Want to eat healthier? Skip the whole-wheat bread and start eating wheat the right way — with wheat berries!
Wheat berries are wheat kernels direct from the stalk with only the hull removed (the inedible portion). Wheat berries represent wheat in its least processed, most nutrient-dense form.
Usually, these kernels are processed into flour (either refined or whole), which can then be used to make whole-wheat bread, pastas, and other flour-based foods. So by eating wheat berries, you’re eating wheat in the form closest to how it’s found in nature. And with the germ, bran, and endosperm all intact, you’re getting the maximum amount of nutrients plus some surprisingly delicious, rich, nutty, and chewy flavors and textures.
This month, I’ve tossed wheat berries with cranberries and pecans, creating a dish that’s sure to be a standout crowd-pleaser for the holiday season.
Winter Wheat Berry, Beet & Mint Salad
Yield: Serves approx. 6
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
- 2/3 cup red winter wheat berries, rinsed and drained
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 3 to 4 red beets, scrubbed clean and quartered (enough to yield 1 ½ cups, diced)
- Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
- 4 tablespoons chopped pecans
- 2 tablespoons dried cranberries (no sugar added), chopped
- 6 individual scallion stalks (not one multiple stem), sliced thinly on the bias
- 4 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, patted down, chiffonade (very finely sliced)
- Goat cheese (optional)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon raw honey
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- Add wheat berries to heavy saucepot, add ¼ teaspoon sea salt, and add enough water to cover fully. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer, and cook, covered for 1 ½ hours, or until wheat berries begin to puff and slightly open. When done, drain, and allow to cool a few minutes.
- At the same time, preheat oven to convection roast at 400 F. Add beets to a casserole dish, drizzle with olive oil, cover with foil, and roast for 1 hour or until fully cooked. Then allow to cool, peel, and dice into roughly ¾-inch pieces (approximately 1 ½ cups).
- Add diced beets, warm wheat berries, and remaining salad ingredients into a bowl and mix to incorporate.
- Add all dressing ingredients together into a mixing bowl and whisk. Pour over salad ingredients, mixing to incorporate.
- Serve alone or next to fish, meats, or tempeh. Enjoy!
Note: Wheat berries may be soaked overnight to reduce cooking time.
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