Recipe Friday – Firecracker Wheatberry Salad

Firecracker Wheatberry Salad

Lately, I’ve been feeling a little homesick for Cape Cod summer cookouts and warm weather. Since I moved to Cincinnati, I adopted a habit of making dishes that remind me of family gatherings and home whenever I feel especially distant.  It’s truly amazing how we can associate certain foods with memories.  Food comes from a place of love and nurturing, and when I cook, I feel that much closer to family.  I hope that when you try this recipe, you are also able to create a food memory to share with your loved ones. 

Wheatberries - uncooked

Uncooked wheatberries

This colorful, whole grain play on pasta salad was inspired by a dish my aunt made at a cookout last summer in an attempt to try something new.  Because wheatberries still have the bran, germ, and endosperm intact – all parts of whole grains that are removed during the refining process – they are rich in vitamins and minerals, as well as fiber.  This salad is healthy, versatile, and simply delicious.

Firecracker Wheatberry Salad
Makes about 6 cups

1 cup wheatberries
3 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups baby spinach
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup shelled edamame, steamed and cooled
1 cup chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 small can sliced black olives, drained
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1 small English cucumber, diced
½ cup scallions, chopped
1 small lemon (juice and 1 tablespoon zest)
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon oregano
8 ounces chunk feta cheese, cubed

First, measure dried wheatberries into a strainer.  Wash and place into a saucepan with 3 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook covered for 1 hour.  Strain any remaining liquid.  Place hot wheatberries into a large mixing bowl with baby spinach and olive oil and stir; the spinach will wilt.  Set aside to cool.  Once room temperature, mix remaining ingredients until well combined.  Adjust seasonings as desired.

Some helpful tips:
If you plan on making this salad ahead of time, leave the feta cheese aside and top the salad just before serving.

To make this recipe gluten free, or just to save a little cooking time, substitute 1-2 cups quinoa for the wheatberries.

So, that’s it for his week.  Have a delicious weekend!

Until next time, remember that… there are no excuses when it comes to your health!

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