This Greek Einkorn Wheat Berry Salad is not only visually beautiful and nutritious, it’s a total flavor explosion!
I’m a big fan of grain salads. They’re not only nutritious but I find they keep me satiated without having to consume large servings. And they’re great for taking along in packed lunches, on picnics or to potlucks. Grains are also very versatile in salad form and you can create an endless number of flavor combinations.
Today I’m sharing my latest grain salad creation with you which takes on some Greek inspiration and is packed with a whole host of visually beautiful, nutritious and delicious ingredients. With red onions, tomatoes, feta cheese, olive oil, green onions, parsley, capers, olives and roasted red peppers, this salad is a flavor feast for the taste buds!
For optimal flavor let the salad sit overnight and you can stir in the feta shortly before serving if you prefer to prevent any discoloration.
WHAT IS EINKORN?
As more attention has recently been given to the topic of wheat, you may have been hearing more about einkorn. Einkorn remains the most ancient form of wheat and the only form of wheat that hasn’t been altered from its original form.
Below is a list of the different forms of wheat from the most recent to the oldest and in the picture below you can see there is a visual difference between them. Note, with each generation of wheat additional genetic changes were made to make it more resistant to certain conditions, to enable it to grow in different climates and to increase yield.
- Wheat: The wheat of today has been genetically bred to produce exceptionally high yield and is virtually unrecognizable from its original form. The wheat of the mid to late 20th century has especially undergone extreme genetic alterations.
- Kamut: The wheat from Biblical times.
- Emmer: Also a wheat from Biblical times.
- Spelt: The wheat of pre-Biblical times through the Middle Ages.
- Einkorn: The great-grandfather of all wheat and was harvested in the wild. It has remained unaltered.
Some interesting information for those of you who are gluten-intolerant or have celiac disease: Though celiac disease is more common today than ever before in history (which many attribute to our modern wheat), it also existed as far back as 100 AD. Ancient records make note of cases of celiac disease and researchers believe those cases are linked to the consumption of kamut, emmer and spelt. Interestingly einkorn, the original, unaltered, wild form of wheat, seems to have escaped much of this correlation.
But health aspects aside, over the last couple of years of experimenting with einkorn, we also prefer both its flavor and texture over the other forms of wheat. Spelt used to be my favorite and it’s what I always recommended, and I still believe it’s a better choice than wheat. But as wonderful as spelt is, I find that einkorn is even milder in flavor and its texture in baked goods is even more tender. I regularly cook and bake with a wide variety of different whole grains but when it comes to whole wheat I use einkorn the most.
All that said, you can use any form of wheat you like for this Greek grain salad. You can use regular wheat berries, spelt berries or opt for a larger-sized kernel and go for kamut. Or you can use a different grain entirely (for example, brown rice or quinoa), it’s completely up to you.
This Greek Einkorn (or Wheat Berry) Salad is perfect as a main dish served with some crusty bread or as a side dish with some meat, fish or chicken.
WHERE CAN I BUY EINKORN?
You definitely won’t find it in your average grocery store or even many health food stores. Though quite common in many European countries like Germany and Italy, it’s largely unknown in the U.S. But it is becoming readily available online, for example you can purchase einkorn berries on Amazon.
Let’s get started!
Soak the einkorn berries overnight, rinse and drain them and then simmer them in salted water for 30 minutes or until they’re soft but still chewy. Let them cool completely and set aside until ready to use.
To make the vinaigrette combine all the ingredients and then gradually whisk in the olive oil until emulsified. Set aside until ready to use.
Place all of the salad ingredients in a large bowl except for the feta cheese.
Pour over the vinaigrette and stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight for optimal flavor.
Carefully stir in the feta cheese just before serving.
Greek Einkorn (Wheat Berry) Salad
- 2 cups raw einkorn or wheat berries (see note) , soaked overnight, rinsed, drained and simmered in salted water for 30 minutes or until soft but still chewy. Let cool completely.
- 2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
- 1 medium red onion, chopped
- 3 green onions, sliced
- 1/2 cup roasted red peppers, chopped
- 1/2 cup sliced black olives
- 3 tablespoons capers, left whole or roughly chopped (depending on size and personal preference)
- 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
- For the Greek Vinaigrette:
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons dark balsamic vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- To make the vinaigrette combine all the ingredients and then gradually whisk in the olive oil until emulsified. Set aside until ready to use.
- Place all of the salad ingredients in a large bowl except for the feta cheese. Pour over the vinaigrette and stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight, and carefully stir in the feta cheese just before serving.