Wheat Berry Kale Salad with Rhubarb-Ginger Vinaigrette

wheat-berry-kale-salad-3 When I tell people about this blog and its focus on seasonal eating, often they will ask me if I’m one of those locavores who only eats things grown within the state. And my reply is no…because I live to eat clementines in the winter in my attempts to avoid scurvy.

Their next question is usually: So, do you have one of those CSA farm shares? And I tell them another no as all of the credibility seeps slowly out of my words. We’ve never done a CSA before – mostly because I like to garden (when I’m not newly pregnant or having a newborn, which is basically never), and because I LOVE going to the farmers market.

I love everything about it. The colors. The browsing of different vendors. The live music. The coffee and pastries. The chance to pretend, for just five minutes, that I’m in another country where open air markets are an everyday part of life.

wheat-berry-kale-salad-dressing

Rhubarb Vinaigrette

But when Sarah of Uproot Farm contacted me a few months ago and offered a CSA share in exchange for my work developing recipes for her CSA newsletter each week, I couldn’t pass it up.

The farm is located just a little north of Minneapolis and grows a large variety of vegetables, using only the most excellent of organic practices. Because Uproot Farm is located on what was formerly conventionally farmed land, Uproot is still in the process of transitioning the land to be deemed certifiably organic by the USDA, which is slated to happen in 2015.

Image from uprootfarm.com

Image from uprootfarm.com

So, we’re doing our first CSA this year, and I am so excited. Opening our first box was like Vegetable Christmas, and figuring out a way to put those farm-fresh veggies on a plate has been so much furn for me (partly because I’ve been binge-watching  Master Chef Junior on our Hulu-plus free trial. Watching those nine-year olds cook is equal parts awe and jealousy for me. Totally addicted.)

csa - wheat berry

About once a week through this growing season, I’ll be posting a recipe here that will have also been included in the farm’s newsletter that is sent out with each box. My goal is to include several different veggies from each week’s box to help her shareholders use up those well-grown veggies. And, you know, to stuff my face with Uproot’s delicious goods and perhaps finally kick the germs that seem to have been living with us since January.

This week’s CSA recipe included an item I’d never cooked with before: wheat berries. Wheat berries are the entire wheat kernel (minus the hull) and therefore FULL of nutrients. You cook them essentially like you would rice, and they are fantastic as a substitute for rice, quinoa, or couscous – especially in salads.

wheat-berry-kale-salad-2

I used baby kale and bok choy and the wheat berries from the box to make this salad, as well as the rhubarb from the first week’s box to make that rhubarb-ginger vinaigrette which I’d like to pour over everything I eat for the rest of all time.

I love this salad because it’s flexible, and I can see myself making iterations of it with other greens and veggies that become available throughout the summer. Basically anything that will soak up more of that vinaigrette so I can get it in my belly.

So cheers to a new CSA adventure with Uproot Farm! I hope you check out their super informative website, or visit their stand at the Fulton Farmers Market if you’re in Minnesota. Now, go make this salad and join me in my love affair with this vinaigrette.

wheat-berry-kale-salad

Wheat Berry Kale Salad with Rhubarb-Ginger Vinaigrette

Wheat Berry Kale Salad with Rhubarb-Ginger Vinaigrette

(recipe from Carpé Season)

(yields: 4 as a side dish, 2 as a main course)

This wheat berry salad is full of nutrients and easily adapatble to whatever produce you have available. The salad keeps well and can be made ahead of time, stored in the refridgerator. The rhubarb-ginger vinaigrette can also be made-ahead and keeps for up to two weeks.

Ingredients

For the Salad:

1 cup dried wheat berries

3 cups water

pinch of salt

2 cups kale, finely chopped*

2 large handfuls sugar snap peas, shelled**

1 cup strawberries (or other berry of choice), chopped

1 cup feta, crumbled

(optional) 1 cup toasted sliced almonds (or other nut)

--

For the Rhubarb Vinaigrette (yields 1 cup):

1/2 cup rhubarb, chopped (1-2 stalks)

1/2 cup water

1/8 cup maple syrup (or sugar)

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup onion, diced

2 tsp. fresh ginger, peeled, and minced

1/4 cup vegetable oil

salt and pepper, to taste

--------------------

*You can replace the kale with 1 cup bok choy leaves & 1 cup bok choy stems, both finely chopped. You could also use any other mild green in its place.

**If using young, tender snap peas, you can also trim then chop up the pods and add them to the salad; mine were a little tough, so I opted to shell them and just use the peas inside.

Instructions

Cook the Wheat Berries:

Heat a saucepan over medium heat. Place wheat berries in pan and toast, stirring frequently, for about 3 minutes until fragrant and nutty. Add 3 cups water, pinch of salt, and increase heat to high. Bring wheat berries to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 40-50 minutes until tender and chewy. Drain and set aside to cool.

Prepare the Vinaigrette:

Meanwhile, prepare the vinaigrette. Place rhubarb and water in a small sauce pan and simmer for 5 minutes (uncovered) until just tender but not soggy. Remove from heat and allow to cool. While rhubarb cooks & cools, combine maple syrup (or sugar) and cider vinegar in a small bowl. Stir in the onions and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes; this will tone down the stregnth of the onion. Once rhubarb is cool, combine the rhubarb (and any remaining water), onion mixture, ginger, and vegetable oil in a food processor and process until smoothe. Season with salt and pepper to taste.{Alternately, you can dice the vinaigrette ingredients very small and simply shake together in a lidded container). (Any extra dressing will keep in a covered container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks).

Toast the Nuts, if using:

To toast the nuts, heat a saucepan over medium heat. Add nuts, and toast for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until golden brown and fragrant. Remove from pan and set aside.

Assemble Salad:

Once wheat berries are cool, combine them with the kale, the peas, berries, and feta.Toss gently with the vinaigrette - add just a little bit at a time, to taste. Top with nuts just before serving (reserve any excess nuts for leftovers separate from the salad or they will become soggy). Store any leftover salad in a covered container in the fridge for 3-5 days.

 

You might also like:


10 thoughts on “Wheat Berry Kale Salad with Rhubarb-Ginger Vinaigrette

  1. 1. This salad is gorgeous
    2. This the most creative use of rhubarb that I’ve ever seen (and I grew up in Minnesota, so I’ve seen a lot of uses).

    Definitely going to try out the dressing next time I make it to the farmer’s market.

  2. SO SO delicious! I made the dressing exactly as you did but I didn’t have all the salad ingredients so I substituted nectarines for strawberries, quinoa for wheat berries, and arugula for the kale (it had self seeded all over my garden!) and had to leave out the peas. I also added a couple handfuls of mint and parsley. I will make this again and probably change the ingredients all over again.
    This dressing is one of my new favourites! Thanks so much.

    • I’m so glad you liked it, and yes, this salad is highly adaptable – perfect for using up what the garden has to offer all summer. The nectarines sound awesome in this!

  3. As one of those locavores I have to admit I’m a little jealous about the CSA share – what a nifty deal!! (and come January – I’m sure my scurvy and I will be eyeing your clementines too!!) Thanks for the link and for sharing another gorgeous recipe!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Current ye@r *