Greek Wheat Berry Salad


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Summer = freshness for me… the farmers’ markets are out, the sun is shining, the beach is calling, and best of all, fresh fruit and vegetables are everywhere.

Lately I’ve been on a bit of a wheat berry kick- we’re talking the ultimate whole grain! This is the stuff they make whole wheat flour from, and the texture is similar to that of farro or spelt. I love the little pop they give as you chew on them. They’re packed with fiber, b-vitamins, and protein, and make a perfect addition to salads like this.

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I chose to try and incorporate the flavors of one of my favorites- Greek salad. Fresh crisp cucumbers, tart cherry tomatoes, salty Kalamata olives and a light lemony vinaigrette make this a delightful side dish or snack for summer. Plus it’s so easy to put together if you already have the wheat berries cooked!

Greek Wheat Berry Salad
 
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Serves: 4

Ingredients
  • 1 cup wheatberries
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 6-8 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ¼ cup kalamata olives, roughly chopped
  • ½ yellow bell pepper, diced
  • ¼ cup finely chopped red onion (optional)
  • a few tbsp crumbled feta cheese (amount is to your liking)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt

Instructions
  1. Cook wheatberries: Boil 3 cups water. Add 1 cup wheatberries and 1 tsp salt to the pot, cover, and turn heat down to low. Allow to cook for 45 mins to an hour- you want the wheatberries to have a nice chew to them, without being too hard or too mushy. When done, remove wheatberries from the pot to a bowl and allow to cool while you assemble the rest of the ingredients. (You can also make the wheatberries in the rice cooker if you have one of those).
  2. Into the bowl with the wheatberries add the cucumber, cherry tomatoes, olives, pepper, red onion, and feta and toss. In a small bowl or dressing bottle add the olive oil, white wine vinegar, and lemon juice and stir to combine. Pour over the salad and toss again. Serve and enjoy!

 

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What’s your favorite way to use up all the fresh produce in the summer?

Happy Eating :-)
mally

 

Green Salad with Summer Fruits

salad_fruit-10I’m going to give you fair warning now- my future mother-in-law gave me 8 fresh mangoes last week (out the back of her trunk actually, like some underground deal), and since then, I’ve been on a crazy fruit binge. Summer berries and fruits are in their primetime right now, and my pantry and fridge are loaded with nectarines, blueberries, strawberries, and of course, these lovely mangoes. The end result is- you’ll be seeing a lot of fun fruity recipes on here for the next few weeks :)

This salad is anything but ordinary. It’s got the solid base of leafy greens, sure, but packed inside are juicy tangy bites of all my favorite fruits. Nutty sliced almonds round out the mix, and the lime juice dressing brings out a tart citrusy flavor that really unifies the whole deal. Your lunchtime will never be the same once you try this combo!

I was inspired to combine these ingredients after looking up “Mango” in one of my new favorite books, The Flavor Bible (Amazon Affiliate Link). Mangoes go swimmingly with almonds and lime, believe it or not- and I figured there was no better way to showcase this combination than in a light, refreshing salad!

Green Salad with Summer Fruits
 
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Serves: 1

Ingredients
  • 2 cups spinach, arugula, or a mix, chopped
  • ⅓ cup fresh blueberries
  • 6-8 strawberries, sliced
  • 1 mango, peeled and diced
  • 2-3 tbsp sliced almonds
  • 1 tbsp neutral tasting oil (like grapeseed)
  • juice and zest of one lime

Instructions
  1. In a bowl, combine all ingredients except oil, zest and lime juice. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the oil, zest and lime juice, and drizzle over top of the salad. Toss again, serve and enjoy!

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No new wedding updates this week- however the weather forecast does look dismal for this weekend, when we’re supposed to be taking our engagement shoots. Hot, humid, and thunderstormy… I’m hoping we can find a gazebo to shoot under otherwise we’re going to have to postpone!

What are your weekend plans?

Happy Eating :-)
mally

My Favorite Salad

My Favorite Salad

Lunchtime for a working girl can be a dangerous activity.

Having worked in Manhattan for the last 5 years, I’ve eaten from a lot of subpar delis, overpriced salad bars, and super-salty “ramen” during my favorite mealtime of the day. Sure, occasionally you find the absolutely amazing hole-in-the-wall burrito joint, but it’s usually just a few too many avenues away to be convenient, or costs a few too many dollars than you’re willing to let go of, or, let’s face it, contains a few too many calories to ever be deemed a responsible choice.

(Side note: I might have made a spreadsheet to catalog all of the “good” places around my office. If you work near Times Square/Hell’s Kitchen, hit me up and I’ll send you the Google spreadsheet.)

I’m ashamed to say I often pick up and buy my lunch somewhere around my office rather than bringing it from home, and frankly, it’s been taking a toll on my wallet and on my waistline.

It’s just that I have a lot of expectations when it comes to lunch, and microwaved leftovers (especially microwaved meat… EWW!) just don’t cut it. So, because I’m still on the Standard Process Cleanse and most of the take-out options around here do NOT fall into anything I should be eating, I’ve had to innovate and come up with some kickass ideas in order to stay healthy and happy with my food choices.

Enter this salad- not just any salad, but my FAVORITE salad. Like, of all time.

It combines some of my favorite flavors (lemon, kalamata olives, cherry tomatoes), with some nutrition powerhouses (kale/arugula, quinoa, avocado) and turns into something so much greater than the sum of it’s parts.

The best part is… it is filling, delicious, and so much better than anything I can find around Midtown!

My Favorite Salad

 

5.0 from 3 reviews

My Favorite Salad
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups greens (I prefer kale, arugula, or a mix), chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters
  • ½ cup cooked quinoa
  • ½ avocado, diced
  • 6-8 kalamata olives, chopped roughly
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 lemon slice
Optional additions:
  • ¼ cup celery, sliced
  • ½ cup carrots, chopped
  • ¼ cup roasted salmon, flaked

Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and toss to combine. Sprinkle with juice from the lemon slice, toss again, and serve!

Tip: An easy way to dice an avocado is to make hash marks in the avocado while it’s still in the peel, then scoop it out with a spoon:

My Favorite Salad

Need some other good and healthy lunch ideas? Lentil soup is one thing I don’t mind re-heating in the microwave, and is so yummy. Another favorite is lentil saladgrilled corn salad (accompanied by some grilled chicken or flaked salmon), or carnitas tacos. (I seriously have a phobia of microwaved meat, so I usually just toast up the tortillas in the office kitchen instead, then add the meat and toast some more to heat through).

What are your favorite bring-from-home lunch options?

Happy Lunching :-)
mally

Lentil Salad

Lentil Salad

Happy Friday! How’s everyone’s resolutions coming along so far- we’re a week and a half in to 2013… is everyone still going to the gym every day and really watching what they eat?

…No? Maybe?

Well, I’m excited to share this recipe with you because not only is it delicious and filling, it’s also pretty healthy. It also features a fairly new ingredient for me: Lentils.

Lentils are a great source of fiber, and are known to help lower cholesterol. They are also low in calories and a good source of vitamins and minerals. You can read more about the nutritional benefits of lentils here at WHFoods.

Sure, that all sounds wonderful, but if these little grains don’t taste good, who’s going to eat them?

Well, that’s the great thing about lentils – they absorb pretty much any flavor you throw at them, and are pretty darn good just on their own. I decided to throw them together with a bunch of fresh vegetables and a very simple dressing, and created a crunchy, flavorful side dish that doubled as lunch for me the next day.

Lentil Salad

Lentil Salad
 
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Ingredients
  • 1 cup lentils, rinsed and picked over to remove any dirt or small pebbles
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 large lacinato kale leaves, stems removed and cut into ½” pieces
  • ⅓ cup frozen corn (if doing the Standard Process Cleanse, omit)
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar

Instructions
  1. Add water, lentils and bay leaf to a medium pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, bring heat to low and let cook, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes, until lentils are tender. Remove bay leaf and strain the lentils to remove any excess water. Add the salt and stir.
  2. Add bell pepper, kale leaves, corn and broccoli and stir, allowing the vegetables to absorb some of the heat from the cooked lentils. Add oil and vinegar, and stir to incorporate.

In related news, I am actually starting a cleanse starting next Monday, called the Standard Process Cleanse. Don’t worry, it’s not one of those crazy juice fads… it’s more focused on incorporating more whole foods and vegetables into your diet, and flushing the toxins from your body. I am working with my friend and nutritionist, Rebecca Meyerson of Simply Healthy Living, during the 21-day process. You bet I am going to turn to this salad quite a bit during that time! So fair warning, over the next few weeks, you are going to see a lot more healthy recipes from me as I go through the cleanse process and make more vegetable-centric meals and snacks.

I also wanted to share two  e-books that my childhood neighbor and family friend, Mike Angarola, wrote that are chockfull of delicious Italian recipes, in memory of his grandmother, Gracie. Mike used to own an amazing Italian specialty shop in my hometown of Nyack, Gracie’s Ravioli, and he really knows his stuff. You can also check out his blog at Gracie’s Italian Wine Review. Check out his e-books, here:

   

Happy Eating :-)
mally

Grilled Corn Salad

Grilled Corn SaladHave I mentioned how much I love summer yet? Yes? OK. Because I do. The fresh flavors, the ability to get out and grill, and all the delicious produce- not to mention the sunshine and warm weather- what’s not to love?

Believe it or not, I have never made my own corn on the cob before. For some reason I believed it was going to be more difficult than it actually was – and when you grill it, you don’t even have to boil beforehand! Just let the foil do the work in steaming and plumping up the kernels.

This salad is a mess of textures, colors, and flavors. A beautiful mess, to be sure! By cutting all the vegetables into similar-size pieces, you create a consistency to the salad that allows for individual textures and tastes to stand out. The crunch of the peppers, the cool freshness of the cucumbers, the sweetness of the corn that plays a perfect counterpoint to the slight bitterness of the red onion. I also really love the dill in the lemony dressing- however, if dill’s not your thing, feel free to use basil, cilantro, parsley, or any other herb that gets you going.
Grilled Corn Salad

Grilled Corn Salad
 
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Serves: 8

Ingredients
  • 2 ears sweet corn, husks and silks removed
  • ½ red onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cucumber, seeded and chopped
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp dill, chopped finely
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil

Instructions
  1. Heat up your grill to medium-high. Brush each ear with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt. Wrap each ear of corn in a square piece of aluminum foil, twisting the ends to seal.
  2. Place the wrapped corn on the grill, and cook for 15 minutes, turning every so often with tongs. The corn will steam in the foil and get delicious. Remove ears from the foil, and place directly on the grill. Cook for another 5 minutes, turning once or twice to get the nice grill marks on each side. Remove to a plate to cool slightly while we make the rest of the salad.
  3. Combine the red onion, bell pepper, and cucumber in your serving bowl.
  4. Working with one ear of corn at a time, hold by the thick end, place the thinner end at the bottom of a bowl, and using a sharp knife start slicing down the sides of the ear to remove the kernels. Repeat on the second ear of corn. Transfer corn to the bowl with the red onion, pepper and cucumber.
  5. In a small bowl, combine the dill, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Whisk in the olive oil. Pour dressing over the vegetables, toss and serve!

Grilled Corn Salad
Happy Eating :-)
mally