I have fallen in love with wheat berries recently. If you're not familiar with these chewy, nutty morsels of nutritional goodness, here's an overview courtesy of Wikipedia:
The term wheatberry or wheat berry refers to the entire wheat kernel (except for the hull), composed of the bran, germ, and endosperm. Wheatberries have a tan to reddish brown color and are available as either a hard or soft processed grain. They are often added to salads or baked into bread to add a crunchy texture. If wheat berries are milled, whole-wheat flour is produced.If you'd like to read up on their nutritional value and discover more about wheat berries, go HERE.
I followed a recipe from Ellie Krieger for this super simple salad. It's a perfect summer dish since it is very light, refreshing and not too heavy. It was my lunch today and holds up well in the fridge ... great for make-ahead lunches throughout the week.
This salad is full of flavor. The wheat berries bring such a great texture to this dish. They are accented with a slight sweetness from the cherries, crunch from the pecans, crispness from the celery, freshness from the herbs and a light oniony zip from the scallions. And, the vinaigrette couldn't be simpler - just olive oil and fresh lemon juice. I was a bit skeptical of the combination of ingredients, but the salad is perfectly balanced and satisfying all while being healthful and nutritious!
I found wheat berries at my local health food store, but they are becoming more widely available in many stores ... sometimes sold in bulk bins and sometime pre-packaged. I paid around $2 for about 3 cups, so they are very economical to buy in bulk especially.
Yields 6 servings.
1 1/2 cups wheat berries
3/4 cup pecans or walnuts
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 - 1 cup dried cherries or dried cranberries, roughly chopped
1 scallion, chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro or fresh parsley leaves
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
In a medium pot combine the wheat berries and enough water to come 2 inches over the wheat berries. Bring to a boil and cook uncovered for 1 hour, or until tender. Drain and let cool.
Toast the nuts in a medium dry skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Roughly chop once cooled a bit.
In a large bowl, combine the wheat berries, nuts, celery, dried cherries (or cranberries), scallions, herbs, olive oil and lemon juice. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.