January 19: Whole Grain Salads

Whole grain salads are a lot like pasta salad, only better—and locally grown! Substitute cooked whole grains, like wheatberries, hulled barley, or emmer, for the pasta, add seasonal vegetables, cheese, or herbs, and serve warm, at room temperature, or cold. Whole grains add a sweet, nutty flavor and a little bit of crunch.

Web extras:

Sources of Locally-Grown Whole Grains

Both River Valley Market and Green Field’s Market  have whole grains in stock from Four Star Farms in Northfield. Look for barley, wheatberries, and triticale.

Crabapple Farm sells whole grains at the Saturday Northampton Winter Market.

Upinngill Farm has whole grains available at their farm store, open year round in Gill.

The Pioneer Valley Heritage Grains CSA offers a CSA share of whole grains, beans, and corn.  Distribution is in the fall—plan ahead for next year!

Recipes and Cooking Information

Two local farms that grow and sell whole grains provide information about how to cook them—here are basic instructions from Four Star Farm and more detail from the Pioneer Valley Heritage Grains CSA.

I try to soak my whole grains overnight before cooking, but often I forget and cook them the day I want to eat them.  Either way works.

I have been making, and loving, a greatly simplified version of this Warm Winter Whole Grain Salad with butternut squash.  I cube and roast a butternut squash and a sweet potato with onions, garlic, nutmeg and salt and pepper and a bit of oil, toss it with the cooked grains, and add a dressing of oil and balsamic vinegar.  I skip the sautéing of the onions by roasting them with the squash and did not add feta, cannellini beans, or barley, although I think all of those could be good.  Bacon would also be a good addition.

I’m looking forward to making a version of this salad using frozen basil pesto, sweet potatoes, and soft goat cheese.  For a different mix of flavors, try Four Star Farm’s Cranberry Wheatberry Salad.