Monday, February 21, 2011

Roasted Vegetable, White Bean, and Wheat Berry Salad

It's been one of those weeks. Those weeks where you just want to run away from life's many problems and worries. When all you want to do is absolutely nothing and worry about absolutely nothing. But you can't. So instead, you cook something in a lame attempt to cheer yourself up and get your mind off of life's many problems. Yeah, I'm having one of those weeks. So I decided to roast some vegetables, even though they're summer vegetables and it's still pretty much winter. Planting summer squash, cherry tomatoes, and fresh basil and reaping the garden's bounty seems like so long  ago, but this salad brought it back, if only for a little while. Feel free to play around with the vegetables. Use what you like. I just found this particular combination to be very colorful and tasty. The salad is a  meal in itself with plenty of vegetables, protein from the beans, whole grains from the wheat berries, and healthy fats from the olives. I packed it for lunch today and it really kept me full.

Roasted Vegetable, White Bean, and Wheat Berry Salad
2 medium zucchini, diced
1 medium yellow summer squash, diced
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, cut lengthwise
1 small orange bell pepper, chopped to roughly same size as zucchini and squash to ensure uniform cooking
1/2 onion, again, chopped same size as other vegetables
3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
10 pitted kalamata olives, halved
1 cup cooked white beans
2 cups cooked wheat berries*
fresh basil leaves
sea salt
olive oil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place zucchini, squash, tomatoes, bell pepper, onion, and garlic, on a large glass baking dish. Add olive oil to coat and sprinkle with salt. Be sure all the tomatoes are "seeds side up" so they don't stick to the pan. Roast in the oven for about 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are nicely softened, but not overcooked.

When the vegetables are done, put them in a large bowl. Add the cooked wheat berries, cooked white beans, olives, and shredded basil leaves. Mix thoroughly. Taste and add salt if necessary. Keeps very well in the refrigerator for a few days. This recipe makes about 6 small servings

*Wheat berries should be soaked overnight in a bowl with water. In the morning, drain them and put them in a pot with new water to cover them about 3 inches. Bring water to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes until some of the berries crack and they're chewy and tender to taste. Drain.


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