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
--recipe from David (farmer's brother)
- 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.
- Mix in the parsley, mint, salt, lots of pepper, onions/scallions/shallots, and the additional ingredients of your choice.
- 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.
- Eat! Can be served alone in bowls, as a side dish, on top of lettuce, or as a bed for another dish.