With the heat of the summer currently at its peak there is nothing better than yummy salads made with fresh, local, and seasonal ingredients to keep us cool.
The culprits here are yellow beans, zucchini and basil. I happened to pick the basil for the pesto right from my balcony. I have 8 basil plants. One thing I have learnt about basil is that I can never have enough. Love it! Making pesto takes quite a bit of fresh basil so now is the time to do it. If you aren’t growing your own you can buy a huge amount at the market for a reasonable price. Something you could only dream of in winter months.
Unfortunately, I didn’t grow the beans and zucchini on my balcony. Although I did plant some green beans, so I am curious to see if any make their way into my kitchen.
If you are someone who is growing your own vegetables, good for you. I am jealous. For the rest of us, time to hit the markets and see what looks good and buy some local seasonal food while we can.
I have recently discovered how good raw zucchini is. I have always eaten it cooked in the past until now. Crunchy and delicious. Give it a try if you haven’t done so already.
I used wheat berries for this salad. Something most people have probably never heard of or tried. This was the first time I had used them. Although I have cooked with spelt and kamut before which is similar, wheat berries are wheat kernels that contain all 3 parts of the grain. The only part that has been removed is the hull which isn’t edible. Wheat berries are as whole wheat as you get. They are a long way from all the processed white flour that is found in ready-made foods like cake, cookies, and breads etc.
They are hardy and add substance to any dish not to mention their nutritional value. Wheat berries are low in calories, high in fibre and loaded with vitamins and minerals.
The pesto was made with basil, pine nuts, garlic, lemon, olive oil and salt. So good. So simple. Notice the colour of the pesto above. This is because I used lots of pine nuts.
WheatBerry, Yellow Bean, Zucchini and Pesto Salad Recipe
3/4 cup wheat berries
2 cups yellow beans, cut in half
1 cup diced zucchini
For the Pesto
2 cups fresh basil, loosely packed
1/2 cup of pine nuts
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 clove garlic, chopped
sea salt to taste
Add the wheat berries to a medium sized pot with about 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cook covered for 1 hour. Watch the amount of water in the pot and add more if necessary. Once the wheat berries are cooked, drain if there is any liquid left and transfer to a big bowl.
Make the pesto while the wheat berries are cooking. You can either use a food processor, blender or mortar and pestle. Combine all the ingredients together and mix into a paste adding a little bit of olive oil at a time until the desired consistency is attained.
Use the same pot to steam your beans. Steam for a few minutes, until lightly cooked. I like them to be a little crunchy.
Combine the steamed beans and raw zucchini with the wheat berries and mix in the pesto. Mix well and taste. Season with a little more sea salt and pepper if necessary.
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