Monday, May 17, 2010

strawberry salad - for z

There are hundreds of things I absolutely love about Summer.  Summer salads are right there at the top of that list.  And this one is so very easy!  It is a strawberry and wheat berry salad.  I have been cooking with wheat berries a lot these days, and am totally digging them.  They are super tasty and incredibly healthy.

A couple notes regarding the list above... 

1.  I find my wheat berries from our local Coop.  My guess would be that most natural food grocers would carry them.  Even larger grocery stores may carry them as well in the bulk aisles.  If you cannot find them - you can substitute quinoa or cous cous, for an equally tasty result.  

2.  In terms of how much of each of the listed items above.... well, I find that that is totally up to you!  Play around with the ratio of spinach to wheat berries and see what you like.  If you are looking for more of a MEAL out of your salad, then definitely consider a more wheat berry heavy salad.  I usually use around 1/2 cup of dry wheat berries, and aim to match it equally with spinach. 

The first step in preparing this salad is to cook your wheat berries.  Cooking wheat berries is a simple process, however it is more time intensive than quinoa or cous cous.  There are thousands of helpful sites out there that will provide you with lots of tips and instructions to cooking the perfect pot of wheat berries - for example this one.  FYI - my instructions below do not mention soaking your wheat berries.  The few times I have made this salad I skipped this step, however, I am sure it is beneficial, I just did not realize it was required until taking the time to do this research for this post!  So, soak your wheat berries!

1. Measure 1 cup dry - pre-soaked - wheat berries - pour into sauce pan.  Add 4 cups of water.  Bring to a boil, then turn dial to simmer - and cover sauce pan.  Let sit for about an hour.  Check them to see if they are done.  You will know they are done when they begin to split and are chewy.  Dump them in a strainer and run cold water over them.  Place them in your refrigerator to cool while you continue prepping the remainder of the salad. 

2.  Chop your strawberries.

3.  In a large salad bowl dump your spinach...

cooled off wheat berries,

your chopped strawberries, 

gorgonzola cheese and walnuts.

Add fresh squeezed lemon and some olive oil.  You do not need much, as the strawberries and cheese are so flavorful.  Salt and pepper to taste.  

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