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Date and Walnut Wheat Berry Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

I have a girl crush on Heidi Swanson.

Her blog, 101 Cookbooks, was one of the first I started following and both of her books, Super Natural Cooking & Super Natural Everyday, are favorites of mine.

Gorgeous photographs and delicious healthy recipes with a focus on whole grains and vegetables are synonymous with this brilliant cookbook author and blogger.

I recently made Heidi’s Wheat Berry Salad from her first cookbook, and was reminded of how much I adore the chewy grain morsels.

Heidi calls for pine nuts, spinach, and feta in her recipe but I subbed in sliced almonds and goat cheese when I made her salad. I loved every bite and as soon as I finished the batch I starting brainstorming ingredient combinations for my own version of a wheat berry salad.

I opted for chopped Medjool dates, toasted walnuts, arugula, goat cheese, and an orange vinaigrette with Dijon mustard and maple syrup.

Oranges always appeal to me more in the winter than any other time of year; good thing, as we are now in the prime season for citrus. The fresh sweet flavor and vibrant color brighten even the dreariest of winter days.

The flavors in this salad ended up working beautifully together!

The sweetness of the plump dates is tempered by the slightly bitter arugula and tangy goat cheese; the chewiness of the wheat berries is complimented by the crunchy toasted walnuts.

If you have yet to cook with – or eat – wheat berries, let this recipe serve as an incentive to try them. I’ve been making a big batch on the weekends and keeping leftovers in the fridge. If you don’t plan to use the cooked wheat berries the next day, I suggest adding water to the container you’re storing them in to deter any moisture loss; you don’t want dried-out wheat berries.

You will feel instantaneously healthier after eating a serving of this nutrient-packed grain salad, and – if you’re anything like me – you’ll begin to look forward to the next bowlful as soon as you finish the last bite.


Date and Walnut Wheat Berry Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

by Lauren Zembron

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Keywords: simmer salad main side vegan vegetarian wheat berries medjool dates walnuts cheese

Ingredients (4 servings)

  • 1 cup uncooked wheat berries, rinsed
  • Kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • zest and juice from 1 orange
  • 1 tsp coarse ground Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp pure maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped pitted soft Medjool dates, about 6 dates
  • 1/2 cup walnut halves, toasted and chopped
  • 2 big handfuls arugula leaves
  • 1/4 cup crumbled soft goat cheese

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 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 orange zest and juice, mustard, maple syrup, & 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 orange vinaigrette. Taste, and add salt and pepper if desired. Stir in the chopped dates and walnuts. Fold in the arugula leaves until slightly wilted. Serve topped with the crumbled goat cheese.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:

443.2 calories, 18.9 grams fat, 3.9 grams saturated fat, 9.4 grams fiber, 10.1 grams protein

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