If you are looking for a light yet flavorful lunch or side dish, look no further than this wheat berry salad. Toasted walnuts add crunch while dried apricots lend a hint of sweetness for a delicious blend of flavors and textures.
The first time I tried to make wheat berries, I ended up with a hard, chewy mess. I wasn’t sure if it was me or the wheat berries, but no matter how much I cooked them, I just couldn’t get them to soften. I had cooked them long past the time allotted on the recipe I was following, but they were still hard. Deciding that this just must be the texture of wheat berries, I proceeded with the recipe. The end result tasted good, but it left my jaw sore from chewing half way through my lunch.
A few months later, my mom bought an electric pressure cooker. I was looking through the recipe booklet that came with it when I spotted a recipe for a wheat berry salad with zucchini. It sounded delicious, so I decided to give wheat berries another try and followed the recipe’s directions for cooking the wheat berries. I covered them with water and set the pressure cooker to high pressure for 50 minutes.
When they were done, I almost leaped for joy. Finally! Perfectly cooked wheat berries! They were tender with just a bit of a bite – enough to give them texture, but not so much to dislocate your jaw eating a bowl. I’ll never go back to another cooking method again.
Once you have the wheat berries cooked, this salad couldn’t be easier to make. Essentially, all you have to do is toss everything together in a bowl.
- ¼ cup walnuts
- 1 cup cooked wheat berries
- 6 cups packed baby spinach
- ¼ cup chopped dried apricots
- ½ small shallot, thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and Pepper
- In a small dry pan, lightly toast the walnuts over medium heat until they are warmed through and slightly toasted. This should not take more than a minute or two once the pan is heated. Watch carefully and shake the pan occasionally to keep the nuts moving and to prevent the bottoms from burning. As soon as the walnuts begin to turn golden brown in spots, remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.
- Combine the wheat berries, spinach, apricots, toasted walnuts, and shallots in a large bowl.
- Right before serving, drizzle the balsamic vinegar and olive oil over the salad and season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss to combine.