BitterSweet

An Obsession with All Things Handmade and Home-Cooked

Great Grains

12 Comments

Farmers dutifully set up shop, week after week, hawking their fresh fare at the market no matter the conditions. A particularly stoic lot, they laugh in the face of adverse weather, forging ahead fearlessly where so many others would turn back. They find great bounty where most would see scarcity. Even during these lean, dark days of winter, life erupts from the soil in all rainbow hues, if only the rest of us would open our eyes wide enough to fully appreciate it.

While cravings for local berries are fierce at times, greater seasonal riches are available to quell that temptation. All it takes is a bit of care, pairing bright flavors with a range of textures, to satisfy while maximizing the available fresh produce.

Leaning more heavily on hearty cooked grains than frilly tender greens, this is a salad built to endure colder, less forgiving days. Toothsome, high-protein kamut, known in some circles as Khorasan wheat, is the backbone of this production here, another unsung hero that rarely garners the praise it truly deserves. Lest you write it off as just another one-dimensional side dish, consider the limitless possibilities it possesses for adaptation. Restorative and soothing when served warm, it’s just as satisfying prepared in advance and served chilled, for those unpredictable spikes in temperature as spring grows nearer. Transform it into a one-bowl main dish by tossing in cooked beans of any sort, and ramp up the rainbow of vegetables by adding thinly sliced radishes, shredded carrots, and/or diced avocado. Crowning the whole affair with a handful of crumbled vegan feta may be gilding the lily, but that small indulgence is the perfect foil to such a robust, no-nonsense foundation.

Having used this base as a starting point for countless culinary adventures already, I can vouch for all of these additions, but by no means are they your only options. Simply look to your local market with fresh eyes and see how many wonderful options still flourish and thrive, rather than the typical staples that may be absent. There’s still a wide world of flavor our there, ready to be discovered.

Kamut and Kale Salad

2 Cups Cooked Kamut*
6 Ounces Kale, Shredded
1/4 Red Onion, Thinly Sliced
1/4 Cup Fresh Mint Leaves, Minced
1 1/2 Cups Seedless Red Grapes, Halved
1 Pound Red Beets, Cooked, Peeled, and Sliced
Vegan Feta (Optional)

Vinaigrette:

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
1 Teaspoon Lemon Juice
1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
1/4 – 1/2 Teaspoon Salt

*To cook kamut, I typically use the pasta method, which means adding about a cup or so of grains to a generous measure of water; at least 4 or 5 cups. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 45 – 60 minutes until the grains are tender but still toothsome, and drain off the excess water. This ensure the perfect texture every time without the threat of having anything stick and burn on the bottom of the pot. Measure out what you need for the recipe and store any extra in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

If you’d like to serve this salad warm or hot, begin assembly as soon as the kamut is fully cooked. Otherwise, chill the cooked grains for at least two hours before proceeding.

Preparation is very straightforward, and I have a feeling you could probably figure it out just by looking at the list of ingredients. In any event, toss the cooked kamut, kale, onion, mint, grapes, and beets together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together all oil, vinegar, lemon juice, and mustard, adding salt to taste. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and grains, mixing thoroughly to coat. Top with crumbled vegan feta, if desired. Enjoy!

Makes 4 – 6 Servings

Printable Recipe

Advertisements

Author: Hannah (BitterSweet)

Author of My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts, Vegan a la Mode, and Easy as Vegan Pie.

12 thoughts on “Great Grains

  1. I haven’t tried kamut, Hannah, but one lesser-known grain we really like is farro. I imagine that could be substituted here to good effect. No matter the grain, this salad looks delicious and I’m sure tastes as good as it looks. As for the people working at farmer’s markets, they have to be a hardy lot! I worked at one some years back, selling chevre, and although it was a lot of fun overall, you have to be there no matter the weather. While a customer can hurry through the market on a miserable day, all the vendors are there for the duration.

    janet

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’ve read my mind! Farro was the runner up grain of choice, but I wanted to diversify a bit more. Serious kudos for sticking it out for any amount of time working at a farmers market. I have nothing but respect for the folks who do that hard work year after year. I can barely get myself out of the house at the merest hint of rain!

      Like

      • Of course, not only do they have to stand there, they’ve had to pick all the produce, pack it (or whatever else they sell), be sure they have change/snacks/hot or cold drinks/etc., then drive to the market. When it’s done, there’s still much to be done.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This looks wonderful, such vibrant colors and flavors. It’s been ages since I bought kamut, thanks for reminding me to add it to my shopping list!

    Like

  3. Saving this one for when winter hits.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yum! Do you make your own feta and have a recipe you could share or do you have a store-bought brand favorite?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes indeed! I linked to it in the recipe, and it’s actually a spin-off of one printed in Vegetarian Times magazine ages ago. This is a more paired-down version without added herbs or seasonings, but it’s a great base to dress up and flavor in different ways, too. :)

      Like

  5. Delicious! Fabulous colors too.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Saving this one for when winter hits.

    Like

  7. Great looking salad:) I have yet to try kamut..

    Like

  8. Pingback: Kamut and Kale Salad - Yum Goggle

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s