Elizabeth Eckholt, a chef in Northern California who specializes in “healing” foods, believes that greens, cucumbers, celery and seaweeds help maintain health by preventing the body from becoming overly acidic. This notion gives me pause, and for one big reason: I love tomatoes, and they are notoriously acidic.
This is a light summer chopped salad with chewy and crunchy textures. Give it time to marinate for the best flavor.
1 cup cooked spelt, farro or wheat berries
1 pound tomatoes, diced
1 cup diced cucumber
1/2 cup diced celery
1 cup finely chopped fresh herbs, like a mixture of parsley, dill, mint and basil
1/2 cup crumbled feta
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 small garlic clove, minced or puréed (optional)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1. Combine the spelt, tomatoes, cucumber, celery, herbs and feta in a salad bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
2. Mix together the lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, optional garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil. Toss with the salad. Place in the refrigerator, and marinate for one hour or longer before serving.
Yield: Serves four to six.
Advance preparation: The salad will keep for a couple of days in the refrigerator. The tomatoes and cucumbers will make it a bit juicy. Toss it all together and serve it with bread to soak up the excess.
Nutritional information per serving (four servings): 351 calories; 5 grams saturated fat; 2 grams polyunsaturated fat; 11 grams monounsaturated fat; 17 milligrams cholesterol; 39 grams carbohydrates; 7 grams dietary fiber; 238 milligrams sodium (does not include salt to taste); 11 grams protein