It's set to get bitterly cold at the end of this week, but before the icy weather properly begins I've been craving a hearty bowl of salad. If that sounds like an oxymoron, try this recipe - its the opposite of the flimsy, frivolous salads of summer. This salad means business in both taste and texture; roasting the vegetables gives them a rich balsamic glaze, while the spelt adds stodginess, in the best possible way.
Roasted Balsamic Mushroom and Spelt Salad
200g mushrooms, sliced
200g green beans, chopped
20g spring onion, chopped
100g pearled spelt
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/8 tsp mustard
1/2 tsp honey
4g garlic, minced
Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 7. Combine the balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, mustard, honey and garlic in a bowl and mix well. Scatter the chopped mushrooms, green beans and spring onion in a roasting dish and pour the marinade over them, stirring to ensure the vegetables are coated evenly. Pop into the oven for 20-30 minutes, taking it out half-way to give the pan a shake, so that everything gets an even roasting.
Meanwhile, rinse the pearled spelt under cold water, then bring a saucepan of water to the boil. Add the spelt and cook for 20 minutes or until soft, stirring occasionally. Once cooked, rinse the spelt again under cold water to cool it down immediately to make sure it retains a slightly chewy texture.
Once the vegetables have softened, take the tray out of the oven and leave it to cool. Add the cooked spelt, stirring well to combine the juices, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
This salad is delicious served straight away, either on its own as a light meal, or as an accompaniment to meat or fish. It also keeps well for a few days in the fridge, and would be perfect to take as a packed lunch.
Do you prefer salads in the summer or winter? Any great salad recipes to share? Let me know in the comments.