Spelt is one of those ingredients I always try to have on-hand in my pantry for simple spelt salad recipes, like this one.
It's amazing how much just a bit of spelt can add to a salad's bulk, making it more filling without adding a meat protein or tofu -- high-protein spelt takes care of that. And while it does take a bit of time to cook, you can store the cooked spelt in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a week and add it to your lunchtime salads all week long.
Spelt and kamut, which I also occasionally use in this salad, are ancient or heirloom grains related to wheat. You can cook and eat the whole berry, which has a nutty flavor and a texture similar to cooked wheat berries. I especially love that you can cook the spelt or kamut and toss it, hot, with whatever vinaigrette you choose to use. That way, the spelt berries themselves soak up some of that awesome flavor.
Spelt Salad Recipe with Arugula, Spinach and Pickled Red Onions
150 grams spelt or kamut berries
1 red onion
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. sugar
several handfuls mixed greens (I used arugula, baby spinach and lamb's lettuce, but use what's in season near you!)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Cook the spelt or kamut in water according to package directions.
Meanwhile, slice the red onion fairly thinly and place it in a separate saucepan. Cover with the vinegar and sugar. Cook over high heat about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Allow to marinate on the stovetop until the kamut or spelt has finished cooking (usually about 1 hour or a bit less).
When the spelt is cooked, toss the red onion and whatever vinegar remains with the spelt. Stir until well combined and place in the fridge until chilled.
When ready to serve, place a bed of mixed greens on each plate. Season the greens with salt and pepper.
Top with a spoonful of the spelt and red onion mixture. Season again with salt and pepper, and drizzle with a touch of olive oil.
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Image: Emily Monaco