I decided to make this Wheat Berry, Green Olive and Roasted Pepper Salad after paging through the January 2012 issue of Sunset Magazine. It featured several absolutely gorgeous salads made with grains, which reminded me I had a package of Bob’s Red Mill Soft White Wheat Berries languishing in my cupboard. Plus I have to laugh and admit I am one of those people who have “Eat Healthier” on my New Year’s Resolutions list. You know, along with get more sleep, go for a walk three times a week, save ten percent of my paycheck and clean out the garage. So I made this salad and I’m feeling just so danged righteous right now. One day at a time, right?
Around 13,000 BC, hunter-gatherers in modern Syria harvested wild cereal grasses, such as einkorn wheat and emmer wheat. It was first domesticated around 9,000 BC in Lebanon, Syria, the Levant, Israel, Egypt and Ethiopia. Because wheat could be grown on a large scale and be stored for a long time, it was a key factor in hunter-gatherers transitioning to city-based societies which were emerging in the Fertile Crescent.
Common wheat was first domesticated in Western Asia and spread from there to North Africa, Europe and East Asia. Wheat first reached North America with the Spanish missions in the 16th century.
Wheat berries are the entire wheat kernel (without the hull), which includes the bran, germ and endosperm. One fourth cup of raw wheat berries has 7 grams of protein, 6 grams of fiber and 10% of the daily value of iron, with only 1 gram of fat and zero cholesterol. You need to make this salad right now!
Wheat Berry, Green Olive & Roasted Pepper Salad
Serves 2 to3 as a side dish
½ cup raw wheat berries, rinsed
2 cups water
¼ teaspoon salt
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, cut in quarters
1 yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, cut in quarters
Cooking spray, such as Pam
Salt & pepper
1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
½ cup green olives, pitted, cut in fourths
¼ cup goat cheese, crumbled (or feta or queso blanco)
¼ cup olive oil
Zest from 1 lemon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons white balsamic or white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 teaspoon Poupon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
1 ½ teaspoons Kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1. Place wheat berries, water and salt in a sauce pan. Bring to a rolling boil, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for one to 1 ½ hours or until tender. Drain and cool spread out on a foil-covered sheet pan.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cover a sheet pan with foil and spray lightly. Place pepper quarters on pan and spray lightly with cooking spray. Lightly dust with salt and pepper. Roast in oven for 30 minutes. Cool on pan. Cut into ¾-inch squares.
3. In a large bowl combine wheat berries, pepper squares, olive pieces and parsley leaves.
4. Place all vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to emulsify. Pour over wheat berry mixture and toss to thoroughly coat salad ingredients.
5. May be eaten immediately or chilled overnight. At time of service, garnish with crumbled cheese.