Wheat berry & Puy lentil salad with oven-roasted aubergine & Harissa-yogurt dressing
Photography by @sarkababicka
Wheat berries are whole, unprocessed wheat kernels and the basis of all wheat products. They are high in fiber with a characteristically chewy texture and while they take a while to cook, they definitely do not require soaking. Harissa is a North African chili condiment that is versatile to use and here I’ve used it to spice up the yogurt dressing.
Serves 4 as part of a main
Cook time: 1 hour
200g/7 oz/1 cup wheat berries
1 aubergine, thinly sliced
6 tbsp olive oil
3-4 sprigs of lemon thyme
100g/3 1/2 oz/1/2 cup puy lentils
1 tsp harissa paste
1/2 lemon, juiced
4 tbsp yogurt
1 handful spinach leaves
- Place a pot on medium heat, add the wheat berries and cover with 750ml/26fl oz/3 cups of water, season with plenty of sea salt and bring to a boil, then reduce, cover and simmer for about 1 hour or till the wheat berries are soft. Drain and set aside.
- As the wheat berries cook, pre-heat oven to 200C/400F/6G. Grease a baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Rub aubergine slices with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, sprinkle with salt and arrange on the baking sheet. Roast the aubergines in the oven, until softened and golden, about 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven, cover and set aside somewhere warm. Alternately, place a griddle pan on medium-high heat add the aubergines and the lemon thyme and sear the aubergines for about 5 minutes on each side, till they have softened and cooked through but not to the extent that they are falling apart. If you are following this step, then do it about 10 minutes before you are ready to serve to ensure they remain warm.
- During the last 30 minutes of the wheat berries cooking time, place a pot on medium heat, add the lentils and cover with 250ml/9 fl oz/1 cup of water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 20-25 minutes or till soft with a gentle bite. Drain well and set aside. Add the harissa paste, lemon juice and yogurt to a small mixing bowl and whisk till well incorporated. Adjust seasoning to taste. Set aside.
- Once the puy lentils and the wheat berries have cooked, combine together and toss with the remaining olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a serving plate. Sprinkle over the spinach leaves and top with the aubergine slices and any of the roasted lemon thyme sprigs. Pour the harissa yogurt over the salad or serve as a side.