This salad can be served as a main dish--it has a combination of grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds to provide complete proteins--or as a side dish. It is a versatile dish, too. You could easily swap out various ingredients to adjust it to your taste. For example, you could swap oranges for limes, rice for wheat berries, lentils for beans, parsley for cilantro, or roasted sweet potatoes for beets.
- 2 cups wheat berries
- 1⁄4 cup rice wine vinegar
- 15 ounces black beans (or cook your own legumes)
- 6 beets
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1 cup pumpkin seeds
- 5 diced scallions
- 1 diced bunch cilantro (approximately 1 cup after chopping)
- 2 limes (you'll use the zest and juice)
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper
- Cook the wheat berries in salted water until softened and chewy. You can either soak overnight to reduce cooking time; bring to a boil, remove from heat and then let soak a few hours in advance; or bring to a boil and simmer until cooked through. It is important to salt the water when cooking the grains so they absorb the salt and have flavor--but don't over salt!
- Once the wheat berries are cooked to your desired consistency, drain them and drizzle with the rice wine vinegar (they absorb more flavor now than when they cool).
- Heat oven to 400°F While the wheat berries are cooking, cut the tops and bottoms off the beets, peel, and cube into 1/2" pieces. In a bowl, toss cubed beets with the 2 tbsp olive oil and salt to taste. Spread evenly on a cooking sheet (preferably lined w/parchment paper for no stick cooking and easy clean-up). Cook beets until they are beginning to caramelize (approximately 30 - 45 minutes). Remove from oven and allow to cool a bit.
- In a large bowl, add cooked wheat berries, drained beans (or other legume), roasted beets, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, scallions, cilantro, lime zest and juice, and olive oil. Stir well. Taste. Season with more salt, acid (either more citrus juice or vinegar), or oil to bring the flavors in to balance.