Grain salads are endlessly variable, meaning that if you have the basic composition down, you never need a recipe to put one together. So this is a non-recipe kind of post. This version of a grain salad refelects my personal taste as well as the contents of my pantry.
There are only a few guidelines you should keep in mind when putting together a Winter Grain Salad. First up, choose and cook your grains. You want separate, intact grains that hold their shape. Drain them thoroughly and lay them out to dry in a single layer, then transfer them to a salad bowl. I like to use wheatberries and sometimes brown rice, both prepared separately.
Secondly, choose your add-ins such as grilled vegetables. You are free to roast, sauté, or grill your vegetables, or go totally raw, but make sure anything you cook cools before combining it with your other ingredients. If you use raw veggeis, make sure they are dry before using. In winter time, I like to grill some earty aubergines (aka eggplants).
Third, be very liberal with those soft herbs. My personal preference lies with Italian parsley, chives, basil and dill.
And fourth, there is that protein, which, of course, is entirely optional, especially if you're serving your grain salad as a side. My favorite here are black beluga lentils and chickpeas but I also like to add black beans every so often. You can add chicken breasts or fish if serving this as a main dish. I should add that I like to warm my chickpeas with sliced spring onions and a bit of garlic before I cool and adding them to the salad.
After all your add-ins are prepped and dried, add them to your salad bowl with the grains.
How much dressing you use depends on your salad's components. Keep in mind that the longer a grain salad sits, the more dressing it will absorb. Once your dressing is whisked together, pour it over your grains and vegetables and fold everything gently but thoroughly.
Stir some of your finishing ingredients through the salad, and leave a few to scatter over the top. Makes fro a photogenic finish. Alternately, you can stir every bit of these ingredients through and add a few more herbs for garnish, which is what I did here.
This Winter Grain Salad is a wonderful, versatile and healthy dish. Serve either as a main or as a side dish and let your taste and imagination, and, of course, the contents of your cupboard, be your guide!