Great Grains: Wheat Berries Shine In This Vibrant Orange-Dressed Salad

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Most of us who grew up in Western countries have a love affair with wheat. We eat it without thinking, disguised as it is in bread, pasta and myriad other tasty but not always nutritious treats. We forget that wheat, like brown rice, can be eaten as a whole grain. And we know that keeping grains more intact slows oxidation and preserves their fiber and nutritional profile. For culinary purposes, we call the unbroken, hulled whole wheat kernels “wheat berries.” My friend Adele devised this salad some years ago when she cooked at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, and she’s been making it to rave reviews ever since. One secret of this salad’s success is its vibrant orange flavor–use orange juice concentrate straight from the pack. You should be able to find wheat berries, hopefully in bulk, wherever natural foods are sold. To cook, rinse the wheat berries, place in a roomy pot, cover with about two inches of water, bring just to a boil and simmer 45 minutes. Taste, and cook only until al dente–they should be tender, but still retain a subtle crunch. Drain thoroughly, and dress this salad while the wheat berries are still warm. Cool an hour or more, giving the berries time to absorb the dressing. Adele’s super easy recipe is after the jump.

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