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 areย 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 ๐Ÿ™‚
mally

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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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 Bibleย (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 ๐Ÿ™‚
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 ย 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:

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Happy Eating ๐Ÿ™‚
mally