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Wheat berries make for hearty winter salads

By the Editors of Relish Magazine
Wheat berries make for hearty winter salads
(Photo: Relish Magazine/Wikimedia Commons)

There’s good reason to get to know wheat berries — they’re crunchy, nutritious, versatile and hold up well in salads, soups and pilafs. They’ll give your lunchtime routine a much-needed jolt.

Technically, wheat berries are the whole, unprocessed wheat kernel with the inedible outer hull removed. The rest of the kernel — the germ, bran and endosperm — is intact. As a result, wheat berries have a much higher percentage of vitamins, in particular A, E and B, along with considerable amounts of iron, zinc, magnesium, selenium and phosphorous. But maybe most importantly, wheat berries are an excellent source of fiber, containing 6 grams per half cup.

Our Harvest Wheat Berry Salad won’t go soggy or limp in the fridge, and gets tastier the longer it sits, making it a perfect lunch box candidate.

Harvest Wheat Berry Salad

2 cups uncooked wheat berries

1 cup pumpkin seed kernels

1 cup chopped apples

½ cup chopped dried apricots

½ cup dried cranberries

1 cup finely chopped parsley

½ cup ginger ale

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Put wheat berries into a large bowl, cover with at least 2 inches of water, and set aside to soak at least 1 hour. Drain well.

Put 7 cups water into a medium pot and bring to a boil. Add wheat berries, reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until thoroughly cooked, about 40 minutes. Drain and let cool.

Transfer wheat berries to a large bowl. Add pumpkin kernels, apples, apricots, cranberries and parsley.

To prepare dressing, combine ginger ale, vinegar, salt, pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, olive oil and lemon juice in a small bowl. Whisk well. Add to salad ingredients and mix well. Serves 8.

— Recipe by Chef Steve Petusevsky, Coral Gables, Florida

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