With the warm weather that we have been blessed with over the past couple of weeks my family has started to ask for salads and cold soups for meals. Last night I made a wheat berry salad that is a big hit with family and guests around my house (yes — we fell off our gluten-free diet with this meal, but it is so rich in nutrients that I just couldn’t pass this salad by).
If you are not familiar with wheat berries here is a bit of background.
- Wheat berries are whole wheat kernels. They look like thick, short grains — similar to brown rice.
- When boiled, cooked wheat berries have a chewy bite and subtle nutty, earthy flavor. They’re sturdy enough to handle bold salad dressings and still delicate enough to taste delicious with some milk, honey and cinnamon.
- If you like sprouts on salads and sandwiches, add a little water to wheat berries and you can grow your own wheat sprouts.
- Since the wheat kernel is left intact, virtually none of the nutrients are stripped away. A cup of cooked wheat berries has about 300 calories and is packed with fiber, protein and iron. Tasty sprouts are loaded with vitamin E, a cell-protecting antioxidant, and magnesium.
- 2 cups uncooked wheat berries
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1 large carrot, grated
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 cloves garlic, mashed
- 1/4 cup finally chopped red onion
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 1/2 medium red pepper, diced
- 1/2 to 2/3 cups crumbled goat cheese
- Cover wheat berries by 1 inch with water in a medium saucepan set over high heat. Add in a generous pinch of sea salt. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until chewy, about 45-50 minutes (taste and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes if you’d like). Drain and transfer to a medium bowl.
- While wheat berries are cooking, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, water, olive oil, garlic, red onion, and parsley in a small bowl (or shake together in a small jar). Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- While the drained cooked wheat berries are still warm, toss with the vinaigrette.
- Allow the salad mixture to cool to room temperature and then stir in the cranberries, grated carrots, red pepper and goat cheese.
- Chill the salad for at least on hour prior to serving.