Fall In Love With A New Whole Grain

Low Calorie Wheat Berry Salad

July 28, 2011   26 Comments

The comfort zone of American cuisine is meat, potatoes, and a wee bit of vegetables. When it comes to whole grains, we are sadly lacking.

Two readers are interested in something called "Wheatberry Salad".

From Denise:

I would love to see an incredible recipe for Wheatberry Salad which can be a snack. Our local Shop Rite sells it in their deli, but I would much rather make my own.

Eva's mother wants to make it, too!

So, what is a Snack Girl to do but go hunt down some wheat berries? - a whole grain I have never tried.

At my local Stop & Shop, the deli was like, "huh? wheat crappies salad?" - when I asked for wheat berry salad. The store manager was equally confused, but he found packaged wheat berries for me.

They were in the natural foods section and look like this:


I spent $3 for a pound and I was a bit FREAKED by having so many of them since I had never tried them before. But, I have good news!

Wheat berries rock! If there was a match-up between barley, quinoa, and wheat berries, wheat berries would take them DOWN. Why do I like them?

They lack the DIRT taste component that I don't like about other grains. They are nutty and have a lovely consistency (not gummy or crunchy) and I fell deeply in love with them.

They are my new favorite whole grain - and I will pay you $1 to try them (not really).

What is a wheat berry? The term wheat berry refers to the entire wheat kernel (except for the hull), comprising the bran, germ, and endosperm. You are getting all the nutrition from the wheat grain.

This salad is a take on Ina Garten's wheat berry salad recipe. She uses the equivalent of 12 tablespoons of olive oil, and I felt that it would work with less.

I did use one trick from her recipe and cook the onions. For some reason, I can't eat raw onions anymore (age? personality?) and I liked the idea of a sweeter onion taste that you can get from cooking them. You can skip this step, but I wouldn't.

This is a great replacement for a macaroni salad at a BBQ. I designed the salad for eight servings because this keeps well in the fridge and is a fantastic lunch, breakfast, or snack.

Have any of you made wheatberry salad?

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Wheatberry Salad Recipe

(8 servings)

2 cups wheat berries (soft or hard)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 medium red onion, chopped
6 scallions, white and green parts, sliced
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 lemon
salt and pepper (to taste)

In a saucepan, place the wheat berries, salt, and 6 cups water. Bring to a boil, cover, and then simmer for one hour. Wheat berries are done when you like the consistency (chewy but not gummy).

While the wheat berries are cooking, do the necessary chopping (dice the pepper, carrots, and onion - slice the scallions). Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium low heat and saute onions until translucent (about five minutes).

In a large bowl, mix pepper, carrots, cooked onion with olive oil, scallions and apple cider vinegar. Juice lemon and add to bowl.

When wheat berries are done, drain them in a fine meshed sieve and dump hot berries into bowl. Mix, taste, and adjust with salt and pepper. Let flavors meld for about an hour (or eat immediately).

Can be served warm, room temperature or cold and will keep in your fridge for four days.

134 calories, 7.2 g fat, 16.0 g carbohydrates, 2.7 g protein, 1.6 g fiber, 165 mg sodium, 4 Points+

Points values are calculated by Snack Girl and are provided for information only.
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First 20 Comments: [ see all 26 ]

I LOVE this blog. I've only recently discovered it, but it's been so helpful and wonderful. Thank you!

on July 28, 2011

As the daughter of a wheat farmer....this cracks me up! Wheat berries..my dad would get a kick out of this. We farm girls have know about wheat berries a long time...my mom used to wash them at harvest time and keep some around to cook a casserole with meat and veggies in it during the winter! She also had an electric gridner and ground her wheat berries into flour and made the best whole wheat bread you would ever taste!

on July 28, 2011

I LOVE Wheat Berries! The first time I had them was actually on an Air France flight. There's just something about their wonderful taste! I like em with some steamed chopped veggies, chicken breast, and a red wine tomato sauce. Yum yum!

on July 28, 2011

Love the picture of the dish and love the new idea. Bob's Red Mill is local to me, but I've never even heard of wheat berries. I feel a trip to the store in my very near future... and a new dish to serve up for BBQ'ing this weekend!

on July 28, 2011

Looks great, but I'll have to stick with quinoa and brown rice. I am gluten-free!

on July 28, 2011

This sounds delicious! I've never tried wheat berries either though I've seen them. My kids have been very receptive to trying new grains lately so I'm going to have to give this a try. Thanks!

on July 28, 2011

This dish looks fantastic. I'll surely be adding wheat berries to my grains repertoire!

on July 28, 2011

Sounds heavenly!! Can't wait to try it out!!

on July 28, 2011

And I thought wheat berries were just for grinding into flour to make bread with. THANKS!

on July 28, 2011

I have not tried the salad but my mom loves it so I want to thank you so much for this recipe. I am sure she will love it and she won't have to buy it from our grocery store deli section anymore.

on July 28, 2011

@Eva - please come back and tell us if she likes it!

on July 28, 2011

gracias por existir y por que Dios te entrego ese precioso don y enseƱar aotros acomer saludable me facinan todos los articulos que publicas,gracias muchisimas gracias

on July 28, 2011

I used to grind my own wheat for bread years ago, so I am familiar with wheat berries - just simply whole wheat grains. To help use up your berries, try grinding them roughly in a coffee grinder for a great whole grain hot cereal - the consistency of Irish Oatmeal(steel cut oats). I have a container in my pantry right now that I use for hot cereal. Really good and really healthy - have to figure the pts+ before cold weather-hot cereal time :-)

on July 28, 2011

I couldn't find wheat berry at 2 stores (the grocery store didn't have it and the health food store was sold out) so I actually took this opportunity to try quinoa for the first time. I used that as the basis for the recipe instead. I also used red wine vinegar because I had it on hand. All substitutions aside, what a delicious recipe! The lemon and sauteed red onion really make it pop.

on July 28, 2011

I am smiling...I just brought up the site and low and behold there is a Wheatberry Salad. I ventured down to the co op today to find fresh dates and my organic spring mix of lettuce. I came home with the dates, lettuce and a Cranberry Wheatberry Salad. According to label on container it also has currants, pecans, cranberries and wheatberry. It also lists lime juice, maple syrup, cardamon and cloves. It was quite good. I have had different grain salads from that coop deli a number of times. All have been outstanding. The one thing I like is they use only organic products and use farmers in the area for most of the ingredients used. Seeing the recipe you posted is encouraging me to try and make a grain salad on my own next time.
Thanks for the recipe...keep them coming

on July 29, 2011

This sounds delicious! A couple friends of mine were talking about wheat berries last night at dinner. So happy you posted a recipe for your readers!

on August 1, 2011

Just made this with quinoa while I wait for my Wheat Berries to arrive from amazon. So delicious! Can't wait to try it with the wheat berries!!

on August 1, 2011

Trader Joe's used to have a Wheatberry Salad mix (found on the shelf) that included dried cranberries and nuts - those were an awesome texture sensation. I've not seen it for a while but you're inspiring me to replicate it!

on August 2, 2011

Just made this again with the wheat berries. They are AWESOME! Thanks for the recommendation!

on August 4, 2011

Loved this salad. I warm it a little and top it with a little chicken or boca burger and some BBQ sauce.

on August 10, 2011

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