Cooling down with chili [Speltberry Salad with Apricot Chili Dressing]

Summer’s bounty in a hearty satisfying speltberry salad accompanied by a fruity dressing with a spicy kick.

Maybe I need to reconsider my plans of moving to California one day. Because if me adapting [or failing at it] to the current heatwave is any indicator of how I’d do over there… oh well. You can get used to a lot, right? These past days, though, were quite a change – and a challenge – for me.

Apricot chili_salad

So what do you do in the heat? Or rather: what do you eat in the heat? Salad. Only: if you’ve been around for a while you know I’m the odd vegetarian who doesn’t like salad. Well, salad salads, at least. A pile of leafy greens with – at the worst – a vinegar-y or mustard-infused dressing? Very sweet of you to offer but thanks, I’ll pass on that one. For me, a salad needs to have that special something. It has to fill me up and not just because of its stomach-widening capacities of low-calorie vegetables but nutrient-dense ingredients like grains and beans. Actually, my kind of salads need to follow the formula for a balanced vegan meal: a grain, a green, a bean.

Speltberry salad IV

Adding some of the fresh apricots I’d gotten at the Farmers’ Market – that were on their last legs already thanks to the vendor handing me a bag of very soft ones, thankyourverymuch – was only natural. Because isn’t everybody on a mission to eat their body weight in all kinds of fresh produce during the short period it’s available? From what I heard apricot season is pretty short so I didn’t want to let it pass without eating my share – fear of missing out [on food]??! Given my penchant with the combination of chili and sweetness I couldn’t not add some chili/ red pepper flakes to the dressing. There’s no logical explanation for some decisions aside from gut instinct. And a good gut instinct it was here.

 

Speltberry salad_apricot chili dressing2

 Speltberry Salad with Apricot Chili Dressing [vegan + gluten-free option]

  • 1/4 cup speltberries* [see below for subs and gluten-free option]
  • 1 orange mini bell pepper or 1/4 a regular bell pepper, sliced thinly
  • 4-5 leaves of pointed cabbage, sliced thinly
  • a handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup chickpeas
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • a piece of ginger [about 1/2 tsp minced] – this made for a very pronounced ginger taste so feel free to use less
  • a splash of coconut milk
  • 1/4 tsp each cayenne pepper and smoked paprika
  • salt and pepper

 

Dressing

  • 3 ripe apricots [about 100 g], pitted
  • 1/4 tsp chili flakes
  • pinch of cayenne pepper

 

  1. Cook the speltberries according to package directions. Set aside.
  2. Sauté the garlic in coconut oil. Add bell pepper and stir-fry for about two minutes, then add cabbage and ginger. Sauté until the cabbage is wilted.
  3. Add the coconut milk. Then mix in the tomatoes, speltberries and chickpeas to warm through.
  4. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. For the dressing blend the apricots and spices with about a tablespoon of water to reach a drizzly consistency.
  6. Serve the salad either warm or cold.

* alternatively, you could use wheatberries [one popular brand being ‘Ebly’], farro or simply short-grain brown rice [gluten-free option]

For once I actually didn’t reheat a dish like I usually do when I’m finished taking pictures of it. Instead, I kept it chilled with the chili kick because spicy food can help you stay cool on hot days. Bring on the chili peppers!

Speltberry salad

Rumors has it they serve some pretty good salads in California – and I don’t have any doubts there. So maybe that’s the trick to staying cool over there? One day I’ll know. One day…

In hopes like some chili to chill down, too, I’m sharing this with Laura, Kierston, Tasty Tuesdays#FoodieFridayReal Food Wednesday, Recipe of the Week, Allergy-free Wednesday, the Real Food Recipe Roundup, Gluten-Free Wednesdays, Healthy Vegan Fridays and the Virtual Vegan Linky Potluck

Happiness inducing today: Helping my sister by proof-reading a job application she’d written. I’m the odd person who actually enjoys tasks like that – and my family and friends know.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

 

What’s the formula for your favourite kind of salad?

Do you dream of moving to another country? California and several other states in the US are places I’d really like to live and work at least temporarily one day.

Are you dealing well with heat in general?

 

 

[Un]typically me

Today’s not your average Wednesday. Not because it’s What I ate Wednesday [not a surprise anymore] but because it’s the 100th Vegan Wednesday. For any of you who haven’t noticed me linking up with this weekly foodie event yet: think of it as the German little sister [brother?] of Jenn’s link-up. Even if you’re neither vegan – because we areed it doesn’t matter – nor German the pictures on the boards alone are a great source of meal inspiration. Either way: Happy birthday, Vegan Wednesday! And now onto the food:

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You might already know it but I really like spotting patterns in the meals I’m showing you on What I ate Wednesday.  The last days with their ongoing heat had me strain from my usual fare quite a bit. Starting at breakfast already. I’m usually not a cold oatmeal person – unless having to pack breakfast –  or in fact not even usually an oatmeal person. Bran is my favourite form of oats but sticking with Arman’s recipe for Tiramisu Oatmeal Pudding I went with rolled. Or -rolled-  with rolled?! If you know me the mention of Tiramisu should catch ýou by surprise if you’ve been reading for a while already. Coffee?! Yes, coffee.

Breakfast and more 009

Much to my own surprise I actually found I needed to add the whole amount of instant coffee listed after I’d started with 1/2 a teaspoon. The recipe turned out delicious though I think since the cocoa powder I use is a ‘darker’ kind – the best! – mine ooks a lot darker than Arman’s. Also, I modified the recipe using chia seeds instead of the egg and thickened soy yogurt instead of cream cheese for the frosting.  For whichever reason I felt extra productive the morning I ate this … Could it possibly have been the coffee?? So yes, I liked it but if you’re like me you’ll want to double the topping  [or simply not eat half of it before actually using it on the oatmeal]. I might have actually been pondering the purchase of a tin of instant coffee – for oats and baking purposes only. Who am I???

Speltberry salad_apricot chili dressing II

Another untypical meal was salad for lunch. Not the salad salad kind, though. A huge bowl based on leafy greens doesn’t attract me even in the current heat. What does are substantial salads like this packed with chewy speltberries,  chickpeas, sauteed cabbage and covered in a fruity dressing with a little kick … chili. Maybe it was running out of one of my favourite chocolates and longing for the spiciness? We know that makes me do strange things.  As if eating salad for lunch wasn’t untypical enough for me already for once I actually didn’t mind eating a dish cold after I finished shooting the pictures. The recipe will be up on Friday.

Speltberry salad_apricot chili dressing

Now onto the sweet part of today’s post: No celebratory cake for the 100th Vegan Wednesday on my part but how about something that’s much more typically me to celebrate? Ice cream. More specifically: the new vegan Choco Cookie Dough flavour by DasEis.

June 009

Finding vegan ice cream flavours aside from vanilla, strawberry and chocolate is hard enough already in Germany [can I get some sympathy from you lucky guys overseas please?!]. The more special – and challenging – part about this particular ice cream for me: a stellar ingredient list [only real and organic ingredients like oats, agave and almond butter plus it’s soy-free] and no nutrition label. Meaning no chance to worry about eating a certain number of calories simply because I didn’t know them. And because I didn’t have to share with anybody I ate it straight from the tub. The benefits of being single.

June 011

For any German readers: To be honest I found this a nice change from the usual sorbets but a little too sweet and the chocolate taste not intense enough for my liking. While this ice cream isn’t bad I likely won’t buy it again looking at the hefty price tag. If you’re curious, though, it’s currently on offer at denns. Just because it wasn’t for me doesn’t mean others won’t enjoy it.

Happiness-inducing today: Unplugging for a few hours.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
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Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

 

Name one food-related thing/ habit that’s typically or untypically you!

Oatmeal, oat bran, steel-cut, … – tell me your favourite form of oats!

Because the question of favourite ice cream flavour is impossible to answer: What is the most unique ice cream flavour you’ve eaten so far?

Cheerily changing palates

Some things never change, some do. One thing that [hopefully] won’t change anytime soon? Wednesdays being synonymous with foodie fun. One thing that has changed for the very best? My palate. Let me explain …

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Do you have any foods that you didn’t like when you were younger and proclaimed you also would never ever in the world eat when growing up? Whatever mum and dad used to tell you about changing tastes was nonsense. Obviously … not. For me, some of those would have been tomatoes. In my memory  they used to be those watery, slimy, rather tasteless vegetables with unpleasant little bits.  These days I can hardly get enough of them. Especially not if they’re from my mum’s garden and taste super sweet and flavourful – almost too good to cook with so most of them get eaten pure.

Mum's tomatoes

Feel free to laugh or be shocked but:  I never liked salad growing up. Never. What was supposed to be appealing about chewing on crunchy, tasteless leaves drowned in acidy, mustard-y dressings? No, thanks. In my defense, though, I wasn’t potato salad’s hugest fan, either – no mayonnaise for  this girl. That being said I was known as the “weird non-salad-eating vegetarian” by just about everybody.

After all I was just meaning to leave more salad for Bugs Bunny. Obviously …

Fun tidbit: Did you know that Mel Blanc, the voice of Bugs Bunny, was supposedly allergic to carrots? [He denied this.] Don’t you think he’d have had a pretty hard time connecting with his role if that was true?

Let’s say I had a life-changing food-preference-changing experience the past weekend. Just four words: Taco salad with guacamole.

Taco Salad_

With my tongue finally allowing me to eat more than yogurt, blended soups and ice cream again this recipe was the first one on my list. How could I not like a dish containing both chickpeas (addicted!) and guacamole?! I’ll admit I cheated on the last part because I have yet to appreciate the taste of cilantro aside from that and a few other minor changes I followed Leanne’s recipe closely.

Taco salad

The next one wasn’t exactly a food I didn’t enjoy. Yet I can’t remember eating a lot of blueberries throughout my childhood as strawberries – once more straight from my mum’s garden – were more abundant. Nowadays? Cant.get.enough. We can finally find local ones for a decent price again – blueberry season was delayed by the too-cold Spring and early Summer this year.

More Blueberries

Ending on a sweet note once more: Mangoes weren’t on my hit list of fruit back in the day, either. I’m glad it changed and am celebrating 😉 by eating my fair share of mango sorbet. We might not have nearly as large a variety of fancy non-dairy ice creams around here but some seriously good sorbets.

Mango sorbet

 Happiness inducing today: The kind librarian helping me to order a book from a library further away so I wouldn’t have to commute there myself.

What’s your favourite non-boring fresh and summery salad? Please feel free to share recipes!

Which foods that you didn’t like growing up are you fond of nowadays?