There’s good reason to get to know wheat berries—they’re crunchy, nutritious, super versatile and hold up well in salads, soups and pilafs. They’ll give your lunchtime routine a much needed jolt.
Technically wheat berries are the whole, unprocessed wheat kernel with the inedible outer hull removed. The rest of the kernel—the germ, bran and endosperm—is intact. As a result, wheat berries have a much higher percentage of vitamins, in particular A, E, and B, along with considerable amounts of iron, zinc, magnesium, selenium and phosphorous. But maybe most importantly, wheat berries are an excellent source of fiber, containing 6 grams per 1/2 cup.
Our Harvest Wheat Berry Salad won’t go soggy or limp in the fridge and gets tastier the longer it sits, making it a perfect lunch box candidate.
2 cups uncooked wheat berries
1 cup pumpkin seed kernels
1 cup chopped apples
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup dried cranberries 1 cup finely chopped parsley
1/2 cup ginger ale
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1. To prepare salad, put wheat berries into a large bowl, cover with at least 2 inches of water, and set aside to soak at least 1 hour. Drain well.
2. Put 7 cups water into a medium pot and bring to a boil. Add wheat berries, reduce heat to low, and simmer, uncovered, until thoroughly cooked about 40 minutes. (Wheat berries retain a firm, chewy texture when cooked.) Drain and let cool.
3. Transfer wheat berries to a large bowl. Add pumpkin kernels, apples, apricots, cranberries and parsley.
4. To prepare dressing, combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk well. Add to salad ingredients and mix well. Serves 8.
Per serving: 390 calories, 15g fat, 0mg chol., 13g prot., 52g carbs., 7g fiber, 160mg sodium.
Recipe by Chef Steve Petusevsky, Coral Gables, Fla.
Photo by Teresa Blackburn