Whole Grain Salad

This flexible dish can be made many ways depending on your mood and what you have in your kitchen. It is loosely based on the middle-eastern dish tabouleh, with a lot of liberties taken. You can make the salad base and then add any group of the additional ingredients, or make up your own additions. The grains can be cooked a day in advance and refrigerated if you like.

  • 1 cup (dry) whole grain, either pearled barley, oat groats, wheat/spelt/rye/kamut berries, or even brown rice. My favorite is pearled barley. Traditionally, tabouleh is made with bulgar.
  • 1/3 cup+ olive oil (extra virgin if possible)
  • juice of 1+ lemon (to taste)
  • 1 or 2 large bunches of parsley, chopped fine (you want a LOT of parsley for this recipe)
  • 1 bunch mint, chopped fine
  • 1 finely chopped small red onion and/or chopped scallions and/or finely chopped shallots
  • Additional ingredients: Choose from:
    • Diced seeded cucumbers and tomatoes (most traditional version)
    • Currants, golden raisins, sweetened dried cranberries, shelled peas (in season) and capers (yes, this combination is actually good)
    • Any combination of diced seasonal vegetables, peas, fresh corn kernels, chopped dried fruit, chopped nuts, additional herbs, etc.
    • Whatever else your imagination is capable of
  • Salt and lots of pepper to taste
  1. Cook the grains. Cooking time varies depending on the grain, but typically you put the grain with water (3 cups water for each cup of barley; 2 cups water per cup of most other grains) in a pot, bring to a boil, cover, and simmer over low heat until the water is absorbed (about 40 minutes for barley, oat groats, and brown rice; 1-2 hours for wheat/rye/kamut/spelt berries). The grain should not be soggy and should be just tender enough to eat. When done, let the grains cool somewhat; drain any remaining water and then mix in the oil to stop clumping.
  2. Mix in the parsley, mint, salt, lots of pepper, onions/scallions/shallots, and the additional ingredients of your choice.
  3. Add lemon juice a tablespoon at a time until the dish tastes good, a bit sharp and lemony but not enough to make your mouth pucker.
  4. Eat! Can be served alone in bowls, as a side dish, on top of lettuce, or as a bed for another dish.
--recipe from David (farmer's brother)

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