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Date Orange Wheat Berry Salad

This unique and hearty Date Orange Wheat Berry Salad is packed full of tastes and textures. Wheat berries provide the ultimate chew, while the feta, dates and a hint of orange provide a melody of flavors that complement each other perfectly. It’s chewy, crunchy, sweet and citrusy all in one beautiful bowl. 

Wheat Berry Salad

I’m taking a breather from my apparent desire to share only baking recipes to bring you something a little more summery. With this amazing weather, how could I not? Although I love my baking, my adoration for any and all salads still holds just as strong.

Wheat Berry Salad

Have you ever cooked with wheat berries?

These little nuggets are the most natural, unrefined version of wheat.  The berries are where it all begins. Before any processing and milling occurs, forming the wheat flour and wheat products we all know and love (?), our beloved wheat (both whole wheat and white) begins as a chewy hard kernel. These kernels, which still contain the bran, germ, and endosperm, can actually be cooked and eaten just like any grain. And that’s what I’m here today to show you. 

Wheat Berry Salad

Because only the hull – the inedible outer layer of the grain – has been removed, wheat berries retain all of the grain’s fibre, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that otherwise would get lossed through processing and milling. 

Like all whole grains, wheat berries have an exceptional nutritional profile.  They are high in fibre, low in calories and packed with vitamins and minerals.  A half-cup serving of cooked wheat berries is a great source of manganese, selenium, phosphorus and magnesium.  Wheat berries also contain lignans, which are phytochemicals thought to guard against breast and prostate cancers. Source

Wheat Berry Salad

Much like farro, cooked wheat berries have an undeniably chewy texture along with a mild, nutty taste. If you enjoy a good soft chew like me, you will absolutely love them. 

Wheat berries can be made into a chewy breakfast porridge, thrown into soups, or used to make a delectable whole grain wheat berry salad!

Wheat Berry Salad

Of course, like all other unprocessed grains, these kernels do take a while to cook. It is highly suggested to soak the berries over night in order to cut down on cooking times and increase digestibility. However, I have prepared wheat berries with and without a pre soak and actually found very little difference in the final outcome. The soaked berries took perhaps only 10 minutes less than the ones which were soaked. 

Wheat Berry Salad

Now as for this wheat berry salad!

I’ve never been a huge orange fan, to be honest, but one place I do love the citrus flavor is in a date and orange muffin. The date-orange combination just begs to be together. Don’t ask my why. It just works. 

For this salad, I’ve combined the hearty chew of wheat berries with a slight crunch of nuts (pecans or walnuts – I have used both).  Then I’ve combined this fabulous combination of orange and dates to make a sweet dressing infusion, and to finish things off, threw in some feta for that finishing touch of salt. 

Wheat Berry Salad

This Date Orange Wheat Berry Salad is really cool. It is a great company dish that is light enough to pair with any meat or protein and is still subtle enough to not over take the rest of the meal. It is full of whole food nutrition – as unrefined as it comes – so you know you are giving your body the goods. 

And it’s kind of pretty, huh?

I hope you give it a try and fall in love with the fabulous chew of wheat berries! 

Try the fabulous chew of Wheat Berries in this Date Orange Wheat Berry Salad! The perfect healthy… Click To Tweet

wheat berry salad sharper 2

Date Orange Wheat Berry Salad

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw wheat berries (see below for cooking instructions)
  • 1/2 cup dates, chopped
  • 1/4 cup feta, crumbled
  • 1 cup spinach, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
    Dressing
  • zest from 1 orange
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Additional orange zest and feta to top

Instructions

  1. Soak (optional) and cook wheat berries as instructed.
  2. While cooking, mix together dressing ingredients.
  3. While still warm, toss the cooked and rinsed wheat berries with dressing.
  4. Stir in chopped spinach so that it wilts in the warmth (if preparing wheat berries in advance, slightly wilt the spinach in the microwave or in a sauce pan before adding into salad).
  5. Stir in chopped dates, nuts and feta. Store in fridge until ready to serve (flavors will meld together nicely with more sitting time).
  6. Just before serving, top with additional feta and orange zest.

Notes

To cook wheat berries:

Optional: Cover wheat berries in about an inch of cool water and let sit overnight (even a few hours). Drain and rinse well.

For ever 1 cup of raw wheat berries, bring 2 ½ cups of water to a boil with a pinch of salt. Add wheat berries to pot and let the water return to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until wheat berries are tender (for salads it is best when they are kept slightly al-dente). Remove from heat, drain off any excess water and fluff wheat berries with a fork.

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wheat berry salad pin

Are you new to wheat berries?

What is your favorite grain to use in salads?

Do you prefer chewy or crunchy?

16 COMMENTS

  1. Susie @ SuzLyfe | 24th May 16

    This sounds delicious! It has been too long since I’ve had wheat berries. I am a texture junky–I want them all!
    Susie @ SuzLyfe recently posted…Never Give Up (Let’s Try This Again)My Profile

    • Cora | 26th May 16

      If you are texture junky then I’d say you’d love this baby.

  2. Heather @ Polyglot Jot | 24th May 16

    This sounds like a great combo texture-wise. Id have to swap it with something gluten free but i love the idea here. So creative!!
    Heather @ Polyglot Jot recently posted…Looking UpMy Profile

    • Cora | 26th May 16

      Ah yes – not one for the gluten free crowd. Barley would be awesome, too! Or farro? not sure if that is gluten free off hand…

  3. Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table | 24th May 16

    This sounds so good! I love the chew of wheat berries. I j was just talking to someone the other day who was arguing they had no flavor – I’m sending her this recipe! 🙂
    Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table recently posted…Bite-Sized Peach Caprese SaladMy Profile

    • Cora | 26th May 16

      OH nice!! Hopefully it shows her wrong!

  4. Sarah @ BucketListTummy | 24th May 16

    Your photos are looking outstanding, my friend. I love this potential flavor combo, and the colors are beautiful too, which always helps 🙂 I think I’ve only had wheatberries a couple of times (always out somewhere), so I need to buy some of my own! The combo of fruits, nuts, and grains textures in here has me all sorts of excited. And can I just hug you for adding feta? I add it to everythinggg!
    Sarah @ BucketListTummy recently posted…Sunday Food Prep, Pizza and Weekend AdventuresMy Profile

    • Cora | 26th May 16

      Feta hugs are so accepted. I seriously throw it into all my salads, no matter the base. Or pizza. It just works with everything!

  5. Kristy @ Southern In Law | 24th May 16

    Heeeelloooo deliciousness! I wish I could eat wheat berries as I bet they’re chewy and delicious (kind of like barley? I used to be OBSESSED with barley pre-coeliac diagnosis!) but I bet this combination would be perfect with gluten free grains too! I loveeee mixing sweet and savoury flavours – especially fruits and cheese! <3
    Kristy @ Southern In Law recently posted…How to Make “Me Time” When You Have a Busy ScheduleMy Profile

    • Cora | 26th May 16

      Ahhhh boo to not being able to have wheat berries. But if there is a GF grain you enjoy then it would totally work in its place! Fruit and cheese – how it is such a perfect combo, eh!?

  6. Ellie | 25th May 16

    Wheat berries look like a grain I will have to try. I usually go to the store and pick a new one I’ve never used just to try it out. I’ve enjoyed millet, fareek and Amaranth, and of course quinoa. There is an entrée at my job that uses wheat berries, apples and cinnamon which I love. This salad looks great Cora!
    Ellie recently posted…B Happy Peanut Butter [it’s not smooth, it’s not crunchy, it’s SMUNCHY!]My Profile

    • Cora | 26th May 16

      Oh then this is perfect for you!! That salad at your job sounds awesome – sounds like it could be a breakfast dish (which I’m now wanting to try out).

  7. Page not found - mylittletablespoon | 25th May 16

    […] Date Orange Wheat Berry Salad […]

  8. Foodie Summer Bucketlist (WIAW) | 25th May 16

    […] to trying/making this summer. APART from the usual and inevitable cookies, muffins, bars and salads that will no doubt happen. I’ve basically got a running list going in both my head […]

  9. cookiesnchem | 26th May 16

    I’m so glad that you put ALL my favourite salad ingredients in here – spinach, dates, maple, feta! Yum. This recipe looks like a serious keeper and I’m gonna pick up some wheat berries at the market next time!
    cookiesnchem recently posted…Trying New ThingsMy Profile

    • Cora | 26th May 16

      Haha well I did it just for you, hun ;). Let me know if you like them, k? Would love your review.
      PS your blog gives me a perms-drool. Its real attractive.

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