This is a wonderfully nutritious salad that utilizes grains instead of greens. Give it a try!
• 2 cups cooked wheat berries (or favorite whole grain)*
• 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
• 2 Tablespoons olive oil
• 1-1/2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
• 1 teaspoon Celtic sea salt (more or less to taste)
• 3/4 cups tightly packed fresh mint leaves
• 2 teaspoons grated orange zest (from 2 oranges)
• 1 small green apple
• 1 small red apple
• 1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped (optional)
• 1-2 Tablespoons agave nectar or mild honey**
To cook the grain: bring 2-1/2 cups of water and 1 cup of grain to a boil cover and reduce the heat and simmer until the grain is tender. Conventional cooking will take at least and hour. I use my pressure cooker. I combine the grain and water and lock the lid into place. On high heat bring the pressure up to the second red ring, reduce the heat to maintain pressure and cook for about 20 minutes. I let the pressure naturally release then open the lid to let the grain cool. If the grain is not quite done, lock the lid in place and bring pressure back up and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Prepare the dressing:
Combine orange juice, oil, vinegar, and salt and 1/2 cup of the mint in a blender. (Tribest personal blender works great!)
Put the cooled cooked grain in a medium bowl. Pour the dressing over them and toss to coat. Stir in the orange zest. Set aside for at least 15 minutes. Toss occasionally.
Meanwhile, core the unpeeled apples and cut them into 1/4 inch chunks. To slice the mint leaves: stack the remaining leaves and roll them into a log. Slice them as thinly as you can. Toss them into the salad along with the apples and hazelnuts. Add more salt if needed.
*1 cup of dry grains yields 2 – 2-1/2 cups cooked.
*I use Kamut instead of wheat berries because I love kamut.
**I also add about 1-2 tablespoons of agave nectar to sweeten. I feel it brings out the orange flavor a little better. You could use a mild honey as well.