Wheat berries are not something that I grew up eating. In fact, up until yesterday I had never ever tried them. I recently purchased the America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family cookbook, and there was a recipe for a wheat berry salad in it. That inspired me to give them a try.
If you are looking for a good healthy, how-to kind of cookbook, then you should check this one out. It’s not a diet book, but more of a recipes made healthier kind of cookbook.
My wheat berry salad is quite different from theirs ingredient wise. I went with the Mediterranean flavors like kalamata olives, feta cheese, garlic, and onions. Those are some of my favorite ingredients, so I was pretty sure that it would turn out well. Even my husband, who wasn’t too sure about it at first, really liked it.
Wheat berries are very high in good nutrients, and are an excellent source of dietary fiber. They have a nice chewy texture, and kind of a nutty flavor to them. There are hard and soft varieties of wheat berries. I know that the Bob’s Red Mill company distributes them, but I found mine in the bulk section of my specialty grocery store.
Wheat berries ( I used the hard spring wheat kind), red onion, red bell pepper, garlic, pitted kalamata olives, feta cheese, a cucumber, fresh lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.
I’ve seen a lot of recipes where people soak the wheat berries for several hours prior to cooking, but the ATK people didn’t, so apparently that isn’t necessary. Bring a pot with four quart in it to a boil. Add the wheat berries and 1/4 teaspoon of salt to pot. Reduce the heat, partially cover, and simmer, stirring often until tender, about an hour. They should still be a little chewy.
Drain the wheat berries and place into a large bowl to cool while you prepare the other ingredients. I was short on time, so I actually drained them and ran under some cold water to cool them.
While those cool, prepare the rest of the ingredients. Finely dice up one small red bell pepper.
Peel and chop off both ends of a cucumber. Chop the cucumber in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds out using a small spoon.
Cut each of the halves down the center lengthwise.
Then, cut those in half lengthwise.
Now, begin dicing into small pieces.
Next, finely chop up a 1/4 cup of red onion and mince one garlic clove.
Finely chop 12 pitted kalamata olives.
Add everything into the bowl with the cooled wheat berries. Then, pour in three tablespoons of fresh lemon juice.
Add two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.
Mix to combine, then add a 1/3 cup of crumbled feta cheese.
Add salt and pepper to taste, then toss again.
Serve at room temperature. This is great as a side dish, or you can make it a main course by adding some chicken or canned tuna to it.