wheat berry salad dotted with almonds, crtanberries, oranges, and kale

Wheat Berry Salad Makes a Healthy and Filling Main Course

wheatberries soaked in water.

Wheat berry salad is made from, well, wheat berries.

These whole wheat kernels have a satisfying al denteย that surprised me when I first tried the salad because just the name “wheat berry” sounds akin to “grape nut.”

I was expecting something bland and, let’s be honest, a lot of trendy foods just aren’t that great.

Why Wheat Berry Salad?

This grain came in one of our first CSA bags. I had no clue what to do with wheat berries, but I desperately wanted to prove to my husband that my summer food investment had been a good decision. Have you been there?

I searched Pinterest for recipes. Spoiler alert: there are a lot.  I combined the ideas from several recipes, looked at what I had in the fridge, and set about to put these grains to good use. (This is often my approach. I call it seat-of-the-pants cooking.)

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The directions told me to soak the berries overnight. Blast! I wanted something for lunch that day, so I just put them in a pot, covered them with three times as much water, and brought the pot to a boil. I partially covered the pot and then reduced it to a simmer, for about an hour. They cooked just fine.

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I let the berries cool and then drained the water out with a sieve.  Next, I prepared the fruits and vegetables, threw in some nuts and dried cranberries, and poured over a simple vinaigrette. Delicious!

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Wheat Berry Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
Prep Time
30 mins
chill time
1 hr
Course: salads
Cuisine: International
Keyword: wheat berry, wheatberries, wheatberry
Servings: 6
Author: A. JoAnn
  • 1 c. wheat berries
  • 3 c. water
  • 6 c. kale, curly, chopped
  • 1 orange, peel, pith, and membrane removed
  • 1 apple. cored and chopped
  • 3-4 scallions, chopped
  • 3/4 c. pecans or almonds, toasted
  • 1/2 c. cranberries, dried
Lemon Vinaigrette
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 3 tbsp. lemon juice, fresh
  • 1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 c. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper, ground
  1. Follow the directions for cooking the wheat berries as explained in the introduction. Drain and set aside to cool.

  2. Chop the kale, onions, and cored apple. Put these in a large bowl.

  3. Remove the peel, pith, and membrane of the orange with a sharp knife. Chop the orange. Add it and any juice you can save from the cutting board to the salad bowl.

  4. Mix in the cooked, cooled wheat berries.

  5. Next, whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients, adjusting proportions to your taste. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix it well and then, cover and refrigerate the salad for an hour before serving as this allows the flavors meld.

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Photo May 11, 10 48 32 AM

I don’t always remove the membrane — it depends on how lazy I am that day; but you must remove the pith (it is that white, spongy stuff under the peel), because it will taste bitter in the salad.

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I like to serve this salad with grilled meat and crusty rolls for an easy summer meal, and we often put it on top of mixed greens so that we get even more veggies in the diet.

There usually isn’t much in the way of leftovers which is good because after a day or so the dressing gets diluted as the fruits and vegetables release more liquid. So, if you are preparing this dish to take to a picnic be sure to make it the day of your event and not in advance.

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