A deliciously flavorful, vibrant and healthy whole grain salad laced with smoky chipotles, tangy cheese, and a sweet & savory vinaigrette! PLUS, a cookbook giveaway!
This salad packs in several fiber- and vitamin-rich vegetables, iron-rich raisins, protein-rich walnuts, and olive oil which is packed full of healthy omega fats. And then there are the wheat berries with all their high fiber/high protein goodness.
Perhaps you can relate – in my experience, too often healthy grain salads just lack flavor. Too often they’re just plain…plain. Boring. And it doesn’t have to be that way.
Healthy doesn’t have to be bland and flavorless. It can be bold and adventurous. And that’s just what this salad offers. It’s BIG on healthy ingredients and it’s BIG on flavor!
Sweet, spicy, tangy, and smoky combine to give this salad enough layers of flavor to keep your taste buds entertained the whole dish through.
Enjoy this salad as a side or a light entree. And it’s perfect for taking to work for lunch!
Don’t like wheat berries? Substitute any whole grain of your choice. For example, quinoa. If you like barley or brown rice, try that instead. And though it’s not a grain, another great alternative would be couscous.
The idea for this salad was inspired by Aida Mollenkamp’s recipe on California Walnuts’ website. I’ve changed things up quite a bit to suit my own taste, adding several more ingredients for variety, flavor, color and texture and have ramped up the flavor.
And now for the Cookbook Giveaway!
Are you a fan of whole foods-based recipes? For those of you who don’t know, Aida has released her first cookbook, “Keys To The Kitchen“, and now is your opportunity to win a copy of it!
The book’s description: “At first glance, Keys To The Kitchen may seem like it’s just a technique-based cookbook — a modern manual to the kitchen — but it’s way more than that. Organized into four main sections: The Set-Up, The How-To, The Recipes and The Riff, Keys to the Kitchen takes you from the store to the stove with over 300 original, whole foods-based recipes.”
One winner will be randomly selected to receive a copy of this cookbook. All you have to do is leave a comment (one per person) on this post (not my Facebook page) saying why you’d like to have this book. That’s it! **This Giveaway Has Ended**
And now, let’s get to that fabulous Mexican Wheat Berry Salad with Chipotles and Toasted Walnuts!
Use soft wheat berries (as opposed to hard wheat berries) for this salad. You can find them in most health food stores or BUY ONLINE HERE.
Rinse the wheat berries. Bring the vegetable stock and salt to a boil, add the wheat berries, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 30-40 minutes until soft but still chewy. Drain and let cool.
Prepare all the ingredients so they’re ready to combine when the time comes.
For the cheese, I used queso para freir, a firm and tangy Mexican whole milk cheese (found in Latino grocery stores), but you can use monterey jack instead.
Heat the olive oil in a small skillet saucepan over medium-high heat and cook the onions until golden brown. Add the cumin and cook for another minute.
Add the carrots and salt and cook for 3-4 minutes until softened.
Add the fresh thyme, oregano and chopped chipotles and cook for another 2 minutes. Let cool.
To make the vinaigrette, combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until emulsified.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the wheat berries, carrot mixture, cheese, cherry tomatoes, raisins, toasted walnuts and corn. Stir to combine.
Pour the vinaigrette over the mixture and stir to thoroughly combine.
Stir in the green onions and fresh cilantro or parsley.
Let sit for at least 30 minutes before serving. Best served at room temperature. Refrigerate leftovers.
- 2 cups soft wheat berries (do not use hard wheat berries) (See NOTE) (can substitute grain of choice, e.g. quinoa, spelt, millet, sorghum, etc)
- 5 cups vegetable stock (5 cups water plus 5 teaspoons vegetable bouillon)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ¾ cup finely chopped yellow onion
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 cup finely diced carrot
- 2-3 chipotles en adobo, chopped (depending on desired heat level)
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped
- 1 cup toasted walnuts, coarsley chopped
- ¾ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- ¾ cup corn
- ¾ cup cubed queso para freir or monterey jack cheese
- ½ cup raisins
- 3 green onions, sliced
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped
- For the vinaigrette:
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 3 teaspoons adobo sauce from can
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Rinse the wheat berries. Bring the vegetable stock with salt to a boil and add the wheat berries. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 30-40 minutes until soft but still chewy. Drain and allow to cool.
- Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat and saute the onions and until golden brown, 7-8 minutes. Add the cumin and cook for another minute. Add the carrots and salt and cook for 3-4 minutes until softened. Add the thyme, oregano, and chopped chipotles and cook for another 2 minutes. Let cool.
- To make the vinaigrette: Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until emulsified.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the onion/carrot mixture with the wheat berries and all remaining ingredients. Pour over the vinaigrette and stir to thoroughly combine. Let the salad sit for at least 30 minutes before serving. Best served at room temperature. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.
Though it's not a grain, another great alternative is couscous.