This template for marinated and herb-infused grain salads (think tabbouleh gone wild) allows us to choose our favorite grain and combine it with the wild greens of the moment. The flavors of the greens called for in this dish vary, ranging from the pungent alliums to the aromatic mints. They are key — along with the olive oil and lemon juice or vinegar — in creating these sumptuous, flavor-packed, and filling salads.
1½ cups cooked, chilled whole grain of your choice: quinoa, brown rice, millet, wheat berries, rye berries, or spelt berries. If the grain is clumpy, break it up with your fingers.
2 tablespoons finely minced allium greens of choice: field garlic, Egyptian onion, chive, and scallion
2⁄3 cups finely minced mint or other aromatic herb-leaf of your choice: lemon balm, wild bergamot, spearmint, peppermint, apple mint, or oregano.
2 cups minced wild greens of choice (any tough or stringy parts removed). Use singly or combine: purslane, wood sorrel, garlic mustard, lamb’s quarter, and sheep sorrel. If needed, cultivated greens such as parsley, French sorrel, or chervil can be substituted for the wild ones.
5 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice or 4 Tbsp of good vinegar
½ cup cold-pressed olive oil
Sea salt and pepper to taste
3 plum tomatoes, diced
½ cup lightly roasted and chopped nut or seed of choice such as pecans, almonds, or pumpkin seeds
1⁄3 cup cooked chickpeas or other whole beans
¼ cup coarsely crumbled feta cheese
Handful of edible flowers, if in season: violet, dandelion, wild bergamot, bee balm, dame’s rocket, and red clover.
Plan ahead as the grains need to be cooked and chilled before mixing into the salad.
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl (except the edible flowers), and mix well. Taste and adjust flavors, adding more lemon juice, oil, salt, or pepper as needed.
Cover, let sit out at room temperature for about an hour, mix well again, then serve, garnishing with the edible flowers. If making the salad ahead of time, wait until just before serving to add the optional nuts, seeds, and feta cheese.