Perfect Protein Salad

If it wasn’t for the PCC Deli, sometimes I wouldn’t eat.  And if it wasn’t for the PCC Deli, sometimes I wouldn’t eat so much…. Yesterday’s lunch and dinner came from their deli case and I am always grateful to know that I can walk into any one of their stores and find something vegan, delicious, and healthy in a snap.  
If it’s possible to request food now for the afterlife I’d like to place my order.  In fact, it would be great if it could look just the PCC Deli, but be more of a buffet situation if possible.  Please let there be vegan pesto pizza, Emerald City Salad, and Spicy Tofu and Spelt Berries. Oh, and some fresh marinated beets please?  Glad we settled that. 
This delicious little salad originally came from the PCC Deli and is loaded with hearty chickpeas, chewy spelt berries, and fresh veggies.  They use a vegan mayo in their dressing, but I opted for using cashews instead.  Blending soaked cashews creates a creamy, rich dressing and since I only blended them for a few seconds, there’s still a bit of texture.  I also added in some fresh basil since I happen to have a ton of it growing at the moment, but you could also leave it out and add in some extra parsley if desired. 
Perfect Protein Salad
Adapted from PCC Natural Markets
Serves 6 – 8
1 cup spelt berries, raw
3 cups water
2 cups garbanzo beans, cooked
1 English cucumber, seeded and diced (I didn’t peel mine)
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
3 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
1/4 red onion, diced
3 green onions, diced
1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, chiffonade
3/4 cup raw cashews, soaked in water overnight
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon dried dill
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Boil spelt berries in water until tender, about 45 minutes.  Drain and cool.
In a medium bowl, mix together the cooked spelt, garbanzo beans, diced cucumber, bell pepper, celery, carrots, red onion, green onion, parsley and basil.  
For the dressing: drain the cashews and add to a food processor with the lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, dill, salt, and garlic.  Process until creamy, but with a bit of texture (the consistency should be similar to ricotta cheese). 
Mix the dressing with the salad and let sit in the refrigerator until serving. 
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