Thursday, April 21, 2011

Wheat Berry Salad

When you're as big a fan of chocolate and cookies as I am, you need to eat a healthy meal that reverses the effects of too many brownies. I can always count on recipes from Ellie Krieger to be delicious in a way that "healthy" becomes an afterthought. That's what I had in mind this week when I made this because this week's Craving Ellie in My Belly recipe was chosen by me!

I love wheat berries and yet I'd never prepared them at home. The preparation is easy - cover with water and boil for about an hour.

I changed up the recipe a bit, substituting toasted pine nuts for the walnuts, cilantro instead of parsley (which I hate), and I added some chopped red bell pepper for color. This one needed a lot of tinkering, which may be a result of using 1 3/4 cups of wheat berries because that's how much I bought.

Here are a few suggestions:
  • When making this recipe, you can do as I did and cook the wheat berries one day and assemble the salad the next.
  • I salted the water the wheat berries cooked in. One thing I've learned from making Ellie's recipes is that they always need salt -  and I'm not a food salter.
  • My dried cherries weren't old but they weren't as soft as I wanted. You could substitute chopped dried apricots, quartered grapes or diced mango for a completely different twist.
  • If you have walnut oil, it would be a great substitution for the olive oil if you're using walnuts.
  • Speaking of the walnuts, toast them in the oven or in a skillet. It will intensify the flavor.
  • The completed salad needed a lot of seasoning. And more lemon juice. An maybe a tiny clove of garlic smashed into a paste and combined with the oil and lemon juice before adding to the salad. Or 1/2 teaspoon of curry powder or smoked Spanish paprika. 
Can you tell I found this a little lacking in flavor? Sad but true, this one was a little boring for me. I'll probably play around with it before I serve it for dinner tonight, just because it needs something else to keep from being blah. If you'd like to see what my fellow Ellie cooks thought, you can find them here.

Wheat Berry Salad - serves 6
1 1/2 cups hard wheat berries
3/4 cup chopped walnuts (I used pine nuts)
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup tart dried cherries, chopped
1 scallion, white and green parts, chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley leaves (I used cilantro)
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice, more to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large pot combine the wheat berries and enough water to come 2 inches over the wheat berries. Bring to a boil and cook uncovered for 1 hour, or until tender. Drain and let cool. Toast the walnuts in a medium dry skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the wheat berries, walnuts, celery, dried cherries, scallions, parsley, olive oil and lemon juice. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Per Serving:
Calories 360; Total Fat 17 g; (Sat Fat 2 g, Mono Fat 6 g, Poly Fat 8 g) ; Protein 9 g; Carb 46 g; Fiber 8 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 15 mg

Excellent source of: Fiber, Vitamin K, Manganese


Torviewtoronto said...

healthy salad haven't had with wheat berries

Les rêves d'une boulangère (Brittany) said...

Yes - I always like to balance brownies and other yummy sweets with delicious and healthy meals. This looks like a great meal!

Mary said...

Great pick...posting late but i loved it....

Kayte said...

This looks really good and I am sorry that I did not get to this for this week, especially since it was your choice! I will put it on the rewind list for when wheatberries and I manage to connect at the market. I really want to try it.

Anonymous said...

Fresh basil might kick up the flavor. This sounds really yummy - I'm glad that I like grainy things and lots of veggies. I'd be in trouble if I didn't!

Joanne said...

I posted my version today. It was a wonderful pick. Next time, I WILL use wheat berries. :)

Bri said...

Thanks for this pick! I know I'm a week late commenting, but I just wanted you to know that I really loved this and will definitely be making it again soon!