Sweetcorn and wholewheat salad

    1 hour 20 min

    Grains of wholewheat have a distinctive sweet, nutty flavour and slightly chewy texture. Here they are mixed with grilled fresh sweetcorn, toasted walnuts and crisp vegetables in a fragrant orange dressing to make a nutritious salad that is substantial enough to serve as a well-balanced main course.

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    Serves: 4 

    • 300 g (10½ oz) pre-cooked wholewheat grains
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 2 corn on the cob
    • ½ tbsp sunflower oil
    • 75 g (2½ oz) walnuts, broken
    • 1 red pepper, seeded and diced
    • 115 g (4 oz) button mushrooms, sliced
    • ½ cucumber, cut into small chunks
    • 1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
    • 1 egg, hard-boiled and sliced
    • salt and pepper
    • sprigs of fresh mint to garnish
    • Walnut and orange dressing
    • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
    • ½ tsp finely grated orange zest
    • 1 tbsp orange juice
    • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
    • 1 tbsp walnut oil

    Prep:1hr  ›  Cook:20min  ›  Ready in:1hr20min 

    1. Put 900 ml (1½ pints) water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the wholewheat grains and the bay leaf. Simmer for 15–20 minutes or until the wholewheat is tender and all the liquid has been absorbed. Discard the bay leaf and tip the wholewheat grains into a mixing bowl.
    2. While the wholewheat grains are cooking, preheat the grill to moderately high. Brush the corn cobs all over with the sunflower oil, then put them on the rack of the grill pan. Grill for about 10 minutes, turning frequently, until tender and lightly charred in places. Set aside to cool slightly.
    3. Meanwhile, spread out the walnuts in a baking tin. Put them under the grill and cook for 2–3 minutes or until lightly toasted, turning them frequently and watching them all the time as they burn easily. Set aside.
    4. When the corn is cool enough to handle, cut the kernels off the cobs with a sharp knife. Add them to the wholewheat grains.
    5. To make the dressing, whisk together the mustard, orange zest and juice, sunflower oil and walnut oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle the dressing over the warm wholewheat grains and corn, and toss well to mix. Leave to cool completely.
    6. Add the red pepper, mushrooms, cucumber, mint and toasted walnuts to the wholewheat mixture and toss gently together. Taste and add more seasoning, if needed. Serve at room temperature, garnished with slices of hard-boiled egg and sprigs of mint.

    Some more ideas

    If you cannot get pre-cooked wholewheat grains, soak ordinary wheat grains in cold water for 3–4 hours or overnight. The next day, drain and rinse, then put in a saucepan with 1.4 litres (2½ pints) cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 1½ hours or until tender and the water has been absorbed, stirring occasionally. * For a barley and egg salad, heat 2 tsp sunflower oil in a large saucepan, add 300 g (10½ oz) pearl barley and 1 crushed garlic clove, and cook gently for about 1 minute. Add a bay leaf and pour in 1.2 litres (2 pints) boiling vegetable stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 35–40 minutes or until the barley is tender. Drain off any excess stock, then tip the barley into a bowl and leave to cool. Mix in 170 g (6 oz) tiny broccoli florets, 170 g (6 oz) tiny cauliflower florets, 1 seeded and sliced yellow pepper and a bunch of sliced spring onions. For the dressing, whisk together 2 tbsp sunflower oil, 1 tsp toasted sesame oil, 2 tsp sherry vinegar, 2 tsp light soy sauce, the juice squeezed from a 2.5 cm (1 in) piece of grated fresh root ginger, and pepper to taste. Drizzle over the salad. Add 55 g (2 oz) toasted sunflower seeds and 15 g (½ oz) toasted sesame seeds and toss together. Gently mix in 4 hard-boiled eggs, cut into wedges, just before serving at room temperature.

    Plus points

    Wholewheat grains are an excellent source of B vitamins and vitamin E. They are also a useful source of the essential minerals iron, selenium and zinc. * Polyunsaturated oils, such as sunflower oil, contain large amounts of vitamin E, which prevents the oil from going rancid or ‘off’. In the body, vitamin E helps to protect cell membranes from damage by free radicals. * Walnuts provide useful amounts of vitamin E, many of the B vitamins and potassium.

    Each serving provides

    A, C, copper * B1, E, niacin, iron * B2, B6, folate, calcium, potassium, selenium, zinc

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