Egyptian Kamut Salad ♥ with Roasted Carrot & Pomegranate | A Veggie Venture: Egyptian Kamut Salad ♥ with Roasted Carrot & Pomegranate

Egyptian Kamut Salad ♥ with Roasted Carrot & Pomegranate

Egyptian Kamut Salad, another Meatless Monday recipe ♥, a whole-grain salad with roasted carrots, kale, dried fruit and walnuts, rained with pomegranate. Vegan.
A hearty main dish salad to celebrate Christmas Day in Egypt, that's January 7th according to the Julian calendar followed by Egyptian Coptic Christians. The whole-grain salad starts with the ancient grain called "kamut" [pronounced ka-mutt, rhymes with a mixed-breed dog, not a moot point], a chewy, nutty grain. From there? Gorgeous roasted carrots and some kale for color plus a basketful of Middle Eastern fruits, dates, apricots and pomegranate, all drizzled with pomegranate molasses. Not just vegan, "Vegan Done Real".

"We'll never eat all this," my head-talk worried. I'd just spent three hours in the kitchen concocting a massive whole-grain salad. The labor of my love sat on the counter before me on a white oval platter, a splendid pile of kamut, roasted carrots and kale plus more fruity jewels than a binge of Bejeweled. So beautiful! But my salad had formidable competition. I'd made it for the annual Christmas feast for some foodie friends here in St. Louis, our dinner theme that night was an "Egyptian Coptic Christmas". Call me surprised – shocked even – when all but a small portion disappeared in a flash. The next day I sampled the leftover salad on its own, without all the competition. Swoon ... beauty with soul!

It's a hearty salad to celebrate the Coptic Christmas Day today, that's January 7th. After the traditional 43 days of fasting before Christmas? Even better. This salad is definitely a feast food, a festival of color and texture and flavor. It would also be good for a special Meatless Monday. This salad has a few moving parts, the kamut, the carrots, the onion, the kale and all the fruit. But in the end? Totally worth it. [Still curious? Read more about the Coptic Christian tradition here, WhyChristmas.]

WHAT IS KAMUT? Kamut is the brand name for an "ancient grain" wheat called Khorosan – the kernels are twice as big and contain more protein. The texture is meaty, the taste nutty. Two years ago, it was nowhere to be found in St. Louis but is part of the wonderful product lineup from Bob's Red Mill. But if you can't find kamut, a good substitute would be the Italian grain called farro. Barley would also be a good substitute, so would buckwheat. (For my fellow Word Dancers. A brand name for a food, really? You know, like Kleenex is to tissue. Or Parmigiano Reggiano for genuine parmesan cheese.)


Hands-on time: 1 hour over about 90 minutes
Time to table: 24 hours
Makes about 6 cups

Plan ahead! The kamut needs to soak overnight before cooking.
1-1/2 cups kamut

1 pound carrots, preferably long and slim, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch thick rounds
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon olive oil

1 tablespoon olive oil
Kosher or sea salt
1 small red onion, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch thick half-moons

1 small bunch kale

Cooked kamut
Roasted carrots
Sautéed red onion
Cooked kale (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup toasted walnuts, chopped small
1/4 cup dates, cut into small bits
1/4 cup dried apricots, cut into bits
Additional salt, to taste
Additional white pepper, to taste
1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped fine

A few slivers of dried apricot
A few larger toasted walnuts
A "rain" of pomegranate seeds (here's the Quick & Easy Way to Remove the Seeds)
A drizzle of pomegranate molasses
A sprig of fresh mint plus few tiny mint leaves
A whole carrot, peeled, with an inch of stem still attached, optional

KAMUT At least one day before serving, cover the kamut plus four inches of water and let soak overnight. Drain the kamut, then cook following this recipe, Oven-Baked Whole-Grain Pilaf with Quinoa, Barley, Kamut & Other Grains. For the fat, don't hesitate to use a fat with flavor, I used some schmaltz leftover from smoking chickens, very good.

CARROTS Heat oven to 400F/200C. In a large bowl, stir together carrots, vinegar and oil until the carrot pieces are covered on all surfaces. Arrange in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet and let roast for 20 minutes. The carrots should be cooked but not soft or particularly caramelized. Let cool.

ONION Heat a skillet on medium heat, add oil and heat until shimmery. Add salt and onions, stirring to coat with fat. Let cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are fully cooked and have taken on a little color. Let cool.

KALE Wash kale well, cut out the center ribs and cut leaves into ribbons. Cook kale ribbons like this, Greek Greens (Flash Cook to Eat Later).

MIX IT UP! In a large bowl, stir together everything except the fresh mint. Taste and adjust the seasoning, salt and white pepper both – keep in mind that the toppings will be added later, you want a little heat. Now turn in the more delicate mint.

TOPPINGS On a platter, pile high the salad. Top with the apricot and walnuts, then "rain" with an abundance of pomegranate seeds. Drizzle with pomegranate molasses, then arrange a few mint leaves on top. If you're using a carrot for garnish, situate it too.

TO MAKE AHEAD, cook the kamut, carrots, onion and kale ahead of time and refrigerate separately. You can also cut up the dates and dried apricot, toast and chop the walnuts. Assemble the salad up to four hours before serving and refrigerate. Just before serving, pile salad high on a platter and "rain" with the toppings.

LEFTOVERS keep beautifully for a day or two.

KAMUT You "can" cook the kamut without soaking but I don't recommend it and you'll need to allow a lot more time and be prepared for the kamut to be quite meaty/chewy. It turns out, we liked this, it makes the salad seem way more "main dish" than a soft grain. After soaking, you "can" also cook the kamut on the stovetop in well-salted water but I especially appreciate how when it's baked, the cumin and white pepper penetrate the grain, seasoning it.
FOR A CROWD I doubled this recipe for serving two dozen at a large, many-course and many-dish meal. In addition to the toppings specified, I also peeled a fresh carrot, leaving an inch or so of the stem attached and laid it across the top. Very dramatic!

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Nice. I live near an Armenian market and have been working my way through their more adventurous ingredients. I made use of my rosewater and tamarind syrup but I needed an inspirational recipe for my pomegranate molasses ( other than a sub for grenadine in a Virgin tequila sunrise!) Will try this

Pomegranate molasses cooked with cranberries and shallots makes a great topping for grilled/baked/poached salmon.

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