Spelt Berry Salad with Cucumber Ribbons
If you can boil water, you can cook spelt berries! This whole grain dates back thousands of years to ancient civilizations and lucky for us, spelt is gaining more popularity. Because of their wonderful nutty texture and flavor, spelt berries can be enjoyed in both sweet and savory recipes. Try this savory salad for a refreshing summer meal!
What (your ingredients):
3 ½ cups water
1 cup spelt berries
Pinch of salt
½ pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1 tablespoon olive oil, infused with basil and mint (Bonus Recipe to follow)
1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
How (your directions):
Add water, a pinch of salt, and spelt berries to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook spelt berries until all water is absorbed, about 35 minutes.
Meanwhile, use a vegetable peeler on a large cucumber to create ribbons. Once you have gotten to the seeds on one side, rotate the cucumber to create more ribbons.
Continue this process until all four sides of cucumber have been “peeled.” Reserve the seeded part of cucumber for another use.
Add cucumber ribbons to a large bowl along with the halved cherry tomatoes.
To create dressing, whisk together infused oil, aged balsamic vinegar, a pinch of salt and pepper.
Hint: the longer balsamic vinegar is aged, the thicker and sweeter it becomes, making for a spectacular dressing.
When the spelt berries have absorbed all the water, add them to the bowl with the cucumber ribbons and cherry tomatoes. Dress with the infused olive oil dressing (or simply with your favorite vinaigrette) and serve immediately warm, or enjoy cold!
Why (the science): For those that have a wheat intolerance, spelt berries may offer a tolerable alternative! Spelt berries are not gluten-free, but because they are a whole grain, they pack a hefty dose of both protein and fiber.
Bonus Recipe: Basil and Mint Infused Olive Oil
Add a handful of fresh basil, a handful of fresh mint, and ½ cup of olive oil to a food processor or blender.
Blend until almost smooth, and then filter oil through a strainer to create a silky smooth olive oil. Discard basil and mint from sieve, and store oil in a glass covered with plastic wrap.
Voilà, freshly infused olive oil!