Grilled Summer Veg Kamut Salad
One of my favorite summer meals is a whole grain salad with grilled vegetables. This one contains kamut, an ancient wheat grain with a firm nutty flavor. The origins of this grain are a bit fuzzy, but historians agree that kernels of kamut were indeed found in a pyramid in Egypt. Egyptologists claim the root word means "Soul of the Earth" and I can understand why. It contains a good amount of protein (7g/serving), fiber, magnesium, iron, zinc, and selenium in addition to B3 and B6. It also maintains its shape and texture during cooking. At $.13/oz (if you buy it here), it's an excellent way to stretch your food budget too.
Kamut, like other whole grains, needs to be soaked overnight before cooking. If you forget this step, you can also soak the grains in hot water for 2 hours before cooking. Some people with gluten sensitivities (not those with celiac disease) find kamut (also called Khorasan wheat) a tolerated alternative. Researchers have also found kamut to be high in antioxidants, protecting against oxidative stress, especially if fermented as in sourdough breads (read the report here).
But enough history and science... let's make this delicious salad!
Prep time: 10 minutes Actual cooking time: 45-60 minutes for kamut, plus 15-20 minutes for grilling veggies
Here's what you need for 4 servings: PRINT HERE
1 cup kamut, soaked and drained
1 tsp salt (plus more for sprinkling on veggies)
1 tsp dried rosemary (optional)
1 bay leaf (optional)
1 medium yellow onion
2 small zucchini
6 baby bell peppers or 2 med/large, any colors
1 Tbsp fresh summer savory, chopped (optional)
1 Tbsp Thai basil, chiffonade (optional)
1/3 cup green olives, roughly chopped
1 cup fresh grape, cherry or saladette tomatoes, halved or quartered lengthwise (multicolored and preferably purchased from your local organic farmer if not grown yourself)
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
Cracked black pepper
For the vinaigrette:
Juice and zest from 1 large lemon
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp salt
cracked black pepper to taste
3 Tbsp white wine or champagne vinegar
2 tsp maple syrup (optional)
3/4 cup EVOO
You will only need about half of this dressing, but I always like to keep extra on hand. Store the extra in a glass jar. It will keep in the refrigerator for 2 weeks. Give it a vigorous shake before using.
1. If you remembered to soak the kamut, give yourself a pat on the back! If, like me, you forgot, don't worry. Just start earlier and cover the grains in hot water for two hours. Kamut can be cooked ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. This is what I like to do in the summer, or I'll cook them earlier in the day before it gets hot.
2. Drain your soaked grains, then bring 3 cups of water or stock, a tsp. of salt and the optional dried spices to a boil, add the kamut, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 30-40 minutes if soaked overnight, 45-60 minutes if given the quick-soak method. The key to maintaining the shape of the grains so they look beautiful in a salad is to cook them slowly and gently. Test for doness at the lower end of the time frame. They should be chewy and firm, but not at all still hard. Once done, drain and set aside.
3. While the grains cook, prep the vegetables. Cut the onion and zucchini into thick slabs. The pepper can be cut in half (if small) or into quarters (if large). Remove the seeds and devein. Drizzle veggies with the 2 Tbsps EVOO and lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat a cast iron grill (or grill of your choice) until hot. Grill both sides of the vegetables until slightly charred but still firm.
4. Set the vegetables aside to cool. You will be tempted to schnag a bite... don't. Save all that goodness for the salad (unless you grilled extra, of course)!
These are baby bells. Larger peppers work well too, they'll just take a bit longer on the grill.
Zucchini will not require much time at all, 2-3 minutes on each side, depending on the size of your slabs. You want them still plenty firm... nothing worse than mushy zukes!
5. Now you're ready to make the dressing. Zest the lemon into a small bowl, slice in half and squeeze the juice into the bowl too. Remove any seeds. Add the Dijon mustard, salt, pepper and vinegar. Whisk to combine. While still whisking, slowly drizzle in the EVOO until fully incorporated. The dressing will be thicker now. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
6. Cut the grilled vegetables into bite-sized pieces. In a pretty bowl, combine the cooked kamut, grilled vegetables, fresh herbs, olives and tomatoes. Drizzle with the dressing and gently toss. This salad is delicious served at room temperature or chilled. If you prefer to serve it chilled, refrigerate for 1-2 hours before serving.
This salad is highly adaptable. Any grilled vegetables will work well (corn cut off the cob, eggplant, fennel, summer squash, etc.) To increase protein further, you could add grilled strips of seitan or cubes of marinated or grilled tofu, chickpeas or cannellini beans. If you want to give it more of a Mediterranean flair, swap the green olives for kalamata olives and add diced cucumber and some vegan feta cheese. The possibilities are endless!
So what's your favorite summer salad? Tell me about it in the comments below, I'd love to hear about it!
Nutrition facts are for the recipe as written above, without any of the alternatives. Sodium can be easily modified by omitting or soaking & rinsing the olives and reducing the amount of salt in the cooking water, the dressing and on the grilled vegetables. If omitting or reducing the salt, increase the amount of fresh herbs. Actual fat consumed per serving will be less than indicated here to account for EVOO remaining on both the mixing bowl or platter used to season the vegetatbles and on the grill.
When you make this, let me know how it turned out. Be sure to take a photo and tag me #chefcatherinebrown. I love seeing what you make!
DISCLOSURES: None. This post was not created in affiliation with any product or brand. The opinions expressed are my own. I will only write about products that I trust and use.
NOTE: All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use my photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own unique words and link back to the source recipe here on A Seat at My Table so credit is given where credit is due. Thank you!