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Here’s another salad that’s perfect for summer. It works as a refreshing side dish or a main course, and while it’s completely delicious on its own with just vegetables and beans, you can also upgrade it to a grain salad. I made this salad to eat for lunch and after running the nutrition facts I decided I wanted a slightly heartier meal and added kamut:
Kamut wheat is sometimes called King Tut’s wheat and is thought to have been eaten by ancient Egyptians.
Kamut is a type of wheat with berries approximately twice the size of regular wheat berries, with a similar taste. (Read more about kamut here.) I like using them in cold salads like this because the kamut berries are chewy but not soft, with a nice bite, and they hold their texture well. I also discovered with this recipe that they cook up nicely in a rice cooker with minimal effort!
I hate cooking rice on our stove because it’s nearly impossible to maintain a simmer. Either the water boils away too soon, or the pot doesn’t bubble at all, leaving a watery mixture at the end of the cooking time. So, I bought the six-cup version of this basic rice cooker. It’s been life-changing! Besides rice, I can cook kamut, quinoa, barley, lentils, oatmeal…even polenta in it!
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2-3 tsp red wine vinegar
- 1 ½ tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp honey (substitute a vegan sweetener if desired)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil and parsley, optional
- 1 15-oz can of tri-bean blend (or a mix of whatever beans you like)
- 3-4 tbsp crumbled feta or goat cheese, optional (leave out for a vegan variation)
- ½ lbs fresh green beans
- 1 ripe tomato
- 1 small cucumber
- ½ cup dry kamut or other grain (such as barley, quinoa or couscous), cooked and cooled, optional
- Prepare the grain, if using, and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Add the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, honey, and salt and pepper to a large bowl and combine with a whisk. Add chopped fresh herbs, if using. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
- Rinse and drain the beans (if canned) and mix them with the dressing so they can soak up some of the flavors while you prepare the other ingredients. I like Simple Truth Tri-Bean Blend (available at Kroger) which is a combination of kidney, pinto and black beans. You can use this or a similar product, or just mix and match any beans you like.
- Add the cheese to the bowl, if using, and mix it in.
- Wash the green beans and cut them into 1-½-inch pieces. Add them to the bowl with the other ingredients. If you don’t want your green beans raw (or, if they’re a few days past their prime as mine were), you can steam and blanch them. I microwaved mine for 2 minutes in a covered casserole dish with about 2 tbsp of water, then plunged them into a bowl filled with ice water. Drain the green beans before adding to the other ingredients.
- Dice the tomato and cucumber and add them to the bowl. You can remove the seeds first if you wish.
- Incorporate the cooked kamut or grain. You can eat the salad right away or keep it in the refrigerator for 5-6 days.