If you like the combination of fresh veg, ancient grains and lean protein all tossed in a tasty dressing, this Mediterranean Khorasan Wheat Salad is for you. Never heard of Khorasan wheat before? Neither had I, however, when I researched it, I found that it’s branded as KAMUT®. So what is KAMUT ®? What does it taste like and how do you use it? Read on…
What Is KAMUT ®?
Sure, you’ve heard of quinoa. Yep, you’ve had farro. Perhaps you’ve tasted amaranth, spelt or teff. But what is KAMUT ®?
It’s actually an ancient grain, but its history is somewhat mysterious.
Some say that Noah brought the wheat berries on his ark — giving it the moniker of Prophet’s wheat.
Other’s refer to it as “King Tut’s Wheat” and claim that it was found in the tomb of an Egyptian Pharaoh.
So, this grain has been around for at least several thousand years and according to some studies, may be more nutritionally beneficial than modern wheat… more on this later.
Cooking Khorasan wheat takes slightly more prep than making brown rice. The extra step is an overnight soak in water — so not really a labor intensive thing, but it does require some planning. Before you ask… yes, you can skip the soak, however, you’ll have to increase the cooking time of the wheat.
What Does It Taste Like?
I would describe it like brown rice or farro. A neutral flavored grain, but much sturdier. It’s chewy, slightly nutty and makes a great base for this khorasan wheat salad with Mediterranean flavors. You could easily swap this grain for other larger kerneled grains or even legumes, depending on the recipe.
Ingredients For Mediterranean Khorasan Wheat Salad
- Cooked KAMUT ® Berries
- Red Onion
- Kalamata Olives
- Fresh Tomatoes
- Sun Dried Tomatoes
- Cooked Chicken Breast
For Balsamic Dressing:
- Dijon Mustard
- Black Pepper
- Kosher Salt
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Olive Oil
Tips On Assembling & Serving The Salad:
- Cook the wheat according to the package directions.
- Drain any excess water (you don’t want the salad to be goopy).
- Let the wheat cool to room temperature before mixing with the vegetables (hot grains would wilt the raw veg).
- While the grains are cooking and cooling — prep the vegetables and dressing.
- Toss the salad with the dressing and serve. (You can eat this salad at room temperature or chilled, but I prefer it at room temperature so the flavors are at their peak.)
- Salad can last, refrigerated, for up to 5 days, consequently if you’re into meal prep you can also portion it out for a healthy, delicious work week of lunches!
Make It Your Own:
This is a great main dish salad with the chunks of chicken, however, you can easily customize it to your tastes.
- Make it vegan by leaving out the chicken.
- Make it pescatarian by swapping chicken for shrimp or canned tuna.
- Serve it as a side dish alongside grilled chicken, pork, lamb or seafood.
- Add cheese like fresh mozzarella or feta.
- Use other vegetables, such as raw summer squash, bell peppers, broccoli florets or edamame.
I mentioned earlier that this whole grain may be more beneficial than traditional durham wheat. Here’s the skinny:
Nutritional Benefits of Khorasan Wheat
Not to get all tech-y on you, but in 2013, Italian scientists did a small study comparing the health benefits of a diet comprised of khorasan wheat products vs. durum wheat products.
The results showed a reduction in overall cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) by 4% and 7.8% respectively. Additionally, key markers of inflammation dropped 23-36% and levels of magnesium and potassium (two minerals many of us are lacking) increased.
The durham wheat diet didn’t produce similar results.
I’m not saying that KAMUT® is a miracle food — but including ancient grains like this one in your diet, may be a smart move for your overall health and this hearty salad is an easy, delicious way to start.
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Mediterranean Khorasan Wheat Salad
This tasty whole grain salad has staying power for packing lunches and meal prep. The tangy balsamic dressing ties it all together.
- 1 cup khorasan wheat cooked according to package instructions (can substitute farro or brown rice)
- 1/3 cup red onion finely diced
- 1 large zucchini cut into 1/4" dice
- 1/2 cup kalamata olives roughly chopped
- 1 cup fresh tomato seeded and cut into 1/2" dice
- 1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained, chopped
- 2 cups cooked chicken (from leftover rotisserie or grilled chicken)
- 1/3 cup currants (optional)
For Balsamic Vinaigrette:
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Cook the khorasan wheat according to the package directions. When it's finished cooking, drain any excess liquid and let the cooked grains cool to room temperature before adding them to the salad.
In a large bowl, combine the cooked Kamut or other grain, red onion, zucchini, kalamata olives, fresh tomato, sun-dried tomato, chicken and currants in a large bowl.
In a small prep bowl, combine the garlic, dijon, salt, pepper, balsamic and olive oil. Whisk to emulsify. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine.
Salad stay fresh for about 5 days, so it's great for weekly lunch prep.
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