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I love Easter. Why? Well, it’s the unofficial start to spring. The weather doesn’t always cooperate, but the food surely does. Often, the Easter meal consists of ham (I even made citrus glazed ham last year!). Don’t ask me why, but this is what’s traditional here in the Midwest. Well, this year, I’m throwing traditional out the window and serving up an Easter brunch instead. Why? You may ask. Two reasons:
a brunchis always festive, whether it’s formal or relaxed.
- Two, a brunch combines everything we love about breakfast and lunch, all in one delightful meal.
The fusion of these two meals is right where salads step in. This blood orange and wheat berry salad topped with pomegranate seeds, sunflower seeds, and feta is the combination of all the flavors I love with the brightness of spring.
Salads are underrated. After years of yucky salad bars (don’t get me wrong, a good salad bar is my life), gross, tasteless “side salads” in restaurants, and boring, flavorless grocery store lettuce, it’s no surprise that we’re less than excited about salads. I’ll let you in on my personal philosophy: I think they’re having a revival. And when I started forgetting the so-called “rules” of salads, I fell in love.
My four salad rules
One. I always serve my salads on a large platter. Yotam Ottolenghi always seems to have the most beautiful food, displayed simply on dishes. So I figured: why not do this in my own kitchen? A platter allows the salad greens to be spread out, presented in their full beauty, and not smashed into a bowl.
Two. I sprinkle all the “extras” on top of the salad so everyone can see what’s in the salad. Nuts, fruits, grains, cheese, and seeds are all way more appetizing when you can actually see them. When tossed into a bowl, many of the weighty extras sink to the bottom. The sprinkle method allows even distribution and some selective serving. You know, for those guests who always want the best helpings.
Three. Hearty greens are essential. I love all types of lettuce and greens, and I think it’s important to try them all. In this wheat berry salad, a mixture of textures and flavors is important. Kale can be tough on its own, so when it’s mixed with spinach and arugula, it loses some of its harsh texture. The strong flavor of kale, the lightness of spinach, and the pepperiness of arugula send your salad game up a notch.
Four. I need something that makes me say, “Oh my!” Wheat berries are the answer. Yeah, these are just what you think: unprocessed wheat. But once cooked, they soften up and retain a slight chew. Bottom line: They have an amazing texture that picks up the bright citrus flavors.
This salad is chocked full of flavor and texture. And if I’m honest, it could totally steal the Easter show away from the ham. Willing to give it a try this holiday? Do it! If you’re like me, you’ll make it once and then decide to make it over and over again!
Watch how to make this blood orange & wheat berry salad
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Blood Orange & Wheat Berry Salad
For the salad
- 1 cup wheat berries
- 6 oz flat-leaf kale washed and dried with stems removed and chopped
- 4 oz spinach washed and dried
- 4 oz arugula washed and dried
- ⅓ cup chopped mint leaves
- 4 scallions finely chopped
- 1 cup blood orange segments (about 3 blood oranges)
- 1 cup pomegranate arils
- ⅓ cup sunflower seeds
- ½ cup feta cheese
For the dressing
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup blood orange juice
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp champagne vinegar
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- Start by cooking the wheat berries. In a large kettle, combine the wheat berries, 3 ½ cups of water, and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cover with a lid. Cook until the berries are tender, 45-60 minutes. When tender, drain the wheat berries and set them aside to cool.
- In a large bowl, make the dressing. Whisk together the olive oil, blood orange juice, Dijon mustard, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Add the prepared kale, spinach, arugula, mint, and scallions. The kale acts as a barrier for the spinach and arugula and can sit on the vinaigrette for up to two hours before tossing the greens in the dressing.
- When ready to serve the salad, toss the greens with the dressing and place on a large platter. Sprinkle with the prepared wheat berries, scallions, pomegranate arils, sunflower seeds, and feta cheese. Do not toss all the toppings as they make a beautiful presentation.