Recipe by Little Mimi
Here is a delicious salad containing lentils, wheat berries, barley, and brown rice in a pesto-like sauce. It can serve as a main dish or a side dish, and would be perfect for a potluck. My guests at dinner parties often ask for the recipe. The recipe was adapted from Michael McLaughlin's "Cooking for the Weekend" and was published in the New York Times. The original recipe is vegetarian-friendly; however, if you like, add some cooked sweet Italian sausage. Preparation time is 1 1/2 hours, plus soaking time.
- 1 cup wheat berries, soaked in cold water for 24 hours
- 5 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
- 1⁄2 cup pearl barley
- 1⁄4 cup brown rice
- 1 cup lentils, preferably brown
- 1 1⁄2 cups packed fresh basil leaves, plus additional sprigs for garnish
- 3⁄4 cup olive oil
- 1⁄3 cup sherry wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 8 ounces white mushrooms or 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, wiped clean, trimmed and sliced thin
- 1 lb sweet Italian sausage, casings removed (optional)
Directions See How It's Made
- Drain the wheat berries. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Stir in the wheat berries and 2 teaspoons of the salt. Lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, 20 minutes. Stir in the barley and rice. Partly cover, and cook until the grains are just tender, about 30 minutes. Drain and cool.
- Meanwhile, bring a medium saucepan of water to boil. Stir in the lentils and 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt. Lower the heat and simmer, partly covered, until the lentils are just tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and cool. In a large bowl, combine the grains and lentils.
- In a food processor, combine the basil leaves, olive oil, vinegar, and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and the pepper. Puree until smooth. Pour the dressing over the grains and lentils, and toss.
- If desired, cook sausage in a skillet over medium heat, breaking up the clumps with a wooden spoon. When it is cooked through, drain and mix into salad.
- The salad can be prepared to this point 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate, but let the salad return to room temperature before proceeding.
- Add the mushrooms to the salad and toss well. Adjust the seasoning, and add oil if the salad seems dry. Garnish with basil sprigs.