Whole grain salad with winter roots

Need a break from the same boring salad blends? Try mixing things up with sprouts, grains, kale and shredded root vegetables. These nutrient-dense alternatives, with their deep earthy flavors and textures, can be used to make hearty and delicious salads. Whole grain and root vegetable salads are a tasty way to keep eating healthy even when cold weather limits traditional salad options. Look for root vegetables, like celeriac, black radishes, turnips, kohlrabi, beets, carrots and cabbage, at Whole Foods, farmers’ markets and natural food stores.

Cooking whole grains

Some grains, like barley or wheat, rye and spelt berries, can be simply cooked in boiling water for 45 minutes to an hour. This approach is easy in that you do not necessarily need to measure the grain or water. Other grains, like quinoa, bulgur, millet and brown rice, require specific amounts of water when being cooked. Most water to grain ratios are very similar to that of rice. Cook one cup of quinoa, bulgur, millet or brown rice with two cups of water. If you plan to cook more than one grain, cook each of the grains separately in their own pot.

Whole grain salad with kale and root vegetables

3 cups whole grains (cooked and cooled) brown rice, bulgur, quinoa, wheat, rye, and/or spelt berries
1 carrot peeled and sliced into matchsticks
1 black radish sliced into matchsticks
1 kohlrabi peeled and cut into matchsticks
2 cups shredded kale, stems removed
1/2 avocado peeled and cubed (optional)
2 scallions thinly sliced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 bunch cilantro washed and chopped
1 tablespoon Sambal (red chili paste)
1 tablespoon local maple syrup or honey
Optional additions: dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, chopped nuts

Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper and toss the ingredients with a large spoon. Check for seasoning, you may wish to add a little more vinegar or olive oil to suit your individual taste.