I love salads—I eat some version of salad for lunch practically every day. But in the winter, I need heat. I frequently use different grains—rice, quinoa, wheatberries—to make a salad that’s warm and substantial. For this salad, I used wheatberries (but farro or a mixture of grains would work also) and made a dressing by stewing apples and onions together with ginger, a little champagne vinegar and red pepper flakes. The salad is tasty and filling without being heavy—a perfect mid-winter (or late spring--when there's still a nip in the air--) lunch. - drbabs —drbabs
Test Kitchen Notes
Drbabs’ salad is a great balance of warmth in the nutty, chewy wheatberries and a sweet and sour compote dressing that gets a flavor boost of fresh ginger and crushed pepper (both of which I was generous with), combined with cool from sweet and tart apples, fragrant fennel and peppery arugula. Each component is tasty in its own right, but together they become a balanced and irresistible whole. I could not stop eating it – we had it alongside roast chicken and I polished it off the next day for lunch. —aargersi
Wheatberries & Dressing
water and salt for cooking wheatberries
small sweet onion, cut into fine dice
small sweet apple (honeycrisp), cut into fine dice
small tart apple (Granny Smith), cut into fine dice
grated fresh ginger
red pepper flakes (optional)
champagne (or apple cider) vinegar
olive oil, depending on taste
bulb, fennel, sliced with a mandoline
small sweet apple, cored and cut into quarters, and sliced with a mandoline
small tart apple, cored and cut into quarters, and sliced with a mandoline
baby arugula, finely chopped
scallions, white and light green parts only, finely chopped
Bring salted (you should be able to taste the salt) water to a boil, and cook the wheatberries till tender but not mushy. (Mine took about an hour.) Drain and cover to keep warm.
While the wheatberries are cooking, heat the oil in a small skillet over med-high heat and sauté the onions with a pinch of salt till they are soft and translucent. Stir in the apples and ginger and continue to sauté, stirring, till the apples are soft. The onions may be golden and starting to brown. Stir in vinegar and red pepper flakes (if using) and deglaze pan, scraping up any browned bits. Reduce the heat to very low, and cover, stirring occasionally, till onions and apples are very soft and starting to melt together. Let them cook until the wheatberries are done--the apples and onions will melt together into a thick warm compote.
Also while the wheatberries and dressing are cooking, prepare the ingredients for the salad, listed below:
Stir apple-onion mixture into wheatberries till well blended. Add 1 TB olive oil and mix together. Taste. You may need more olive oil, or if you’re like me, you will prefer it on the tart side. Stir in fennel, apple, arugula and scallions. Taste and adjust seasoning to your preference. Toss walnuts into salad and serve immediately. The salad is best when slightly warm or room temperature.