Food for the Taste Conscious

I like to eat relatively healthy. Don’t get me wrong, during Boozy Cake Week I did more than my fair share of sampling, but, on a day to day basis I’m always looking for more recipes that are healthy and……get this….tasty. Hard to believe, but they do exist.

A couple of months ago I picked up Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Cooking*. The photos are lush, and the information is well written and well presented. She takes you through how to create a natural foods pantry for your home including alternatives to common grains, sweeteners, and oils and then shows you what to cook with your new ingredients. 

Heidi is also the culinary genius behind 101 Cookbooks. I, like Swanson, have a bit of a book collecting problem. I see a cookbook, pick it up, all day long I have good luck! It works like that, right?!

So Super Natural Cooking has been sitting on my bookshelf collecting dust and many dog-eared promises. When I finally opened the book again this past weekend I remembered why I had gotten it. The colors and dishes in the book literally spring off the page begging you to eat them, and since paper doesn’t taste very good I decided it was time to make one of these recipes.

I flipped through the book, eyes closed, and landed on this wheat berry salad. I had even, back in September, taken the time to write a grocery list for myself. Destiny.

Wheat Berries, are not a fruit, but kernels of wheat. They are what you grind to get flour. In their whole form, like this, they don’t make cakes or breads, but they are equally delicious. The flavor is a little nutty; the texture is chewy with a little bite (not as much bite as quinoa), and they go well in salads or soups.

Link is always ready to investigate anything new. He has this way of sitting very far away from the thing he’s interested in, pretending he’s not interested, and then slowly doing a belly crawl closer and closer. Like maybe I wouldn’t notice him advancing on me. 

Yes, sometimes I shoot on my floor. Hey! The light is better sometimes.

Wheat Berry Salad with Citrus, Toasted Pine Nuts, Feta and Spinach
Super Natural Cooking by Heidi Swanson

  • 2 c. wheatberries
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 6 c. water
  • Spinach leaves, washed and stemmed 
  • Toasted pine nuts
  • Feta

In a large saucepan combine water, wheat berries and salt. Bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer for about an hour ** or until berries are plump and chewy. Drain water and place in serving bowl.

To toast pine nuts: In a large skillet, place nuts in a single layer over medium heat. Toss every few minutes. Make sure not to walk away, it only takes an instant to burn a batch.

Citrus Dressing

  • Zest and juice from one orange
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice 
  • 1 tbsp minced shallots
  • 1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil

Combine lemon and orange juices, zest and shallots in a bowl. Whisk in olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste if needed.

Toss hot wheat berries, spinach, pine nuts and dressing. Top with feta and serve. 

-Patrice

* Super Natural Cooking is a couple years old. Last year she released Super Natural Every Day same lush pictures and more healthy recipes for every day cooking. I don’t own it yet, but I’ll probably be it picking up soon. You know, for good luck.

**To cut down on cook time you could soak your wheat berries for a couple hours or even overnight.

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