Wheat Berry Salad with Roasted Vegetables

Wheat berries are wheat kernels containing the bran or hard outer covering of the seed, the germ or embryo (what will grow into the plant) and the endosperm or nutrition for the initial growth of the germ.  Whole wheat flour is milled wheat berries.  Generally, I find at least three different kinds of wheat berries at the grocery store: wheat berries, farro, kamut and spelt.

According to Harold McGee, what distinguishes these wheat species are their origins, preferred growth conditions and their chromosomal ploidy.  90% of the wheat species grown today are hexaploid, meaning they have six sets of chromosomes.  These wheat kernels are used for making bread and are what is generally sold in stores as “wheat berries”.  Of the remaining 10% of wheat grown, most of it is durum wheat used for making pasta.  Durum wheat is tetraploid, meaning it has three sets of chromosomes.   Only a small fraction of wheat that is grown consists of what are considered ancient wheat such as farro, kamut and spelt.  These can be distinguished by their origins.  Farro is the Italian name for emmer wheat. Kamut is the Egyptian word for wheat and it is an ancient relative of durum wheat.  Spelt is from central Europe and is closely related to today’s bread wheat.

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vegetables

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roasted vegetables

wheat berries

feta

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wheat berry salad

Print Recipe
Wheat Berry Salad with Roasted Vegetables
As written, this salad will feed 4 people as a main course or 6 as a side dish.
wheat berry salad roasted vegetables
Servings
Ingredients
  • cups wheat berries
  • 1-2 bell peppers of any color chopped
  • 1 small red onion cut into strips
  • 1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes cut in half
  • 4-5 kale leaves chopped
  • olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 6 oz. Feta
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Servings
Ingredients
  • cups wheat berries
  • 1-2 bell peppers of any color chopped
  • 1 small red onion cut into strips
  • 1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes cut in half
  • 4-5 kale leaves chopped
  • olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 6 oz. Feta
  • Salt and pepper to taste
wheat berry salad roasted vegetables
Instructions
  1. Boil the wheat berries in 5 cups of salted water for about 30-45 minutes.  When done, they should be firm and chewy, but not crunchy.  Once the wheat berries are done, strain the remaining water. 
  2. While the wheat berries are cooking, generously coat the vegetables with oil and distribute in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  3. Salt and pepper to taste then roast at 425F for 25-30 minutes. 
  4. Combine the roasted vegetables, wheat berries, and feta. 
  5. Use the balsamic vinegar to deglaze the baking sheet then add the liquid to the roasted vegetables.

 

Later that week….I still had the 3 pepper halves and the rest of the bunch of kale in my fridge and dinner time was fast approaching with no plan in place for what said dinner would be.  Since the wheat berry salad was a big hit the first time around (I am not always that lucky), I made it again with the following substitutions/variations:

½ lb. cavatappi pasta substituted for the wheat berries
Parmesan cheese substituted for the feta
3 tbsp. of roasted pine nuts

Of note is that I heard complaints (from those under the age of 10) about the vegetables in the pasta dish, but not in the wheat berry salad.  Go figure!

vegetable pasta salad

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