If Braised Oxtail Gnocchi was a farewell to winter, then this is my hello to spring! Now, those who know me know that I don't like prefer salads. Between a salad and a truffled mac and cheese, I'd choose the latter, many many times over. But one thing I've found in my quest for better and healthier foods is that salads take balance. The formula for a good salad goes something like this: leafy green + acidic dressing + textured or crunchy additive + savory element = GOOD SALAD.
In this case, I used arugula, a rice vinegar/miso/ginger dressing, edamame/sesame seeds/wheatberries for texture and crunch, and roasted carrots for savory. Though roasted root vegetables are usually called upon in the fall, I haven't been able to say goodbye to them yet. Other than the arugula, all of the ingredients can be kept on hand. Beets or even sweet potatoes would be a great substitution to those who don't like carrots.
Don't even get me started on the power of miso. Ok fine. Miso is awesome! It's like a serious umami bomb on whatever it touches. I love whipping it with butter for rubbing on chicken, using it in dressings, or adding it to soups for just a touch of depth. There are different kinds of miso, but the tub I am currently eating my way through is white miso.
For the salad (makes two salads):
- 1/2 cup edamame, shelled and cooked according to package instructions
- 2 handfuls arugula or mixed greens
- 1/3 cup wheatberries, cooked according to package instructions
- 4 carrots, peeled and roasted
- 1 scallion green, finely sliced
- sprinkle of black sesame seeds
- salt and pepper and olive oil
- 4 tbsp dressing (recipe below)
For the dressing (approximate measurements):
- 1 heaping spoon sweet miso (I used white miso)
- 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar. White wine vinegar would work well too, or even lemon juice
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger, or more to taste
First, peel your carrots and cut into pieces that are the same size. Toss these in olive oil, salt and pepper and roast them in an oven preheated to 400 degrees for about 30 minutes. Note, cooking time will depend on the size of your carrots, so check on them often. If they aren't cooked already, cook your wheatberries and edamame according to the package instructions.
Uncooked wheatberries are hard, and when cooked, they retain a nice nutty, chewy texture that goes great in salads. Once it's cooked, drain, set aside and let cool. Prepare the rest of your ingredients and whisk the dressing ingredients together.When you're ready to plate, toss the arugula in the dressing first. Give it a good toss. The reason why we add this first is because the heavier ingredients will sink to the bottom and soak up all of the dressing, and we want the arugula to get a good coating before the other ingredients get their turn.
Finish with a sprinkle of black sesame seeds, which is totally optional, but adds a good texture to the overall salad. Serve up and eat!