Friday, September 20, 2013

Spelt Salad with Squash and Fennel

In a rare instance of Kurt noticing what’s been happening in the kitchen, he pointed out that I’ve been making a lot of salads lately. It’s true. There was the Crunchy Corn Tortilla Salad the other day, a sesame soba noodle salad with cucumbers that I haven’t posted yet, and we have a big lettuce salad with hard-boiled eggs for dinner about once a week. At least there’s been variety among all those salads. And, the one I have for you today might not even really be a salad. It could function as a whole grain, vegetarian main course or a side dish, and you can serve it at whatever temperature you prefer. So, I don’t think this counts in the nothing-but-salads-lately tally. Besides, we’re at that juncture at which we still have plenty of summer vegetables showing up at the markets, and the fall ones are just starting to appear. Why not use them in all kinds of salads and dishes that may or may not be salads? This Spelt Salad with Squash and Fennel is from River Cottage Veg, and it is a lovely way to move from one season to the next. I used two cute, little acorn squash from our CSA. Other than the spelt which is cooked on top of the stove, everything else is roasted in one pan. The ingredients are added to the pan in turn in order of needed cooking time starting with the squash. The cooked, chewy spelt was mixed with the roasted vegetables, toasted walnuts, lemon juice, and parmesan to finish the dish. 

The cooking time for the spelt will vary quite a bit depending on whether or not you’re using pearled spelt. I did not use pearled spelt, and so it needed to cook for a little over an hour. Pearled spelt will cook in about 20 minutes. While it was cooking, the vegetables were roasted in a 375 degree F oven. The acorn squash, tossed with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper, went into the oven first and roasted for about 15 minutes. Then, two fennel bulbs sliced into thin pieces and some chopped garlic was added to the roasting pan which went back into the oven for another 15 minutes. Last, walnuts were added to the pan for ten more minutes of roasting. The cooked spelt was drained and transferred to a large mixing bowl. The roasted vegetables and walnuts were added to the spelt with the olive oil remaining in the roasting pan. The juice of a lemon was added with chopped parsley and shredded parmesan. 

This was delicious with the vegetables still a little warm from the oven, but it was just as good served chilled from the refrigerator the next day. The spelt makes it hearty and filling, but the lemon and parsley keep the flavors bright. This recipe was just one of several that piqued my interest from the latest River Cottage book, and lucky for Kurt, they’re not all salads. 

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22 comments:

  1. Tasty, healthy and seasonal! A gorgeous salad.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  2. I have fallen in love with grain salads this year. This is next on my list!

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  3. I would love to make this salad any time, if only I could get some spelt. Such a healthful grain.

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  4. I would love this for the dinner! Irresistible with spelt and seasonal squash!

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  5. That is different to use spelt and I should try it. What a dish finish dish.

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  6. This goes to my Pinterest board.... very nice mixture of ingredients, and I like the spelt in it

    Hope you are having a nice weekend, Lisa...

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  7. This looks amazing - fennel is a special favourite.

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  8. I've cooked spelt only a few times. It's got great flavor, but does take awhile to cook (unless, of course, you use the pearled kind, as you point out). I love this time of the year - hot one day, so I turn veggies into a salad. Cold the next, which means I use them to make soup! This is such a nice recipe - thanks so much.

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  9. We eat salads of one sort or another almost every week night. I am always searching for new recipes to vary with my favorites. The Spelt Salad with Squash and Fennel would be a splendid week night treat! A stellar salad!

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  10. Yum. We are still fairly warm here in Colorado so I'm trying to make all the salads that I can! This looks particularly hearty...a good transition from summer to fall. Thank you for sharing. What a delicious and lovely way to end the weekend and start the week!

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  11. Looks like a great, tasty salad with fresh seasonal ingredients.
    Love the addition of roasted walnuts, it gives the salad a perfect crunch!

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  12. this is one of the best ways to welcome autumn...such a feast of flavors and textures...thanks for sharing :-)

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  13. What a beautiful salad, Lisa! Great textures and flavors! Love it!

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  14. Wow, the firs picture is totally awesome....
    i guess i prefer it served chilled with more walnuts!
    Dedy@Dentist Chef

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  15. I could never complain if you were making salads as delicious as this! I've recently starting coming around to fennel and I'm pretty sure, prepared like this, I couldn't help but like it!

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  16. I'd like to get that River Cottage cookbook. I love the look of this salad and I'd be interested to try a salad with spelt. I eat spelt all the time but only as a pasta or cooking with the flour xx

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  17. Spelt is one grain I have yet to really cook with. Now, you've just inspired me to go hunting for a bag at my local gourmet store.

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  18. spelt is one thing with which i have very little experience, but the way you've described this salad makes it seem very appealing! the walnuts are a fine touch.

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  19. That salad is totally up my alley. What a super combination. I can just taste those roasted vegetables. Sounds like a lovely cookbook, Lisa.

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  20. So much crunch, crisp, freshness, flavor, grace, beauty in one single salad! Outstanding indeed :)

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