Here's one of my favourite summer salads. I like making different variations of it using different grains and pastas such as Bulgar wheat, cous cous, orzo, brown rice, etc. For this incarnation I decided to go with a blend of wheat berries (for their high fiber content and pleasantly chewy texture) and quinoa (for its high iron and protein content).
The flavours are decidedly Mediterranean, though I won't go so far as to claim authenticity from any region specifically. It's light and refreshing while filling which makes it the perfect food for those hot summer days when you just don't feel like eating much. In terms of nutritional value, this salad is basically a meal in itself, but it also makes a great side for meat and fish dishes (I like to serve it with lamb and veggie kebabs).
Aside from swapping out the grains, you could also change out the pine nuts for things like slivered almonds, pistachios, or walnuts. Basil makes a great substitute for the mint and if you want it a bit more creamy, add some feta or Greek yogurt. Finishing this salad with a dash of sumac powder adds some nice color and flavor.
What's your favourite summer salad?
- Prepare the quinoa according to the package directions. Wheat usually calls to be soaked overnight, but I've found that simmering it in a large pot of water for 1-1.5 hours then draining does the trick as well. I like my wheat berries to be on the chewy side, but if you want yours to be softer, leave it on the stove longer.
- To make the salad, just whisk the dressing together, then pour of the salad ingredients while the grains are still warm. Allow it to cool to room temperature and serve. If you make this a day in advance it tastes even better the next day.