Tag Archives: wheat berry

My Nutritarian Diary: Loaded Veggie Wheat Berry Salad

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This Loaded Veggie Wheat Berry Salad (or as my husband likes to call it, “A vegan salad so good even your hunter husband will like it”) is as nutritious as it is delicious. It is very similar to another wheat berry salad I’ve featured on my blog but with more veggies and an easier dressing option.

Most of the veggies in this salad can be found at your local farmer’s market, too, but not for much longer now that fall is around the corner. Take a look at some of the health benefits this salad is packed with:

  • Carrots-Improves Vision, Promotes Healthy Skin, and Fights Cancer
  • Zucchini-Lowers Cholesterol, Maintains Low Blood Sugar, and is an Anti-Inflammatory
  • Tomatoes-Builds Strong Bones, Makes Hair Strong and Shiny, and Prevents Kidney Stones
  • Artichoke Hearts-Promotes Heart Health, Aids Digestion, and Supports Muscle Health
  • Basil-Protects Cells from Damage, Fights Bacteria, and Improves Blood Flow

And that’s just a handful of the ingredients!

I hope I have convinced you to give it a try. Remember, even my hunter husband said it was a hit.

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Loaded Veggie Wheat Berry Salad

SALAD INGREDIENTS:
• 5 cups of water
• 1 cup of wheat berries
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 1 ½ cups carrots, finely chopped
• 1 ½ cups raw zucchini, chopped
• 1 ½ cups cucumber, seeded and chopped
• 1 ½ cups green pepper, chopped
• 1 ½ cups cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
• 1 (14-ounce) can of artichoke hearts, rinsed and quartered
• 4 ounces of baby spinach
• Handful of fresh basil leaves, torn in small pieces
• 2 tablespoons of fresh oregano
• ¼ to ½ cup onions of choice, finely chopped, optional
• ½ cup kalamata olives, chopped
• 1 ½ cups of cooked black beans or 1 (15.5-ounce) can of black beans, rinsed and drained
• ¼ to ½ cup of favorite low-fat Italian dressing*
• 1-2 tablespoons of lemon juice, if desired for taste
• Salt and pepper, if needed
• Lettuce leaves, to plate salad, optional

*I used Trader Joe’s Tuscan Italian Dressing with Balsamic Vinegar

DIRECTIONS:
Place the water, wheat berries, and ½ teaspoon of salt into a saucepan. Bring to boil and simmer. Cooking time varies depending on the desired texture and the brand you are cooking. Generally, I prefer to cook mine for 45 minutes. Once cooked, remove from heat, drain, and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, while wheat berries are cooking, place the carrots, zucchini, cucumber, green pepper, tomatoes, artichoke hearts, baby spinach, basil, oregano, onion (if using), olives, and black beans, and mix well.

Add the wheat berries and the dressing to the veggies and combine. Adjust taste with lemon juice, salt, and pepper, if desired.

Place desired amount on a plate of lettuce leaves, and serve.

(You could easily replace wheat berries with quinoa. Just cook 1 cup of quinoa according to its directions and use it instead.)

My Nutritarian Diary: Wheat Berry and Black Bean Salad

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Wheat berries meet my readers. Readers meet wheat berries.

Now that the introductions are over, let me tell you about this wonderful grain. I have discovered that its chewy texture and nutty flavor to be a perfect substitute for pasta in my cold salads and almost as easy to cook with just a longer cooking time. I have fallen head over heels in love with these little guys, and I am so excited to share one of my new favorite recipes that feature this grain prominently.

Let’s dig in a little about what makes this whole grain so special, aside from the fact it’s the source of our wheat flour. First, one serving (½ cup of cooked wheat berries) contains 6 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber, which is about the same amount of protein and fiber as the now popular quinoa. With that said, the nutritional profile does vary some depending on type of wheat berries you use. For example, Lentz Spelt’s whole grain berries, a locally-grown brand I recently discovered at Rocket Market in Spokane, WA, has 8 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber.

But that’s not it. They are also loaded with vitamins B1 or Thiamin, which helps convert carbohydrates into energy and is good for a healthy brain, nerve cells, and heart function; and B3 or Niacin, which keeps our skin and our nervous and digestive systems healthy (Source).

But where do you find them? As I mentioned above, I found mine at Rocket Market locally, but you can buy them in many varieties in the bulk sections of most health food stores or in mainstream grocery stores that sell healthy bulk items.

There’s of course more to be said, but let them “speak” for themselves as you give them a try in this wonderful recipe!

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Wheat Berry and Black Bean Salad
(Adapted from Robin Robertson’s One-Dish Vegan’s “Quinoa and Black Bean Salad” recipe)

SALAD INGREDIENTS:
• 3 cups of water
• 1 cup of wheat berries*
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 3 scallions, chopped
• 1 large carrot, peeled and shredded
• 1 cup cucumber, seeded and chopped
• 1½ cups of cooked black beans or 1 (15.5-ounce) can of black beans, rinsed and drained
• 2 cups of cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
• ½ cup kalamata olives, chopped
• ¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley, basil, or cilantro
• ½ cup toasted walnuts, optional
• Romaine lettuce leaves, to plate salad

*You could easily replace wheat berries with quinoa. Just cook 1 cup of quinoa according to its directions and use it instead.

DRESSING INGREDIENTS:
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 1-2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice (or a citrus-flavored vinegar), use less if you like a subtler lemon/citrus flavor
• 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 teaspoon agave nectar
• 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
• ⅛ teaspoon dried oregano
• ⅛ teaspoon smoked paprika
• ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

DIRECTIONS:
Place the water, wheat berries, and ½ teaspoon of salt into a saucepan. Bring to boil and simmer. Cooking time varies depending on the desired texture and the brand you are cooking. Generally, I prefer to cook mine for 45 minutes. Once cooked, remove from heat, drain, and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, place the scallions, carrot, black beans, tomatoes, olives, and parsley. In a separate smaller bowl, whisk all the dressing ingredients together.

Add the wheat berries and the dressing to the large bowl and mix well. Add the walnuts, if using. Also adjust the seasonings if needed.

Place desired amount on a plate of romaine lettuce, and serve.