Store-bought rotisserie chicken adds protein to this lively, aromatic dish; omit it for a satisfying vegetarian main course. If you can’t find spelt, use semi-pearled farro or whole wheat berries.
- 2 cups spelt, semi-pearled farro, or whole wheat berries, rinsed
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more for seasoning
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 1/2 teaspoons curry powder (such as madras)
- 2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
- 6 small carrots, peeled, cut into 1/4″ dice
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup thinly sliced red onion (about 1/2 large onion)
- 1/2 lemon cut lengthwise, ends removed, finely chopped with peel (about 1/2 cup)
- 3 cups shredded cooked chicken (from 1 rotisserie chicken; optional)
- 2 cups baby or wild arugula
- 2 cups (packed) cilantro sprigs with tender stems plus more for garnish
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Place spelt and 1 teaspoon kosher salt in a medium pot. Add water to cover by 1 1/2″. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until spelt is tender and water is mostly absorbed, about 1 hour (or 12-15 minutes if using semi-pearled farro). Drain; place in a large bowl.
- Meanwhile, heat vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add curry, mustard seeds, cardamom, and coriander; cook, stirring often, until spices are fragrant and mustard seeds begin to pop, 2-3 minutes. Stir in carrots and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until carrots are crisp-tender, 5-6 minutes.
- Add vinegar and stir until evaporated, 1-2 minutes. Stir in onion and lemon. Remove pan from heat and stir until onion is wilted, 1-2 minutes. Add vegetable mixture to bowl with spelt. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let cool. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.
- Add chicken (if using), arugula, 2 cups cilantro, and olive oil to spelt mixture; toss to combine. Transfer salad to a large platter. Garnish with cilantro sprigs.