When I make salads, I have a fairly basic formula that I adapt based on what I have on hand: greens, extra vegetables, grains, nuts or seeds, a basic vinaigrette, and protein (either legumes or eggs). This spinach salad follows my basic formula, pairing some wonderful spring produce — green garlic and spinach — with the earthy, chewiness of the spelt. Add the hard-boiled egg and you have a quite the hearty salad.
I have a soft spot for spelt. This wheat grain has such a wonderful nutty and slightly sweet flavor; it holds its texture when cooked, making it a great companion for salad. Using spelt and adding nuts or seeds to a salad usually helps me avoid going crazy with croutons (I really love the crunch from croutons).
As for the garlic, I’m always amazed at what a versatile plant it is. In the spring, garlic scapes and green garlic are two different ways to add a light garlic flavor to recipes. While green garlic looks like overgrown scallion, don’t be fooled — the flavor is pure garlic (and I think quite wonderful)! Look for it at farmers markets and gourmet grocery stores from now until early summer.
If you would like to make this salad gluten-free, I highly suggest swapping out the spelt for sorghum. This makes the salad gluten-free while keeping the nutty flavor and chewy texture.
Egg, Spinach, and Spelt Salad with Green Garlic Dressing
Makes 2 servings
For the salad:
4 cups lightly packed spinach
1 cup cooked and cooled spelt (1/2 cup uncooked spelt)
3 tablespoons roasted sunflower seeds
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (see Recipe Note)
1/4 cup black olives
2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
For the dressing:
1 stem green garlic, white and light green parts only
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
In a bowl, toss together the spinach, spelt, sunflower seeds, sun-dried tomatoes, and black olives. In a blender, pulse the green garlic until in small pieces. Measure in the remaining dressing ingredients and run the blender until the dressing is smooth and emulsified. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as desired.
Divide the salad into two bowls and top with sliced egg and a drizzle of the green garlic dressing. Store any unused dressing in the refrigerator.
To control the amount of oil that goes on my salad, I started buying dried (not oil-packed) sun dried tomatoes and rehydrating them with warm water. These sun-dried tomatoes can be found at both Whole Foods and Trader Joe's.
(Image credits: Erin Alderson)