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