I recently bought a bag of wheat berries and have fallen in love with its chewy texture and nutty flavor. Wheat berries are whole wheat kernels, with tons of iron and fiber in each bite. I made a salad using spinach, kabocha squash, mushrooms and a light dressing consisting of a few basic spices I already had on hand. Simple, healthy and totally meatless!
This salad be served hot or cold, and can be eaten as a side dish or doubled as an entree. Here’s handy list of possible combinations:
Grain: quinoa, brown rice, bulgur, farro
Vegetables: spinach, kale, romaine lettuce
Sweet starch: sweet potato, butternut squash
Dressing: lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, rice vinegar
Spices: nutmeg, paprika, cumin, red pepper flakes
Other toppings: dried cranberries, pecans, walnuts
You can use the recipe below as a guide and make your own substitutions. Happy eating!
Recipe: Wheat Berry Salad With Roasted Kabocha Squash
Makes 3-4 servings
2 cups of wheat berries (I used Earthly Delights)
5 cups of water
2 cups of cooked kabocha squash
2 cups of raw spinach
1 cup of sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup of dried cranberries
1/4 cup of olive oil
1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon of cumin
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
Dash of kosher salt
Fresh cracked pepper
1 scallion, green parts only, chopped
1. Heat oven to 400 F.
2. Slice kabocha squash into strips. Discard the innards and seeds. Brush olive oil on kabocha squash pieces and roast for about 50 minutes. Once done, the individual pieces should caramelize and turn brown. Once cooled, remove flesh and slice into cubes.
3. Meanwhile, cook wheat berries according to package directions. I’ve found that the water to grain ratio was pretty forgiving as long as water covered the berries entirely. I just added 5 cups of water to my wheat berries. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for about 1 hour. Wheat berries will absorb most of the water while retaining a chewy texture. Drain the water.
4. Add wheat berries to a large bowl. Add cubed kabocha, mushrooms and spinach. The heat from the wheat berries will wilt the spinach just a little.
5. In a small bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, cumin, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper.
6. Pour dressing over the salad and mix everything together. Add dried cranberries. Enjoy hot or cold.