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Mike McColl

Mairlyn Smith is on a mission.

“I’m going to be the queen of fibre if it’s the last thing I do,” the Toronto-based cookbook author says.

Eating fibre has been shown to lower a person’s risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer, among other health benefits.

Still, it’s not exactly an exciting culinary proposition.

The key to getting people to put more fibre in their diet is providing recipes that are easy, accessible and tasty, Smith says.

Take, for instance, the recipe for Italian bread salad without the bread, from her new cookbook, Peace, Love & Fibre.

It substitutes bread with wheat berries, the source of whole grain flour.

“You’ve heard of an Italian bread salad, but I’m just going to switch it up and get you to eat a whole grain that you may never have eaten before,” Smith says.

That positivity and enthusiasm is genuine. Peace, love and fibre isn’t just the title of her eighth cookbook – it’s also her personal philosophy.

“Health isn’t the absence of illness. It’s a whole bunch of healthy behaviours. And peace and love in your life is part of that healthy lifestyle."

Italian Bread Salad Without the Bread

Wheat berries

  • 1 cup wheat berries
  • 2 cups water

Rinse the wheat berries and let drain. Add wheat berries and water to a 3½ quart sauce pan. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low. There will be bubbling but not a rapid boil. Cook for 35 to 50 minutes. Do not let boil dry – check three-quarters of the way through to make sure there is still water in the bottom of the pot. When the water has been absorbed, remove from heat and leave covered for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Salad Dressing
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • ½ cup diced red onion
  • 5 ripe cocktail or Kumato tomatoes, cut in eighths
  • ½ cup fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
  • 2 Tbsp capers, drained, rinsed and coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups cooked wheat berries

Make the salad dressing. In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, and garlic. Crushing releases the most flavour, so a little clove will go a long way in this salad

Add the onion, tomatoes, basil and capers and toss gently but well. You don’t want the tomatoes to go all mushy. Add the wheat berries, toss gently, and serve.

NOTE: Kumato tomatoes are a naturally brown-skinned cocktail tomato that are sweet and firm and fabulous.

Excerpted from Peace, Love and Fibre: Over 100 Fibre-Rich Recipes for the Whole Family by Mairlyn Smith. Copyright © 2019 Mairlyn Smith. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

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