In The Kitchen, Five Impromptu Colorful Winter Salads


Recipe: Red Wheat Berries Salad with Beets, Watercress and Goat Cheese Tossed in Clementine Vinaigrette


Wheat berries are unprocessed kernels of wheat with just the husk removed, hence reserving all the grain goodness.  I love using hard spring or winter red grains because of their nutty flavor and chewy texture, for the fact that they don’t lose their shape throughout the cooking process and that they taste even better the longer they sit in the dressing.



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2 cups hard spring or winter red wheat berries, rinsed, soaked in cold water overnight
4-to-5 red beets, scrubbed, wrapped individually in aluminum foil
Red onion, finely diced
Roasted Spanish Marcona almonds, coarsely chopped
Goat cheese, crumbled

For Clementine Vinaigrette:

Lemon zest
Garlic, minced
Orange blossom honey
Clementine juice
Aged balsamic vinegar; or aged white balsamic vinegar
Olive oil
Salt and ground black pepper

Prepare wheat berries. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add wheat berries, bring back to a boil once more and simmer uncovered on low 45-to-90 minutes until tender. The grains should have a chewy texture and a nutty flavor. Drain; set aside.

Prepare beets. Roast beets in a preheated 400F oven until a knife glides easily in-an-out; about 50-to-90 minutes. Cool before you remove foil, trim edges and rub skin off and then cut into cubes; set aside.

Prepare vinaigrette. Combine first five ingredients in a small bowl. Slowly drizzle in olive oil as you whisk until emulsified into the dressing. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.

Assemble salad. Combine wheat berries, beets, onion and almonds in a bowl and gently toss with dressing. Chill 45-to-90 minutes to allow flavors to blend. Add watercress; chill another 30 minutes or so. Top with goat cheese and serve.


Recipe: Persimmon, Spinach and Pomegranate Salad




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Fuyu persimmons that are just ripe, peeled, sliced
Baby spinach leaves
Pomegranate arils
Red onion, thinly sliced
Fennel, thinly sliced; optional
Serrano chili, minced
Walnut pieces or hazelnut halves, lightly toasted
Lime juice and zest
Balsamic vinegar
Olive oil
A few drops of walnut oil
Garlic, just a little
Cumin, salt

Combine ingredients in a bowl and toss to mix as you adjust flavors; serve immediately.


Recipe: Broccoli Slaw




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Packaged broccoli slaw mix
Red onion, finely diced – OR – green onions, thinly sliced
Celery, finely diced
Fresh cilantro leaves
Dried cranberries or raisins
Roasted almonds or toasted walnuts
Tart green apple, grated; optional

For dressing:

Apple cider vinegar
Celery seed
Garlic powder
Granulated white sugar
Salt and black pepper

Whisk dressing ingredients in a small bowl and adjust flavors to your liking.

Combine slaw ingredients in a large bowl, toss in dressing, cover, and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.


Recipe: Butternut Squash, Pumpkin and Arugula Salad with Pecorino Cheese




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1 lb butternut squash, peeled, cut into wedges or cubes
1 lb pumpkin, peeled, cut into wedges or cubes
2 tablespoons fresh marjoram leaves
2 cloves garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus an additional 2 tablespoons, divided
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus an additional 1 tablespoon
1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
Sea salt
Pinch of ground red pepper
2 small bunches arugula (rocket), trimmed
1 small bunch watercress
4 oz Pecorino Romano cheese, carefully shaved into wide long strips
Aged balsamic vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling

Process the marjoram with garlic, salt, coriander, cinnamon, cumin and 2 tablespoons olive oil.  Toss with squash and pumpkin wedges.

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Arrange wedges on a parchment lined baking sheet (I use Reynolds foil release) in a single layer.  Cover tightly with foil and bake 20-30 min until almost tender.  Uncover, increase oven temperature to 400°F and bake for about 25 minutes until lightly browned and crispy on the outside.  Cool slightly.

Transfer wedges into a bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Arrange a third of the salad on a serving bowl. To the bowl with the remaining salad, add arugula, watercress, salt and the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and lemon juice.  Top plated salad with this mixed salad.  Top with shaved cheese and drizzle balsamic vinegar and olive oil to taste.

* adapted from April Bloomfield of The Spotted Pig; from the September 2005 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine 


Recipe: Crisp Wheat Berries Salad with Figs & Raisins Tossed in Citrus Vinaigrette




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1 1/2 cups red wheat berries, rinsed, soaked overnight in cold water
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/3 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup dried figs, chopped finely
1/2 medium red onion (about 1/3 pound), finely diced
3 large stalks celery (about 1 ½ to 2 cups), finely diced
1/4 cup good-quality olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon zest, from 2 lemons
1 cup roasted almonds, roughly chopped
Handful fresh parsley or mint, finely chopped
1 teaspoon flaky sea salt
Freshly-ground black pepper, to taste

Put the wheat berries in a saucepan and cover with water.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, and then turn the heat down to low and simmer uncovered on low 45-to-90 minutes until tender.  The grains should have a chewy texture and a nutty flavor.

While the wheat berries are cooking, whisk the rice vinegar, orange juice, and honey together in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil and add the raisins and chopped figs.  Turn off the heat and let the fruit steep in the juice and vinegar mixture.

When the wheat berries are cooked, drain them, and then pour them into a large bowl with the red onion and celery.  Toss with the olive oil and lemon zest.  Add the vinegar and juice mixture, and all the fruit, and mix.  Toss with the almonds, chopped parsley or mint, and with the salt.  Add pepper to taste.

Let the salad stand at room temperature for at least one hour before serving, to allow the flavors mix and soak into the grain.  Serve warm or at room temperature (the salad can also be refrigerated for up to three days).

* adapted from chef Johnny Dornback, co-owner of Basi Italia restaurant, via the Kitchn 


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