper. Mix dressing into warm grain. It can be eaten right away or allow to cool and then refrigerate for a cold salad.
To serve: divide greens evenly into dishes. Top with salad. Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds.
Guaranteed to make you feel full and energized without feeling stuffed. Enjoy :-).

By bonniemcclellan

Mother, poet, american ex-pat from Texas living in Northern Italy.

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