Sunday, February 01, 2009

Wheat berry salad...

We ran through 6 new recipes this week and looking back, I think our favorites this time were that fun Goat Cheese Quiche with Hash-Brown Crust, the espresso-laced Cappuccino Squares and those Two-Cheese Pepperoni Calzones.

I think the dinner we prepared tonight, Wheat Berry Salad with Goat Cheese and Golden Raisins, will have to be made again this summer as it would be a good veggie meal to take on a picnic.

If you've never cooked with wheat berries before, do note that they will take about an hour to cook in simmering salted water. Full of nutrition, once these very affordable reddish-brown whole grain kernels are cooked, they will be chewy, yet tender, and have a dynamite nutty background.

To bulk up this salad, we added about three cups worth of chickpeas, a chopped bulb of fennel, plump golden raisins, green onions and a few coarsely chopped green olives. Up to this point, you could stash this mixture into the refrigerator for two to three days if you wanted to get some of the work done ahead of time. To moisten this salad with a sweet, yet tangy dressing, we combined a very simple mixture of balsamic vinegar and sticky honey.

To serve, we tossed a little of that dressing with tender leaves of baby spinach for a green base. The rest of the dressing is poured into the wheat berry mixture, tossed around and then mounded on top. For an inviting topping, we sprinkled over a handful of chopped toasted pistachios for a little crunch, then dropped soft, creamy crumbles of goat cheese for a bit of tang. Light and refreshing, if you wanted to add a peppery bite to this intriguing salad, swap out the baby spinach for arugula - if you would like to bring this along for a picnic, just toss the undressed spinach, nuts and cheese into the same container as the salad and keep the dressing separate in a container. Just before serving, toss it all together and dig in!


  1. Yes that would be perfect for a picnic. I was thinking also feta cheese and dry cranberries. That would be good.

  2. Where'd you get the wheatberries?


  3. Oooh - I'm starting to use wheat berries more and more. They were really easy to cook and great to eat. Of course I stocked up, so this will be a great way to use some of my extras. Yum!

  4. See this is why I love your blog, I see things I wouldn't normally make look so darn good that it makes me want to make it!

  5. Joe, I made this last night. Although I changed the recipe a lot (I left out the fennel and olives, subbed in dried cranberries for the raisins and walnuts for the pistachios), it was delicious. And quick! And healthy! Thanks!

  6. Helene - Good choices!

    Quinn - I get them in the bulk section from our local co-op. Whole Foods should have them too.

    CC - Great!

    Bunny - I hope you do give them a try! We have a great wheat berry chili posted too.

    Lauren - I like the sound of your changes.

  7. This sounds good! I had a wheatberry salad with long grain wild rice and dried cranberries over the holidays and I've been dying to replicate it ever since.

  8. Hi all,

    Astarell here..Here's another great one:
    Don't have amount but try a cup of the first 4 ingredients. Then less of the rest.
    Soak wheatberries overnight.
    Soak mung beans overnight.
    Soak sunflower seeds overnight.
    Soak golden raisins in orange juice overnight.
    Cook wheatberries till tender but crunchy.
    Finely chop green onions, or red onions.
    Finely chop green peppers and red peppers.
    Drain mung beans and sunflower seeds.
    Combine cooled wheatberries, mung beans, sunflower seeds, golden raisins, onions, peppers. Add some orange juice, some honey to taste, and some finely chopped parsley, and cucumber if you wish. Use your imagination but the crunch and the plump raisins is a great combo.