I signed up to do the Go Plant-Power Challenge, and it started this week. It’s a two-week challenge to eat more of a plant-based diet, and I’ll share some of the tips, recipes and ideas I learn from nutritionist and author Sharon Palmer, RD. If you’re interested in doing it with me, just like the Go Plant-Power Facebook page, and you’ll get all of the information first hand. There’s also the chance to win some great prizes, so let’s jump on the bandwagon together!
Many people are afraid of plant-based or meatless diets, because they feel they will be too restrictive. I can’t tell you how many clients say “that’s never gonna fly with my family”. Well, the beauty of a plant-based diet is that it’s completely flexible. You just try to eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains – all the stuff that’s good for you, and less meat. It’s not vegan, there’s no scouring the food labels for certain ingredients you have to avoid, you can eat dairy if you like, and really, if you’re craving some fish or chicken or even a burger, you can still have it. You just have to try to eat more plants.
What’s the point you ask? Well, there are many advantages to eating a plant-based diet, but the two most important reasons for me personally, are my health and the environment. You can read more about the benefits in this post.
So… since it’s almost spring, and I’m feeling the need to really detox my diet a bit and break out of the winter comfort food rut I’ve been in forever – this is a perfect time to share my recipe for Wheat Berry Waldorf Salad. I love adding wheat berries to salads or any meatless meal because they’re chewy and filling and actually have a good amount of protein. You can make this salad as a side, but it really is more of a complete meal.
Wheat berries take a while to cook, so make a large batch and freeze any leftovers for another meal.
The Roasted Vidalia Onion dressing in this salad is slightly adapted from Food and Wine and it’s amazing!
- 6 unpeeled garlic cloves
- 2 large Vidalia or other sweet onions (1 1/2 pounds), peeled and quartered
- 1 cup olive oil plus 1 tablespoon to toss with onions
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
- water as needed to thin dressing
- 1 1/2 cups cooked wheat berries
- 8 cups lightly packed salad greens
- 2 large sweet apples Gala or Fuji, unpeeled, quartered and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
- 1 1/2 cups red grapes
- 3 stalks of celery trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 3/4 cup toasted pecans roughly chopped
- 3 ounces of blue cheese crumbled
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Wrap the garlic cloves lightly in foil and set on a baking sheet. Toss the onions with 1 tablespoon oil and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast for about 1 hour, or until garlic is softened, and onions are soft and lightly charred all over. Turn onions halfway through so they cook evenly.
Remove pan from oven and let cool.
When garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze cloves from their peels, and place in the bowl of a food processor, along with onions, oil, vinegar, lemon juice and honey. Process until dressing is smooth.
Season with salt and pepper, and add water if a thinner consistency is desired.
Pulse a few more times to combine.
Place salad greens, wheat berries, chopped apples, grapes and celery in a large bowl. Add as much dressing as desired to coat and toss well to combine.
Garnish salad with blue cheese and pecans.