Just back from beautiful Goa, a short and very sweet vacation! Highlight of our trip? The food, of course! Chicken xacuti, calamari cafreal, pork vindaloo, prawn baffad, fish rice curry, prawn balchao, rava fried fish, bebinca….we just couldn’t stop eating the scrumptious delights Goa had to offer. After all that fabulously indulgent food, this salad is just what the doctor ordered. Light and refreshing, healthy and fun….just look at the colors on the plate!!
I decided to use cracked wheat or dalia in this salad. Though this humble grain is very versatile, it’s most commonly used for making porridge, sweet and savory. You can incorporate it in everyday cooking in so many ways. Add it to your bakes- breads, muffins, cookies; use it for making pilafs, upma, dosa, halwa, burger patties, you can even add it in soups instead of pasta and of course salads.
Wholegrain foods, such as cracked wheat, contribute towards maintaining healthy body weight. Its an excellent source of fiber as it contains wheat bran and wheat germ. Its also full of magnesium, which is essential for those enzymes which contribute to insulin secretion and for releasing glucose into the bloodstream. Hence its daily consumption can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
I soaked cracked wheat in hot water for a few minutes instead of cooking it. After soaking the texture is quite nutty and has a bite to it. We love it this way. If you like a softer texture, simply cook it in plenty of water and drain it. Just be careful that it doesn’t turn mushy. Soft or al dente, the cracked wheat should be fluffy to be used in a salad and not a sticky glug!
Roasted tomatoes and garlic add such a zing to this simple salad. Just toss them with some olive oil, salt & pepper and roast them in your oven at 200C for about 20/ 30 minutes. If you don’t have cherry tomatoes handy, just use a couple of quartered regular tomatoes instead. In this recipe, we are not looking to oven drying the tomatoes, just a quick high heat roast to char them and make them lose a bit of their liquid. End result is a soft, very flavorful , caramelized tomato. Sooooo good!
Roasting garlic makes it soft and mellow, with almost a sweet buttery texture. You can roast a few whole heads of garlic and keep them refrigerated. This will fill your kitchen with this unbelievably insanely delicious aroma! Spread it on some crusty bread, on your pizza toasts, add it to your pastas, sautéed veg, dips, soups,even your everyday omelette…give your food that oomph!
As much as I love avocados, they can be a bit tricky to use! I buy one every once in a while and NEVER get it right. Either its over ripe or too under done. Until I came upon this post. It’s quite helpful in figuring out when to use them. Thanks to following this article….this avocado was just perfect! Hallelujah! Do sprinkle some lemon juice on the cut avocado as it has a tendency to brown fairly quickly.
Cracked wheat (Dalia) – 300gms
Roasted cherry tomatoes – 15
Roasted garlic – 8 cloves
Cucumber – 2, sliced
Sprouted lentils – 75 gms ( lightly cooked)
Red bell pepper – 1, sliced thinly
Yellow bell pepper – 1, sliced thinly
Avocado – 1, sliced
Lemon juice – 3 lemons
Red wine vinegar – 2 Tbsp
Extra virgin olive oil – 4 Tbsp
Smoked paprika – 1 tsp
Salt & pepper to taste
How to :
Pour lightly salted boiling hot water on cracked wheat, enough to cover it. Let it soak, covered, for about 15- 20 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Drain well again. Let cool.
In a large bowl, combine all the vegetables with cracked wheat and sprouts.
For the dressing : Put all the dressing ingredients in a screw top jar and shake till well emulsified.
Pour over the salad and mix gently. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Let the salad rest in the refrigerator for an hour or so, for the flavors to meld.
Serves 4 generously.