A Wheat Berry Salad, for Spring and Summer

July  3, 2014

Vegan lunches can -- and should -- be a lot more interesting than bare salads or carrot sticks and hummus. New Veganism columnist Gena Hamshaw will be sharing inspiration for midday meals that stave off both hunger and boredom.

Today: A grain salad to bridge spring and summer. This post was brought to you by our friends at Evolution Fresh, and was inspired by their Sweet Greens with Lemon Juice.

Summer Wheatberry Salad on Food52

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Grain salads are one of my summertime staples. They’re every bit as refreshing as green salads, but heartier and more filling. They keep well, they’re easy to prepare, and they are the perfect contribution to cookouts, potlucks, and other gatherings. They’re also a great way to expand your grain repertoire; I’ve made stellar grain salads with quinoa, rice, bulgur, farro, millet, and couscous. Each grain has its own taste and texture, and you can pick your seasonings and vegetable accompaniments accordingly. 

More: Try pairing quinoa and farro with pickled fennel.

If you’ve never tried wheatberries in a grain salad, you’re in for a treat. They demand a little more cooking time than some other grains, but their texture (chewy, dense, oh-so-satisfying) makes the effort well worth it, especially if you cook them in large batches. I’ve even prepared them in bulk and frozen them in two-cup portions; this makes it easy to defrost them as needed.

In this recipe, the wheatberries’ heartiness and nutty flavor contrasts with delicate spring and summer vegetables and a light, lemony vinaigrette. I love to keep the asparagus in this recipe crisp, and to add thinly sliced radishes for a little bitterness and crunch. I like to pack this salad up for work lunches paired with a refreshing fruit or vegetable juice -- a sweet way to finish the meal!

Wheat Berry Salad with Radishes, Asparagus, Walnuts, and Spring Onions

Serves 4

1 cup hard spring wheat berries
Sea salt
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and chopped into 1 1/2-inch pieces, tops and stems separated
5 white or red radishes, sliced very thinly into rounds
1/2 cup walnuts pieces
2 spring onions, white and green parts included, chopped
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
5 tablespoons olive oil (plus more, as needed)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Black pepper, to taste

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photo by James Ransom

This article was brought to you by Evolution Fresh. Check out their new pairing guide to find out which foods go best with their juices.

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Gena is a registered dietitian, recipe developer, and food blogger. She's the author of three cookbooks, including Power Plates (2017) and Food52 Vegan (2015). She enjoys cooking vegetables, making bread, and challenging herself with vegan baking projects.