Maybe you’ve found yourself in this situation.
I planned my menu for a 4th of July cookout — heavy on grilled meats, and the day before, I learn that our daughter, a vegetarian would be able to join us. I was thrilled and wanted to offer her something more substantial that grilled veggies and tomato cucumber salad. A quick trip to Sprouts and I came up with this recipe.
What surprised me the most about his dish was that one of our male guests, a self-avowed carnivore, loved the wheat berry salad! That was something I never would have expected. At first I thought he was just kidding me with his compliments, but his praise was repeated more than once that day and the next time I saw him, so I think he was sincere. It just goes to show you that it’s good to step out of your comfort zone because you might find the change enjoyable.
PS — Our vegetarian daughter is now vegan. I can still serve her this dish my omitting the Parmesan cheese and buying or making vegan pesto (one that uses nutritional yeast instead of Parmesan cheese). I’ve become a big fan of nutritional yeast. It’s a deactivated yeast, sold as a powder or flakes. You can find it in most natural food stores. It’s a source of complete protein and vitamins, including B-complex vitamins. It has a strong taste that could be described as nutty or cheesy, so nutritional yeast is a popular cheese substitute for vegans. It’s a great topping for veggies, tofu, or even popcorn!
Wheat Berry Pesto Salad
Serves: 8 - 10
Something different for vegetarians and vegans, loved by meat-eaters too!
- 2 cups soft white wheat berries
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 6-ounce jar pesto (for vegan use your favorite vegan pesto)
- 2 ounces Parmesean cheese, grated (omit for vegan)
- ¾ pound raw asparagus, chopped
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)
- In a saucepan, add wheat and enough water to bring the level two inches above the wheat berries.
- Add salt and bring to a boil; simmer approximately one hour, until berries are tender but still have a little crunch and chewiness.
- Drain and rinse.
- In a bowl, combine cooked wheat berries with remaining ingredients.
- For the presentation above, place a large round cookie cutter on the plate and pack the salad into it. Carefully, lift the cookie cutter and garnish with asparagus tips.