Sunday, June 15, 2008

Perfect Protein Salad

Perfect Protein Salad
Many moons ago, there was a great health food store in Westport, CT called, Food For Thought. My husband and I loved their deli and frequented it often. We had two favorite things we loved to buy there...the Perfect Protein Salad and the Baked Marinated Tofu. Since the store closed, I have yet to find anything even close to the tofu they made there anywhere else - nor do I know how to make it. But I was able to find the salad again!
I was so surprised {and thrilled!} to find it on a recent visit to the salad bar at my local Whole Foods. Of course, I bought a container, and it was exactly how I remembered it. I wondered how a long gone, locally owned, health food store and a huge, national chain had the same recipe? I researched a bit and discovered that it was a Mollie Katzen recipe. it made perfect sense. Mollie is the queen of natural, vegetarian cooking, and I just so happen to own the Moosewood Cookbook, which is where the recipe can be found. After all these years, the recipe for one of my favorite salads has been right under my nose. This salad if the epitome of healthy eating. With every bite, you know you're putting something very good for you in your body. It's chewy, nutty, and oh so delicious!
This is not the exact recipe - for that you'll need the cookbook. I took a few creative liberties with mine, due to what I had available, and my desire to have it taste precisely as I remembered it to be. I also doubled the recipe because it's a bit labor intensive to chop all the ingredients, and I wanted to have it on hand in the fridge for a bit. If you'd like to make less you can easily halve the quantities.
Perfect Protein Salad
This salad just gets better with time, so I recommend making enough for leftovers! I love eating a big scoop on top of a green salad, as the dressing and liquid released from the vegetables as they sit makes a great salad dressing too.
Love legumes? Here are some other great recipes to try! - Edamame & Fennel Salad | Black Bean, Chicken & Rice Bowl with Apple Salsa | Lentil & Bulgur Salad | Havana Black Beans

Perfect Protein Salad

{printable recipe}
Yields: 12 servings
Adapted from the Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen

1 1/2 cups dry soybeans
1 1/2 cups dry wheat berries
6 scallions, finely chopped
2 medium carrots, finely chopped
2 medium cucumbers, seeded & finely chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 cup cottage cheese
1 cup minced flat leaf parsley
1/2 cup minced fresh dill
1/2 cup cider vinegar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3-4 cloves garlic, minced

Place the soybeans and wheat berries in separate saucepans and cover with water. Soak the beans for 4 hours, or overnight. Drain, place back in their pots, and cover with fresh water by a few inches. Bring both to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook, partially covered until tender. The soybeans will take about 1 hour and 15 minutes, and the wheat berries will take about 30-45 minutes. Taste them both as they near their cooking time, and remove from the heat when they reach a texture you prefer.

Drain the beans and wheat berries and add both to a large mixing bowl. To them add the scallions, carrots, cucumber, bell pepper, cottage cheese, parsley, and dill. Toss to combine.

In a separate small bowl, whisk together the cider vinegar, salt, pepper, mayonnaise, and garlic. Add the dressing to the salad and toss to combine. Check the salad for seasoning, and add some additional salt and pepper, if desired. Serve right away, or store in an airtight container, refrigerated, for up to a week.


test it comm said...

I really like the sound of this salad, especially the use of the cottage cheese.

The Jones' said...

found your blog by searching for perfect protien salad. Love the pics of the prep. Thanks! Found an exact recipe here:

moi said...

I love this salad and am actually enjoying some right now. This is the first time that I have seen it at the Hanover co-op in years and couldn't resist bringing a tub of it home. It is okay but not as good as you can make at home. I also leave out the mayo and make a light dressing of a splash of fruity olive oil and seasoned rice vinegar and increase the amount of fresh dill and substitute some delicious feta (preferably fresh and local) for the cottage cheese. Yum.

Karen said...

Do you think substituting 1/2 cup of cilantro (or 1/2 bunch) instead of all parsley would be all right? I've not had the salad, but it looks mouthwateringly delicious! I love the tangy freshness of cilantro, but didn't know if it would work with the ingredients well. I know, I know, I'm not much of a chef, but I do like to experiment. Scary, huh?

Dar said...

I love reading your recipes and the photos are fantastic as well.

Thank you,

Anonymous said...

I will make this salad and pack it for my son's school lunch, I think that he is tierd of
cold sandwiches. Any other ideas for school lunches??

katie said...

I wish my children would eat this for lunch! Unfortunately, I can't seem to get them to touch beans.

School lunch is a constant struggle in my house. I wish I had more ideas for you! I have considered making some school lunch posts, to help inspire people. Because, I know I could use it!

At the moment, our rotation includes, tortilla roll up sandwiches {I use cream cheese instead of mayo to keep them held together & get less soggy. This helps in the likeability dept. too}, bagels with cream cheese & sliced tomatoes, grilled cheeses sliced into "dunking" strips w/tomato soup, chicken noodle soup, and mini meatballs w/pasta.

Calophi said...

DO you think this salad would still work with Kasha? I am trying to make this gluten-free because people attending a picnic I want to bring it to have celiac.

Courtneybee said...

This is quite possibly the best salad ever!

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