wheatberries

I’ve scooped them up at salad bars. I’ve seen them in cooking magazines and blogs. And now, I can proudly say I’ve made them myself.

Wheatberries. All you really need to know is that these are delicious, nutty, half-chewy, half-crunchy kernels that pair just as beautifully with a dollop of yogurt and berries as they do with roasted veggies.  But if the origin of this tiny but mighty grain piques your curiosity, as it did mine, here’s the dish.

Wheatberries are the entire wheat kernel, except for the hull. If you were to grind them completely, you would make whole wheat flour. They are chock-full of iron, fiber, and protein, and surprisingly inexpensive (2 cups of wheatberries from the Whole Foods bulk bin were just $1 and made almost 5 cups of cooked grain).

For my inaugural wheatberry concoction, I made a roasted carrot salad with dried cherries, walnuts, pistachios, and goat cheese (cause goat makes everything better!) I was cooking on the fly, inspired by Moroccan spices but aiming to lighten up the flavor for the summer.  The result was an addictive salad with a diversity of textures and flavors that married quite happily. Best part was that this light yet hearty salad was enjoyed at one of mumblepie’s favorite destinations, Stiltsville.

It was the perfect midday snack on the water and continues to be the perfect lunch for the week. I can’t wait to continue experimenting with these great grains.

Click more for recipe…

Wheatberry Salad with Roasted Carrots, Dried Cherries and Goat Cheese

Wheatberries:

Bring 6 cups of water to a rolling boil with 2 tsp salt. Add 1 cup of wheatberries and boil on medium-high for 60 minutes, until wheatberries are cooked, but retain their chew.

Roasted carrots:

1 cup carrots, peeled and sliced into ½ inch rounds

2 tsp olive oil

½ tsp coriander

½ tsp

1 tsp salt

½ tsp black pepper

2 tsp honey

Preheat oven to 400oF. Toss sliced carrots with remaining ingredients and spread in an even layer on a greased baking sheet. Roast for 25 minutes, flipping carrots halfway through.  Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before adding them to the salad.

To assemble salad:

2 cups cooked wheatberries (see above)

1 cup roasted carrots (see above)

2 tsp olive oil

2 tbsp dried cherries, chopped

2 tbsp chopped toasted nuts (I used walnuts and pistachios)

Juice of 1 lemon

1 oz. goat cheese, crumbled

1 tbsp fresh basil, chiffonade

Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all of the ingredients. Wait until salad is at room temperature before adding the goat cheese so that it will not melt.  For best taste, allow salad to sit for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours in the refrigerator. Salad can be kept for up to one week in the refrigerator.

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