Apple Cranberry Wheat Berry Salad

Wheat berries took the healthy living blogosphere by storm a while ago, but sadly enough they haven’t been making a commanding appearance in recent years.

In case you’re unfamiliar with just what wheat berries are, you can click here to read about the versatile little nutritional powerhouses that are most often used to make whole wheat bread.

Here’s what they look like in their uncooked state:

Wheat berries do take a while to become tender (about 45 minutes of simmering on the stovetop) but you can cook them in advance to add to salads, soups, oatmeal, or baked goods.

The little nuggets of chewy goodness are the base of this salad, onto which I piled texture and flavor by way of seasonal ingredients. Crisp sweet apples, tart dried cranberries, crunchy buttery pecans, and tender baby spinach are folded into the still-warm wheat berries and accompanied by a cider vinaigrette.

For an additional punch, you can sprinkle on some soft crumbled goat cheese.

The flavors work beautifully together, and I love the contrasting textures. If I’m going to eat salad as a meal, it has to be interesting! No plate of lackluster lettuce topped with sad-looking out-of-season veggies to be seen around here. No ma’am. Or sir.

This autumnal vegan salad can certainly be served as an accompaniment alongside a main course, but it is also hearty enough to suffice as lunch or a light dinner.

If you make the salad in advance, I suggest leaving the spinach out until right before serving so it doesn’t wilt. Without the spinach, the wheat berry salad can be stored in the fridge for a few days.

 

 

 

Apple Cranberry Wheat Berry Salad

by Lauren Zembron

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Keywords: simmer entree main salad side vegan vegetarian wheat berries apples dried cranberries Thanksgiving fall

Ingredients (4 servings)

  • 1 cup uncooked wheat berries, rinsed
  • Kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp coarse ground Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider or unsweetened apple juice
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup dried cranberries, preferably apple juice-sweetened (available at Whole Foods)
  • ½ cup pecan halves, toasted and chopped
  • 2 packed cups baby spinach, preferably organic
  • 1 large apple, preferably organic, chopped

Instructions

Cover wheat berries by 1 inch with water in a medium saucepan set over high heat. Add in a generous pinch of Kosher salt. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until chewy, about 45-50 minutes (taste and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes if you’d like). Drain and transfer to a medium bowl.

While wheat berries are cooking, whisk together the cider vinegar, mustard, maple syrup, apple cider, & olive oil in a small bowl (or shake together in a small jar). Season to taste with salt and pepper.

While the drained cooked wheat berries are still warm, toss with the vinaigrette. Taste, and add salt and pepper if desired. Stir in the cranberries, pecans, baby spinach, and apple.

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