Spelt-salad
 
In the spring, we lighten up. Energy transitions from the floaty hibernation of winter to the strong upward movement of spring.
As the fresh breeze of spring passes through us, we clean our homes, our
desks, and our selves, as many people choose–intuitively–to fast or juice for
short periods in the springtime. According to Chinese medicine, this time of
year brings a strong energy to the liver and gallbladder, so if we align with
nature through food, these organs respond and we feel patient, creative and
happy to be alive. Since the liver also governs female reproductive function,
a happy liver also makes us frisky. If we don’t make the transition to spring
with grace, we can feel short-tempered, unattractive, and out-of-sync with
the world.
 
Now is the time to lighten up your cooking styles: Emphasize steaming,
blanching, raw salads and grain salads. Baking and roasting should be put on
hold for a while. Reduce oil, salt and other seasonings; a body in springtime
can appreciate freshness and simplicity. The taste of springtime is sour, so a
squeeze of lemon juice or a dash of vinegar here and there help to tonify the
liver. Go easy with animal products, like meat, eggs and cheese, as they have
a heavy, warming quality that’s not as necessary this time of year, when we
are shedding the skin of winter. For protein, explore some beans and other
plant-based foods. Take advantage of this time of year to self-reflect on
what you’ve learned through winter and release what’s not working for you.
Nature wants you to feel fresh, and young, and re-invigorated.
 
This is a colorful and satisfying grain salad that’s perfect for a light, spring
lunch. Spelt, barley, farro, kamut and whole wheat berries all have a light,
expansive energy, and are perfect for spring. If you’re gluten-intolerant, try
this salad with a combination of long-grain rice and wild rice. Yum.
 
1 1/2 cups spelt, soaked overnight
4 cups water
a pinch of sea salt
1 small red onion, diced
1 small green pepper, diced
1 carrot, diced small
1/4 red cabbage, diced
1/4 cup Italian parsley, chopped
2 teaspoons shoyu (soy sauce) or
tamari (wheat-free)
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons olive oil
pinch of white pepper
 
Rinse spelt and soak overnight. Drain and place in pan with 4 cups water and a pinch of
sea salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 1 hour. Pour into a colander
(in the sink) , draining any remaining liquid, and set aside to cool.
Dice vegetables and put in a large bowl. Add remaining seasonings and mix. Toss with
cooled spelt. Taste and adjust seasonings.
If you let the salad sit for an hour or more before serving, the flavor deepens and becomes
more complex.
This is wonderful and refreshing served on fresh lettuce leaves and goes with just about
everything.
 
Serves 4 to 6
Jessica Porter