My brother and sister-in-law moved into their new condo the week after us. Their place is spotless, nearly everything has been put away, and they are meticulously figuring out which furniture they still want to buy. They are missing dining chairs, though, but told us we could come over for dinner once they arrived. In about…. 16 weeks (eek!!).
Rob and I, on the other hand, have a functional house. We combined both of our stuff, miss-matched in all its glory. While the house is mostly functional for day-to-day living, we still have a lot of unpacked boxes in our offices and in the basement. With Rob’s old mattress and boxspring in the living room along with our 3 bikes. But despite that, we have not put our social calendar on hold until we clean house. We are still having fun, opening our messy home to our friends and family as an easy place to gather.
We have gotten better at the barbecue thing, which is where Rob usually hangs out. Which is a blessing in disguise, because when I made this salad, I knew I would be a goner if I had to man the roasted veggies. Not because it is difficult, rather it is difficult to stop snacking on the tasty veggies! I honestly roasted a bunch of asparagus but you will have a hard time finding it in the salad because I probably ate half of it straight off the barbecue. ;)
Let me back up a bit: I had a recent hankering for pomegranate-roasted vegetables. I wanted to add them to a wheat berry salad. At first, I scoured the web for other pomegranate–grilled vegetables, but then I remembered I already knew the perfect glaze! Last year, I made a delectable pomegranate-glazed salmon that combined a simple glaze of pomegranate molasses with olive oil, but then it was heightened with fresh lemon juice, maple syrup and chopped basil.
Therefore, I based my new recipe on that template, adding more pomegranate molasses and less maple syrup, because I wanted a more pronounced deep pomegranate flavour. Pomegranate molasses can be tart, so taste as you go. Little did I realize how similar this dressing was to my Turkish Bulgur Salad, of former Best Salad Ever fame. With all the roasted veggies, it is kisir on steroids. Or maybe just a winning Janet original.
Wheat Berry Salad with Pomegranate-Roasted Vegetables
1 cup dry wheat berries
2 cups vegetable broth, or water
1 yellow squash, cut into thick slices
1 zucchini, cut into thick slices
1 red bell pepper, thickly sliced
1 bunch of asparagus, ends trimmed
1 large red onion, cut into large wedges
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved if big
2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp Aleppo chili pepper, or to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
Zest and juice from 1 lemon
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses (taste first to see if it needs it)
1/4 tsp agave nectar or maple syrup, to taste
1/4 cup chopped basil
1. Place wheat berries in a saucepan with the vegetable broth, cover with additional water if needed and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 60-75 minutes until plumped and tender. If they become exposed, add more water. Drain and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, cut the veggies except the tomatoes, into large chunks so that they won’t fall into your barbecue. You could also cut them smaller if you are going to use your oven (preheat oven to 400F). Place into a large bowl. Place the tomatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.
3. Mix together the 2 tbsp of pomegranate molasses, olive oil, chili flakes, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss with the chopped vegetables and let marinate until your barbecue or oven is ready.
4. Place vegetables on barbecue, reserving excess marinade. Add that marinade to the tomatoes. Grill vegetables on barbecue for 15 minutes, flipping half-way. The times will vary depending on how thick your veggies are. Remove from barbecue, let cool and cut into bite-size pieces and place in he big bowl.
5. After your vegetables are done, place baking tray in barbecue and roast tomatoes until softened. The peels may come off, and that’s ok. This could take around 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Toss the tomatoes, and the juice/leftover marinade with the other roasted vegetables in a big bowl. Add lemon juice and zest, additional pomegranate molasses (if needed- I like mine tart!) along with some agave nectar or maple syrup, to taste.
6. By this time, hopefully your wheat berries are done. Combine with the vegetables. Stir in chopped basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.