Wheat Berry Salad with Dried Apricots & Spiced Citrus Dressing



  • 3/4 cup wheat berries or spelt berries
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, diced
  • 1/3 cup fresh orange juice
  • 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint

Whole grains shine in sturdy salads that are perfect for summer barbecues, picnics and potlucks. This multi-colored salad features delightfully chewy wheat berries and sun-kissed dried apricots in a lively dressing. You are probably most familiar with wheat in the form of flour, but wheat berries, which are the whole, unprocessed kernels of wheat, are also a tasty and highly nutritious ingredient for cooking. Wheat berries can be found in natural foods stores and large supermarkets.

Place wheat (or spelt) berries in large saucepan; cover with 4 cups cold water. Cover saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer until wheat (or spelt) berries are tender and some of the grains have started to splay, 45 to 60 minutes. Drain and refresh under cold running water.

Meanwhile, place dried apricots in medium bowl; cover with boiling water. Let stand 5 minutes. Drain.

Whisk the orange juice, vinegar, garlic, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Gradually whisk in the olive oil. Add red pepper, scallions, cooked wheat berries, and plumped dried apricots. Toss to coat well. (The salad will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.) Shortly before serving, stir in mint.

Yield: 8 (1/2-cup) servings.

Per serving: Calories: 150. Total fat: 6 grams. Saturated fat: 1 gram. Cholesterol: 0 milligrams. Sodium: 80 milligrams. Carbohydrates: 21 grams: Fiber: 4 grams. Sugars: 7 grams. Protein: 4 grams.

Ingredient Note: A relative of wheat, spelt is an ancient grain that makes an interesting alternative to wheat. Although it is not gluten-free, it can be tolerated by some people with wheat allergies (but not celiac disease) because it contains different proteins than wheat.

Tip: No doubt about it, wheat berries are time consuming to cook. But there are several ways shorten cooking time:

Soaking: Soak wheat berries overnight in water. Drain; simmer berries in fresh water as directed in recipe for 30 to 35 minutes.

Pressure cooker: Place wheat berries, 4 cups water and 1 Tbsp oil (this helps prevent foaming) in pressure cooker. Bring to high pressure over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low or just enough to maintain the pressure. Cook 30 minutes. Let pressure release naturally. When pressure had been released, unlock pressure cooker lid and drain.


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