Absolutely packed full of healthy veggies, oils, and wheat berries, this latest addition to my “Mega Healthy” series is both tummy-satisfying and delicious.
Happy New Year! I know we all sound like a broken record every time we say it, but where did 2013 go?! It came and went like a whirlwind and in my case, not without doing a little damage in the form of excess pounds. I don’t know about you, but I’ve entered the new year in need of shedding a few pounds gained over the past couple of months. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s were all simply too calorically tempting. And so, like many of you I’m sure, I’m starting the new year off with a diet!
Don’t worry, I’m not going to turn vegetarian, vegan or paleo on you or change the nature of my blog. I’m just trying to lose a little weight and am whipping up a few healthy, low cal recipes and figured why not share them with you since many of you have likely set a similar goal? And for those of you who, like my husband (grrrr!), can eat anything and everything you want without gaining an ounce, don’t worry – I’ll continue posting plllllenty of non-diet foods as well!
Wheat berries. Ever had them? (Besides ground up for wheat flour, that is). I’ve just discovered how filling and enjoyable they are to eat raw. Plus, they’re really healthy. The kernel is completely intact so none of its nutrients have been stripped away. Wheat berries are packed full of protein, fiber, and iron.
So here’s a tasty salad that is quick and easy to whip up (just get those wheat berries soaking overnight) and it’s perfect for taking with you to work for a light and healthy lunch. I have to admit, I haven’t generally been a fan of cold grain salads (like quinoa salads), but this one’s fabulous! And whether you’ll be enjoying it as part of a new year’s diet or are simply wanting to eat more healthy, I’m sure you’ll agree.
A note about the walnuts: Walnuts are super healthy, too with vitamins, minerals and protein. If you don’t like nuts or have an allergy, simply leave them out. I’ve already made this salad both ways – with and without the nuts and walnut oil and I enjoyed them both equally.
Let’s get started!
Rinse the wheat berries in a strainer.
Soak the wheat berries in a pot of water overnight.
Rinse and drain the next day when you’re ready to use them and put them back in a pot of water, covered by at least 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and simmer for about an hour until tender but not mushy. The wheat berries should still be a little chewy. Drain.
Place the wheat berries in a large bowl.
Finely chop up all of those healthy veggies.
Add all the veggies and the corn to the wheat berries.
Stir to combine.
Toast the whole walnuts in a preheated oven at 375 degrees F for 5-10 minutes until toasted – careful not to burn them! Once cooled, chop them roughly.
Add the walnuts to the salad. If you’re using Feta cheese, add that now as well. Stir to combine.
Optional: You can either use straight extra virgin olive oil, or you can combine it with a little walnut oil for added nutty flavor. (Note: I’m not promoting this brand specifically, it just happens to be the one I bought because it was on sale).
Whisk all of the vinaigrette ingredients together and pour over the salad. Stir to coat.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving, stirring occasionally to redistribute the vinaigrette. Look at that beautiful, colorful, vibrant Mega Healthy Wheat Berry Salad!
Note: I prefer eating this salad at room temperature, but it can be eaten that way or chilled.
- 1 cup raw wheat berries
- ½ cup carrot, finely diced
- ½ cup cucumber, finely diced
- ½ cup red bell pepper, finely diced
- ½ cup green bell pepper, finely diced
- ½ cup red onion, finely diced
- ½ cup drained canned corn
- 2 green onions, sliced
- 2 tablespoons toasted chopped walnuts (optional)
- For the Vinaigrette:
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil or a combination of olive and walnut oil
- ¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¾ teaspoon sugar
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Rinse the wheat berries in a strainer and put them in a pot over water overnight to soak. Rinse and drain them and put them back in a pot of water, covered by at least 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and simmer for about an hour until tender but not mushy and still completely intact. The wheat berries should still be a little chewy. Drain thoroughly and place in a large bowl.
- Toast the walnuts by placing them whole in an oven preheated to 375 degrees F and toast them for 5-10 minutes until fragrant.
- All all remaining salad ingredients to the wheat berries. Whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients and pour over the salad. Stir to coat the salad. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours before serving, stirring occasionally to distribute the vinaigrette.