Today I'm sharing my recipe for a warm salad that combines cooked spelt berries with sautéed kale, apple + walnuts. Tossed with a cinnamon-spiced balsamic vinaigrette, this salad is the perfect addition to your plant-based holiday table.
It's hard to believe that Thanksgiving is already less than a month away - and that it's already time to talk about the next dish in my wholesome plant-based holiday menu plan. (You can find the first recipe, Butternut Squash Soup with Kale Chips here.)
Anyone else eat less salads during the winter months? I find myself less interested in raw salads and more into cooked veggies, soups, and stews this time of year. Luckily, most salads can also be enjoyed warm and there's plenty of nutrition that remains after cooking.
This warm salad features:
- Spelt berries: Spelt is an ancient grain and source of healthy complex carbohydrates. Spelt berries are an excellent source of fiber, manganese, phosphorous, magnesium, and copper + also provides iron, zinc, and thiamin.
- Apple: Apples are one of my favorite autumn fruits. They provide dietary fiber, vitamin C (an antioxidant), and phytonutrients. I also used apple to create natural sweetness in this dish.
- Kale: Kale belongs to the high-fiber cruciferous family (along with broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower) and is super nutrient dense. Kale is an ahhh-mazing source of vitamins K, A, and C, is rich in manganese and copper, and also provides vitamin B6.
- Walnuts: Walnuts are an awesome source of plant-based omega 3's, which help lower inflammation and decrease risk for heart disease. Walnuts also contain biotin, a B vitamin important for healthy hair and nails.
Have you ever tried spelt berries? I just recently began cooking with them - in fact, testing this recipe was the very first time! I love their flavor and texture but you could also substitute with wheat berries or farro (or any ancient grain!) if that's what you have on hand.
To cut down on cooking time, cook the spelt berries ahead of time and store them in the fridge or freezer. The completed recipe also keeps well, so this is definitely a holiday dish that you can also fully prepare beforehand and just reheat the day of. So easy!
Warm Spelt Berry Salad with Cinnamon Balsamic Vinaigrette
- 1 cup spelt berries or wheat berries
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- ½ tsp pure maple syrup
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 2 tsp grapeseed oil or cooking oil of choice
- ½ onion diced
- 1 cup kale chopped
- 1 apple diced
- ½ cup walnuts
- 2 tsp fresh sage finely chopped
- Add 1 cup spelt berries to 3 cups of boiling water. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 60-80 minutes. (Reduce cooking time to 40-60 minutes if grains soaked overnight.)
- While spelt berries are cooking, whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, and cinnamon. Set aside.
- Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 5-6 minutes. Add cooked spelt berries, kale, apple, and walnuts and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes. Toss with vinaigrette and transfer to serving bowl. Enjoy!
Do you find yourself eating more cooked veggies during the winter months? What are your favorite fall veggie-packed dishes? Share your ideas in the comments section below!