This simple wheat berry and blueberry salad is a blend of plump blueberries, whole grain wheat berries and other flavorful ingredients all combined into one delicious chilled salad.
If you’ve been trying to eat more whole grains, this whole grain blueberry and wheat berry salad is a great addition to your diet. I first posted this recipe on my blog in 2012. At that time, I was doing a lot of lunch and learn presentations and cooking demos for my sports and corporate wellness clients. The consistency and texture of wheat berries make them the perfect grain to make in advance and take to those types of events. I’m sharing the recipe below (you can scroll down to the bottom to print it if that’s all you want.) I’m also sharing some health and nutrition benefits, and some tips on how to cook this delicious grain.
What Are Wheat Berries?
You read that right – wheat berries are a whole grain food. Simply put, they are a whole wheat kernel composed of the bran, germ and endosperm. The outer husk has been removed that are milled to produce whole wheat flours for baking. Wheat berries are a thick, short grain similar to whole grain rice. They can be ground into a whole grain flour, or boiled and eaten as a delicious whole grain side dish. Once cooked, they can also be incorporated into salads and other dishes.
The Health And Nutrition In Wheat Berries
Not only do these kernels taste delicious, they are packed full of valuable nutrients for our health. A half cup of cooked wheatberries contain about 160 calories and is packed with fiber, protein and iron. They also contribute a nice amount of B vitamins and 170 mg of potassium.
How To Cook Wheat Berries
Wheat berries are tougher than other grain foods, so they take extra time to cook. You’ll need to boil them for 1 hour to soften the kernels. That’s what results in their chewy texture. Once cooked, they taste great alone or they can be mixed into soups, salads or chili recipes. They can also be made into hearty cereals.
The only challenge with incorporating wheat berries into your diet is finding them. They are usually found in the natural foods section of the supermarket or at a health food store. They are not as common as other whole grains, so grocery stores tend to keep a limited supply. In fact, the last time I went to buy them, they were out of stock.
The good news is, if stored properly, they last a long time. The next time you head to the store, buy an extra package, and store them in an airtight container in your pantry.
What Do Wheat Berries Taste Like?
Once boiled, cooked wheat berries have a chewy bite and slight nutty flavor. They have a subtle taste, and therefore can be eaten plain or flavored with some basic herbs and spices. They’re tough enough to hold their texture, so they work great in salads and soups. I love making wheat berry salads because you can completely dress the salad in advance, and not worry about it getting soggy before eating it. The blueberry wheat berry salad I’m sharing in this post is one of my favorites to sample at talks or prepare during cooking demos.
How To Make Whole Grain Blueberry Wheat Berry Salad
Like I mentioned above, wheat berries take longer to cook than other grains. To make this salad, start by rinse the wheat berries under cool water. Drain them well, then put them in a pot of boiling water to cook. Make sure to use enough water that the wheat berries are completely covered. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour. The wheat berries are done when they have a chewy texture. Once cooked, drain and cool.
While the wheat berries are boiling, prepare your other ingredients. Chop the celery, parsley, scallions and walnut on a cutting board, then put them together in a large bowl.
In a separate bowl, stir together the oil, lemon juice and salt. Sit those aside.
Once the wheat berries are cooked and cooled, add the celery, parsley, scallions, lemon juice and chopped walnuts. Then, stir in the olive oil and lemon juice mixture. Once well combined, add the blueberries and lightly toss. Cover and transfer to the refrigerator to chill.
This blueberry and wheat berry salad recipe makes 6 3/4 cups or 9, 3/4 cup servings.
The Nutrition Facts For Blueberry Wheat Berry Salad
Each ½ cup serving provides 180 calories, 27 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of fiber, 5 grams of protein, 7 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 75 mg of sodium. It also contains 10% of the daily value for iron, 2% of the daily value for potassium and 2% of the daily value for calcium.
If you’re looking for more information on whole grains, including how to eat more of them, check out my post on how to identify and eat more whole grains.
Do you have a favorite way to eat wheat berries?
Wheat Berry And Blueberry Salad
- 1.5 cup wheat berries, dry
- 1.5 cups blueberries
- 3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
- 1 rib celery, chopped
- 1/2 cup finely chopped parsely
- 2 scallions or green onions, chooped
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 1.5 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Rinse & drain the wheatberries
- Put water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Add the wheat berries to the boiling water, then reduce heat and simmer for ~ 1 hour. The wheat berries are done when they have a chewy texture. Once cooked, drain and cool.
- While the wheat berries are boiling, chop the celery, parsley, scallions (or green onion) and the walnuts. Combine those in a large bowl and set aside.
- In a separate bowl, combine the oil, lemon juice and salt. Set aside.
- Once the wheat berries are cooked and chilled, add the celery, scallions, parsley and walnuts, then add the oil and lemon juice mixture. Stir until all of the ingredients are well combined.
- Gently stir in the blueberries, then cover and refrigerate to chill.
- Recipe Makes: 6 3/4 cups
- Serving Size: ¾ cup
- Servings Per Recipe: 9
- Nutrition Facts (per serving): 180 calories, 27 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber, 5 g protein, 7 g fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 75 mg sodium, 10% DV iron, 2% DV potassium, 2% DV calcium.
- Meal Planning Servings: 2 CHO; 0.5 PRO; 1.5 FAT
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