Wheat Berry and Roasted Root Vegetable Salad with Microgreens

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups wheat berries, soaked for one hour prior to cooking
2 ½ quarts water or chicken stock (if using water, add 1 tablespoon sea salt)
1 bay leaf
2 pounds assorted root vegetables, peeled and cut into small cubes (parsnips, beets, butternut squash, rutabagas, carrots, celery root, etc.)
1 large red onion, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar or sherry vinegar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons high quality olive oil
1/2 cup golden raisins, cranberries or cherries, coarsely chopped
Splash of lemon juice, tangerine juice or vinegar, if desired
1 cup (or more, if desired) pea microgreens or argula microgreens

METHOD:

Preheat the oven to 400ºF.

Bring 2 1/2 quarts of water or stock to a boil. Add the soaked wheat berries and bay leaf and cook until tender, but still chewy, about 50 – 60 minutes.

Place cubed vegetables and diced onion in a plastic zip lock bag. Add fresh thyme and rosemary leaves, salt and freshly ground pepper to taste, balsamic vinegar and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Toss the vegetables cubes to coat with oil and seasoning. Spread vegetables in an even layer on rimmed baking sheet. Place in the lower third of the oven and roast vegetables for about 20 – 25 minutes, or until caramelized on the outside and cooked through on the inside, stirring once while cooking.

When wheat berries are cooked, drain well and remove bay leaf. Transfer the wheat berries to a large bowl.

Add 1/2 cup of olive oil and stir in the raisins or cranberries. Check for seasoning, adding more salt if bland. Allow mixture to cool slightly.

Gently mix in the roasted vegetables. Again, check for seasoning and add more salt and freshly ground pepper. If desired, add a splash of citrus juice or vinegar to add a little acidity for balance.*

Right before serving, gently mix in microgreens, taking care not to break up the seedlings too much. Serve salad slightly warm or at room temperature.

*Nadine Frush of SaladSuccess.com suggests a variation for this salad using a sherry-shallot. “Add a shallot vinaigrette: 3 tablespoons of olive oil, one tablespoon of sherry or balsamic vinegar, 1/2 tablespoon of French Dijon mustard, dash of salt and pepper, one finely chopped clove of garlic, and whisk well.”

VARIATIONS: This is a very versatile salad and is easily changed with the addition of a handful of one or more of the following ingredients:

  • Toasted walnuts, pecans, or pinenuts
  • Lemon or orange zest
  • Chopped parsley
  • Arugula
  • Sauteéd mushrooms
  • Crumbled feta or gorgonzola cheese
  • Top with sliced grilled chicken or roasted lamb