My goal is to eat at least one salad every day. It’s a good way to pack in some nutrient-dense raw vegetables.
I don’t always meet that goal. Some times of year it’s harder than others.
When it’s sunny out and fresh produce abounds, no problem. When the ground is covered in a layer of snow, it can be a little more difficult to get motivated for something cold on my plate.
I’ve found that if I have a hearty salad with something substantive and/or a warm element on top, it’s a lot easier to pack in all of those fresh green vegetables as well.
Lately I’ve been into kale and wheat berry salads with lemon tahini dressing.
The salad base is a mixture of kale and green leaf lettuce. I like to vary the textures to keep things interesting bite by bite.
It also includes grated carrot, bell pepper, and celery. (If you’re not a kale fan, you can easily swap out some or all of it for more green leaf lettuce instead.)
Lemon tahini dressing
While I’m usually all about the cashew dressing, lately I’ve been opting for lemon tahini dressing instead.
No blender is involved, which means clean up is a breeze. Depending on my needs, I can make a little or a lot.
Nutty tahini and lemon just go together. They balance each other so simply – a bit of nuttiness and a bit of sour. And then all you need is a pinch of salt and water until it has the consistency of dressing.
The thing with tahini dressing, though, is that there’s always some adjusting involved.
First off, tahini varies by brand. Some are runny, and some are dry.
You may or may not buy a brand that doesn’t require stirring. If stirring is required, and you didn’t stir well, there may be a layer of oil on top and crusty dregs at the bottom of the jar.
Depending on the runniness of your brand, the amount of water you’ll need in the dressing will vary.
Also, if I’m using tahini as a sauce or on a lighter green, I’ll probably go for slightly less lemon juice than if I want it to hold up to a bold flavor like kale.
So as with all cooking, it’s best to taste as you go and adjust based on your needs and preferences.
Wheat berries make this salad extra filling
For added protein and staying power, wheat berries are added to the mix. Wheat berries don’t get a lot of press, but they’re a hearty and filling grain.
I don’t really care for small grains or pseudo-grains. I want something that I can chew. So brown rice, barley, and wheat berries get more love from me than quinoa or millet.
For this recipe, I used hard red spring wheat berries. If you don’t have wheat berries, feel free to use barley or brown rice instead. You’ll just need to adjust the water & cooking time to fit your particular choice.
When the temperatures are right, this salad goes particularly well as a side for grilled tofu with lemon & rosemary.
How long does it keep?
This salad keeps well in the refrigerator for a few days, as long as you keep the lemon tahini dressing in a separate container.
I also like to add this salad to wraps with the plant protein of my choosing and a drizzle of lemon tahini dressing inside.
Kale & wheat berry salad with lemon tahini dressing
- 1/2 cup wheat berries
- 1 3/4 cups water
- Pinch salt
- 3 cups chopped curly kale
- 2 cups chopped green leaf lettuce
- 1 medium-sized carrot grated
- 1 celery stalk sliced
- 1/2 red bell pepper chopped
For lemon tahini dressing
- 3 Tablespoons tahini
- 2 to 3 Tablespoons water
- 2 to 3 teaspoons lemon juice
- Pinch salt
To make kale & wheat berry salad
- Put wheat berries, water, and a pinch of salt into medium pot. Bring to a boil, and then lower to a simmer. Cover with a lid and simmer for an hour, until the wheat berries are tender. Drain any excess liquid from the wheat berries and set aside.
- In a large salad bowl, briefly massage kale with hands. Then add green leaf lettuce, carrot, celery, and bell pepper to the bowl. Toss in the wheat berries and combine.
- Spoon salad into 4 bowls and top with lemon tahini dressing.
To make lemon tahini dressing
- In a medium sized bowl, combine tahini, 2 Tablespoons of water, 2 teaspoons of lemon juice, and a pinch of salt. If the mixture is too thick, slowly add in additional water until it has the consistency of a thick ranch dressing. Taste and add the final teaspoon of lemon juice, if you'd prefer it to be more sour. (Kale is a strong flavor, and so I usually opt for 3 teaspoons of lemon juice total. That acidity holds up to the kale.)