So, I realized recently that I almost always just kind of, sort of, follow a recipe. I usually start out planning to follow the recipe exactly but it just doesn't work out that way.
Like when I was looking for a nice grain bowl or grain salad to make for lunch I found this recipe for Cranberry-Pecan Wheat Berry Salad from Taste of Home. It looked good in the picture and the ingredients all sounded good. So I started to make my shopping list. Well, I didn't have any wheat berries. I was going to put them on my list when I realized I had a whole bag of farro. So why not just use what I had on hand. How different could they be, really? And then I got to walnut oil. Walnut oil? I didn't even know they sold bottles of walnut oil until I read this recipe so I was pretty sure I was never going to have a use for it again and I didn't want to buy a bottle of something that would just sit around forever. So I used olive oil instead. Everything else I did according to the recipe. Although I will admit that some of the quantities were eyeballed.
As with a lot of grain salads like this one there is not a lot of cooking to do. You have to cook the grain but that is mostly just waiting. You combine all the ingredients for the dressing in a bowl (All of which I had on hand except the walnut oil. I like when that happens and I get to use what I have instead of having to buy a bunch of ingredients.) There is sage and thyme in the dressing. The recipe gives you the amount to use for either fresh or dried. I used dried because I had them and I have a habit of only using a small amount of fresh herbs and having to throw away the rest. Then there is a little bit of chopping to do. And the rest is just mixing everything together. So nothing too complicated or time consuming.
It made for a very satisfyingly and filling lunch. The very savory dressing matches well with the fruit so it has a nice balance. The apple gives you a nice crunch for a nice texture against the chewy grain. I think it was the sage and thyme in the dressing but there was something about it that made me think of Thanksgiving. It reminded me of the stuffing my mother would always make.
Sometimes when there is no meat or cheese in lunch I feel the lack of it. But in this one I don't. It was definitely a full meal. I will keep the recipe on hand and maybe even use wheat berries next time. Or barley or quinoa or whatever.