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Red Wheat Berry Salad with Cranberries and Almonds

Make this Wheat Berry Salad for dinner tonight! Crunchy almonds, sweet cranberries, crispy bell peppers and yummy wheat berries are tossed together in a light lemon dressing. This salad makes a great side dish or healthy light dinner. It keeps well in the fridge and makes a great lunch, too!

Red wheat berry salad

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Aldo and I were in the bulk section of Whole Foods (AKA a food blogger's heaven) looking at the dozens of ingredients that we've never even heard of, and I realized I have never tried wheat berries. So we bought some red wheat berries (along with a ton of other things we didn't need, damn you Whole Foods).

When I got home I started doing some reading about wheat berries to find out what we will be eating.

red wheat berries

After doing some reading, have to say that I think the red wheat berry is going to be my new favorite grain! Turns out whole wheat flour is just ground red wheat berries. I probably should have figured that out on my own.

Anyway, a cooked 1/2 cup serving of wheat berries has 6 g of fiber, and 6.5 grams of protein. And the best part is, unlike some other high-protein high-fiber plant based ingredients that can be so expensive (I'm looking at you quinoa!), wheat berries are SO CHEAP. $1.49/pound.

I made a colorful flavorful red wheat berry salad, and we really enjoyed our dinner. The wheat berries retain a nice crunch even when they are cooked so they never turn mushy. It is practically impossible to overcook them. This makes them a perfect choice for salads, and gives the salads a nice bite.

red wheat berry salad

I loved the sweetness of the dried cranberries paired with the cubed cheese all throughout the salad. The crunch of the bell pepper and slivered almonds were also a fun addition that added good flavor and texture. The salad had a light lemon juice dressing that gave everything a nice fresh flavor.

It is a really lovely salad and makes a very healthy dinner or side dish.

red wheat berry salad

How do you cook wheat berries?

The one downside to wheat berries is that they take a LONG TIME to cook - about an hour, and the time can vary depending on the age of the wheat berries. I would recommend cooking a large batch of these in advance and then adding the rest of the ingredients right before eating (the wheat berries will keep well in the fridge for several days). Otherwise make sure you start cooking the wheat berries way before you plan on being hungry.

I prefer to cook wheat berries the same way you cook pasta - in a lot of extra water. This way the water will not evaporate while they cook for an hour (make sure you cover them with a lid, but allow the steam to release). Once an hour passes and the berries are cooked to your liking, you can drain the water off in a large colander and rinse the berries under cold water to cool them down.

This whole recipe is only about 10 minutes of hands-on time. Once the berries are cooked and rinsed in cold water, you can just toss all the salad ingredients into a bowl and it is ready to eat!

The salad will keep well in the fridge for 1-2 days, and the flavors of the dressing will continue to infuse the rest of the salad ingredients. Yummy!

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red wheat berry salad
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4.34 from 3 votes

Red Wheat Berry Salad

Make this Wheat Berry Salad for dinner tonight! Crunchy almonds, sweet cranberries, crispy bell peppers and yummy wheat berries are tossed together in a light lemon dressing.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr
Course: Lunch, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6
Author: Kate

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups dried red wheat berries , plus water for boiling
  • 2 small bell peppers (I used red and yellow)
  • 1/2 cup cubed semi-hard or hard cheese , such as Gruyere or Swiss
  • 2 tablespoons parsley leaves , finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sliced or slivered almonds
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Add the wheat berries to a large pot filled with water. Bring water to a boil and then simmer on low for 1 hour, or until the wheat berries are cooked. Make sure that the water does not evaporate - add more water if needed. The wheat berries will still have a slight crunch when they are cooked. Drain the water through a colander and rinse the wheat berries with cold water.
     
  • While the wheat berries are cooking, prepare everything else: Remove the seeds from the bell pepper and finely chop the bell pepper. Chop the cheese into small cubes. Try to aim for the size of a dried cranberry, so that everything is about the same size. Finely dice the parsley. 
  • After the wheat berries are rinsed in cold water and are no longer hot, combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and stir well. Season with additional salt and pepper or lemon juice, if desired.
     
     

Nutrition

Calories: 287kcal (14%) | Carbohydrates: 44g (15%) | Protein: 8g (16%) | Fat: 10g (15%) | Saturated Fat: 1g (5%) | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 7mg | Fiber: 7g (28%) | Sugar: 7g (8%) | Vitamin A: 110IU (2%) | Vitamin C: 3.7mg (4%) | Calcium: 2mg | Iron: 0.1mg (1%)

Have you ever had red wheat berries? Did you like them?

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Kate

Wednesday 24th of September 2014

Definitely cook some up - just plan ahead because they take over an hour to cook.

I think I pretty much aspire to be you - making my own sausage and grinding my own flour from wheat berries sounds awesome if I had just a little more time to devote to cooking.

Maureen | Orgasmic Chef

Wednesday 24th of September 2014

That's a lovely salad. I have wheat berries for flour and now I'm going to go in there and cook some up!

Karen - 2Teaspoons

Wednesday 24th of September 2014

I have't tried wheat berry but this looks yummy! I always end up buying extra stuff at whole foods too, it's just so fun to shop there. I love how excited the people who work there are to talk about the food they're selling. Also the people giving the samples out are the same people who cooked/made the sample so they can tell you all about it :-)

Kate

Wednesday 24th of September 2014

Haha last time we were there it was right before closing so I think the people were more excited about getting us out of there so they can go home. I do love Whole Foods, and I wish there was one closer to me so that it was less exciting to go there. Otherwise I get too much stuff whenever we go there, because what if we don't get to another Whole Foods for months?!

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