After having great success with beet hummus, I was inspired to create a more substantial main course salad with the same flavour profile. My opportunity came soon enough with the arrival of wheat berries from my most recent CSA share. I made grated beets and carrots salad in the past but it was more along the lines of French cooking. This time, I brought out all the middle eastern ingredients I have in my pantry. Between the heady flavours of garlic, shallots, cilantro, and cumin tied together with creamy tahini and bright lemon, this salad is bold but definitely echos the familiar taste of hummus. I like the crunch of raw carrots and beets to contrast with the nutty chewy wheat berries. Toasted pistachio would be a great addition for its vibrant green colour and richness. Besides, I think it is a better fit with the middle eastern theme. Unfortunately, I don't have any at home so pecans would have to do.
This vegan main course salad is a good potluck dish or bring along for picnics. Nutritional analysis is available here.
Beets & Carrots Wheat Berries Salad (serves 8)
- 1 1/2 cup wheat berries
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup whole pecans (or better yet, shelled pistachios)
- 4 medium carrots, peeled & shredded to measure 2 cups
- 5-6 medium beets, peeled & shredded to measure 3 cups
- 20 sprigs of cilantro, chopped to measure 1 cup
- 2 large shallots, julienned
- 6 tbsp tahini
- 1 lemon
- 1 Meyer lemon
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 3 tbsp promegranate molasses (or 2 tbsp honey)
- salt & pepper to taste
- promegranate molasses, optional
- In a medium pot, bring 8 cups of water to boil. Add in wheat berries and bay leaf and about 4 tsp of sea salt. Turn the heat down and simmer for 40-60 minutes until wheat berries are soft but still slightly chewy. Drain and discard bay leaf.
- Preheat oven to 350F and toast pecans until fragrant, about 7-8 minutes. Cool and roughly chop. Set aside.
- While the wheat berries are cooking, peel and shred the carrots and beets. If you have a food processor, now is the time to bring it out!
- In a large mixing bowl, toss together shredded beets, carrots, cilantro, shallots, and pecans.
- To make the "hummus" dressing, zest and juice both lemons. I like to use the microplane for this. While your microplane is out, use it to grate the garlic cloves too. Stir together all remaining ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Adjust seasoning.
- Dress salad with the dressing. In fact, I like to do this ahead of time so the flavour has time to meld together in the fridge overnight.
- I prefer to serve over a bed of sprouts but it is just as tasty by itself. Just before serving, drizzle with additional promegranate molasses (love this stuff!) for some additional punches of sweet and tart if you want. Add a couple wedges of toasted pita, and you have yourself a nice light meal.