I was pleased to be able to figure out a number of healthy upgrades to our family’s standard camping fare for our recent trip to the deep woods. (See our healthy camping menu plan here.) One no-no item we always fall back on when cooking over a fire is potato chips. This year I decided to substitute potato salad with homemade mayo and this cold, cooked grain salad. A summertime favorite (and another possible camping option that we often used) is pasta salad; this option gives all the flavor and portability without the white flour, and it is less expensive compared to whole grain pasta. (Credit for the cold grain salad idea goes to Wardeh at GNOWFLGLINS; hers are a main course with meat.)
Like my pasta salad variations, a cold grain salad can have many faces and flavors. The one we’ve enjoyed most is pictured above.
Recipe: Cold Spelt Salad
- cooked spelt berries (soaked overnight, covered with water and simmered for an hour after boil)
- pea pods
- red onion
- cubed cheese
- green olives
- garbanzo beans
- homemade balsamic vinaigrette dressing
I think all the veggies are interchangeable with whatever you have on hand, but that red onion really makes it tasty. Spelt berries are a new thing for our family, and I have to tell you – we didn’t think we’d like this salad. My husband and I tasted the cooked grains and thought they were pretty chewy. We didn’t have high hopes for the final result! But once all the flavors meld together (it’s best to prepare in advance and cool for at least an hour), it’s a refreshing summer side dish (and we don’t even mind the chewiness one bit).
What is Spelt?
Spelt is just an ancient relative of wheat, probably what folks in the Old Testament actually ate when the Bible speaks of wheat. You can buy whole spelt berries at a health foods store, and it also grinds into a flour that is so good in cookies and biscuits (the only things I’ve tried so far). You could certainly make a cold, cooked grain salad with any whole grain, like millet, rice, or wheat berries. I’m tempted to try barley but a little nervous that it would be too mushy, for lack of a better descriptive term. Any thoughts?
If you have success with a cold grain salad variation, please leave a comment to share with all of us. It’s fun to experiment with adaptable dishes like this!
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I’m always pleased to participate in Pennywise Platter Thursday at The Nourishing Gourmet, Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap, Friday Feasts at MomTrends, Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade, Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum, Ann Kroeker’s Food on Fridays, and Mouthwatering Mondays at A Southern Fairytale. For more “cool food” ideas, see Life as MOM’s Ultimate Recipe Swap.