Thursday, July 10, 2008

Simple Summer Salad

I live in Florida, and it's July. It is mind-bogglingly, eyeball-meltingly hot outside, and there's no relief in sight until... probably October. Summer always puts a crimp in my culinary style, as I love hearty soups, potatoey dishes and other warm and cozy winter-type foods. Usually I just live in denial and keep making things like split pea soup well into August. Maybe I'm getting old, but somehow, the idea of sweating while I eat has started to lose its appeal. This summer, I'm trying to keep things light and season appropriate (I can't promise that I'll completely abandon my wintery foods, but it's a slow recovery process...)

Kyle and I are super-nerds and loooove going to Epcot (we have Disney annual passes). Every now and then, we brave the polka band and eat at the Biergarten in the German pavilion. Two of my favorite dishes there are cold salads- one is a spelt salad with herbs and the other is a tomato and red onion salad with vinaigrette. They're refreshing and light, and very summery. This dish was inspired by those salads. Since I usually mix the salads together at the restaurant, I decided to combine the two into a single salad.

Spelt is a middle eastern grain, and is chewy and nutty, but it can be tricky to find at the store. Given that, and that I was too lazy to drive across town to the health food store to try to find it, I used kasha (buckwheat groat). My grocery store carries the kasha in the section with Kosher foods. Pay attention, though- it comes in several different granulations. I meant to buy a coarse grind, but spaced out and wound up buying the fine grain. The result was very much like cous-cous when cooked, and was pretty good, so if you liked, cous-cous could easily be substituted. I just kind of eyeballed the vinaigrette, and adjusted it by taste.

This salad is even better the next day after the flavors have really melded. If you're lucky enough to have a grill (which I don't) it would be great with grilled corn on the cob and a grilled portabella as a light, summery meal. Me? I ate it as a side dish with some Amy's Mushroom and Olive Pizza (yum!).

Kasha and Tomato Salad

Serves 6-8

  • 4c cooked kasha, spelt or cous-cous
  • 3 med-large ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cilantro, roughly chopped


  • 1/4c spicy deli-style mustard
  • 1/4c apple cider vinegar
  • 1Tbsp honey
  • 1/4c olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a small dish, whisk together the mustard, vinegar and honey. Still whisking, slowly drizzle in oil. Salt and pepper to taste. Toss kasha with dressing, add tomatoes, onions and cilantro. If necessary, toss in more vinegar or mustard. Chill, and serve cold.

1 comment:

Emiline said...

I want to go to Disney World! I've never been.

And...I've never had kasha or spelt. So I'm really behind. Must get out more! But your salad looks great.