Festive Wheat Berry Salad

By • November 17, 2010 2 Comments

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Author Notes: The palette of this salad is perfect for Thanksgiving and fall and it makes for a healthy, delicious and nutritious side.
Whole grains are important part for good nutrition. Wheat berries are the most wholesome and least processed wheat grain and include the entire wheat kernel—the bran, germ and endosperm. (For comparison, white flour is comprised only of ground endosperm.)
Look for wheat berries in the health food store or in the natural foods section of the supermarket. (Whole Foods usually sells them in bulk, which is great!) I like the hard red wheat berries, which are very high in protein, very nutritious, and have a sweet nutty flavor and a lovely chewy texture.

The trick with hard wheat berries is to plan ahead and soak them overnight. These grains are very hard indeed, and will require a very long cooking time if they’re not well-soaked.

This is a very simple recipe, and a dish everyone seems to love.

Serves 6-8 as side dish

for the salad

  • 1/2 cup dry wheat berries, soaked overnight
  • 1 large ripe mango (can be replaced with oranges or persimmon), cut into cubes
  • 3 or 4 celery stalks, with the fibery outer parts peeled and finely diced
  • 10 pitted and finely chopped (can be replaced by another dried fruit)
  • 1 handful dried cranberries
  • 1 handful nuts, such as roasted almonds, candied pecans or walnuts


  • 1 tablespoon fine sweet and interesting marmalade. I use organic Adriatic fig spread (sold at Whole Foods)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 sprig thyme, finely chopped
  1. Cook the wheat berries by covering them with two inches of water, then bring them to a boil, lower the temperature to simmer, and cook until chewy—about 15-25 minutes. Drain and let cool.
  2. Add all other salad ingredients besides the nuts.
  3. Combine dressing ingredients.
  4. Add the nuts and dressing right before serving.
  5. Any leftovers will keep reasonably well for a day or two.

More Great Recipes: Side Dishes|Rice & Grains|Salads|Figs

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