Wheat Berry Salad

May 19, 2010

I knew I wanted to make something fresh and light for dinner last night. After having had a rather sinful sushi lunch – I went with the tempura/multiple sauce roll, I didn’t want to go to bed feeling stuffed.

I had seen an ad for Pompeian oils and vinegars in a magazine a few months back. The ad also contained a recipe for Black Bean, Edamame and Wheat Berry Salad. I had tracked down some of the ingredients over the weekend and decided that would be the recipe I’d try.

The Ingredients:

4 Cups Water – not shown – used to cook the wheat berries
1/2 Cup Dry Wheat Berries
1/2 of a 15 oz. Can of Black Beans – rinsed and drained
1 Cup Shelled Edamame – the recipe called for thawed frozen – I went with fresh from Trader Joe’s
1 Cup Chopped Tomato
1/2 Cup Finely Chopped Red Onion
3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
Salt and Ground Pepper to taste – not shown…I’m sure you are all familiar with my salt and pepper shakers now 😉

Serves 6 –  (3/4 Cup Servings)

Wheat berries – I had heard of wheat berries. I had seen other recipes that called for wheat berries, but I wasn’t exactly sure what they were or where to find them in the grocery store.  I thought for sure they would be near the rice – to me they looked similar to brown rice when cooked. Well… A wheat berry refers to the entire wheat kernel, except for the hull. They can be cooked several different ways. You can cook them similar to rice – add water, bring to boil and then simmer. You can soak them and then sauté them in olive oil with garlic and other spices. You can also add them to bread for a crunchy texture or ground them up into a wheat flour. They are available in both soft and hard textures and they vary in color from white (light tan) to red (reddish-brown). I’m pretty sure the original recipe showed red, but all I could find at the store was soft/white. You can find them in the grain section or healthy foods section of the grocery store, near the flour.

For you calorie counters – A cup of wheat berries has about 300 calories and is packed with fiber, protein and iron.

The first step was to rinse the dry berries. A fine mesh strainer would have worked great for this… the coffee filter/pampered chef can strainer/hoopty combo I used… was pretty much a pain in the butt.

Mental note: Must purchase a fine mesh strainer.

Anyway, I added the rinsed berries to 4 cups of salted water. The cooking instructions on the wheat berry package called for way less water, but the recipe instructions I used – called for 4 cups  – bring to boil, simmer for 50 minutes and then drain.

While the wheat berries where simmering, I chopped up the tomatoes and red onion. I rinsed and drained the black beans and added all of the ingredients, minus the wheat berries to a bowl. I gave it a good mix and then put it into the fridge to marinate.

As soon as the berries were finished, I grabbed my coffee filter, can strainer, make-shift contraption and I rinsed the berries with cold water to cool them down. I patted them dry with paper towels and then got them added in with the other ingredients. I gave everything a good stir and did a taste test. It needed something. I added more ground pepper and a splash or two of balsamic. I let the salad mixture sit in the fridge for another 30 minutes.

Perfection! I will definitely be making this dish again. I loved the combination! It would be great paired with grilled chicken.

I ended up eating it with a 100 calorie everything bagel thin w/reduced fat cream cheese. I actually ended up using my bagel as a scoop – it was delicious!

I’m super excited about wheat berries and can’t wait to try them in more recipes – good thing I still have the majority of the huge bag left. One of the recipes I came across combined wheat berries with milk, honey and cinnamon – interesting, I could see that – they do have a rather nutty taste to them.

Queen of all things salad and master of the side-dish,



  1. It looks good and it certainly is the right time of year to start thinking of cool crisp salads.

  2. I will be making this one but I’ll leave out the edamame (have never been able to eat those!) and double the black beans instead.

  3. As always, looks wonderful! I have the same PC strainer and prefer my mesh strainer. It expands to set over the sink which is great when making pasta and my hands are full.

    • I definitely need to get a mesh one – I had to borrow one from my brother for the Easter short ribs – think I would have picked one up by now. I do love my PC strainer for tuna though – it’s awesome!

  4. Wow! That looks great! I’ve always wanted to try wheat berries and have only eaten edamame as an app. at a restaurant. Thanks for sharing! I’m all about fresh summer salads with veggies and unique whole grains!

    • I too was first introduced to edamame through various sushi restaurants – I love it! I think you will really like the salad or some variation – super easy to make!

  5. I loooooooooooooove wheatberries…

    Really good with cucumber / feta / tomato / avocado too…

    • I saw the Mediterranean vibe in a lot of the recipes online. Adding avo sounds fabulous!

  6. I made this exact salad from the magazine ad a few weeks ago- I couldn’t find wheat berries in my store, so I used oat something or other instead. And I added some brown rice too to bulk it up a bit. I will look harder for wheat berries next time though- I’m intrigued!

    I really wanted to love the salad, but in the throes of morning sickness it was just not appealing. Then again, nothing is appealing lately, so I can’t blame the salad at all!! But I will definitely revisit the recipe when I am feeling better- it is so healthy and you are right- it would go great with some grilling!!

  7. This looks super delish.

  8. YUM! That sounds really great! I may have to check it out!

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