Wheat (or Spelt) Berry Salad with Almond (or goat) Cheese and Dried Figs (or raisins)

Dinner tonight was a bit more of a summery dish – given that I served it at room temp. But, it was very tasty, so I thought I’d share it. I did make a few changes from the original recipe from Vegetarian Times – as you can see from the title of this post. First, I roasted the fennel bulb (it is fresh in the original recipe) and I only had Spelt Berries, so I used those rather than Wheat Berries. Also, the recipe called for chopped green olives. I skipped those because the kids don’t like them. But, if you want to add them, it calls for 16 large green olives, chopped. Oh – and it called for raisins – but I used dried figs. You could do either. And, finally, I substituted my almond cheese for the goat cheese.  Oh, the many options in just one dish!

Ingredients:

1 cup wheat berries

2 x 15 oz can chick peas (or 3 cups cooked)

2 fennel bulbs, chopped

4 green onions, trimmed and thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)

1/2 cup raisins (I used dried figs, chopped)

5 oz. fresh arugula + 5 oz. baby spinach

3/4 cup Marie’s homemade almond cheese (the actual recipe called for goat cheese – so if you want to go vegetarian rather than vegan, you can use that)

1/4 cup shelled pistachio nuts, coarsely chopped

1. To make the wheat berries (or spelt berries), bring 3 cups or water or veggie broth to a boil with 1 cup of wheat berries. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and let simmer for about 1 hour. Cool in covered pan, then drain if necessary

2. Preheat oven to 350. While wheat berries are cooking, chop the fennel bulb. Spread over baking sheet (sprayed with olive oil spray) and bake in oven for about 15 minutes. You can also skip this step and serve this dish with fresh fennel.

3. Toss together wheat berries, chickpeas, fennel, raisins (figs), green onions and olives (if using). Add the almond cheese or goat cheese and stir.

4. Make the dressing: 4 tbsp. balsamic vinegar and 4 tbsp agave nectar or honey. I added 1 tsp. toasted sesame oil (because I can’t seem to get enough of it).  Mix well.

5. To serve, toss arugula/spinach with 4 tbsp. of the dressing. Mix the rest of the dressing with the wheat (spelt) berry/chickpea mixture. Then, in a bowl, put the arugula/spinach salad in the bowl and top with the wheat berry/chickpea mixture.

Lovely.

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