Monday, June 22, 2009

Middle Eastern Inspired Wheat Berry Salad

This salad is easy to put together and improves as it sits in the refrigerator. It makes a great cold lunch or picnic item. The great thing about using wheat berries is that they are minimally processed and therefore retain more of their nutrition.

The wheat berries and sunflower seeds retain their chewy texture, which is a nice counterpoint texturally to the softer vegetables. The sumac helps to enhance the lemon flavor and adds an additional sour note to the salad that is unusual.

If you are unfamiliar with sumac it is a common Middle Eastern spice that grows wild in both the Middle East and Italy and comes from the dark purple berries that are dried and ground. The taste of sumac is fruity and sour. Sumac can be purchased online or is found at well stocked Middle Eastern markets. If you can’t find it, add more lemon juice and zest to the recipe for a similar flavor.

This salad is very healthy with the inclusion of the garlic, onion and tomatoes, which are all reported to help protect you from cancer. A serving of this salad contains more than 15 grams of fiber, which is half of what you need for the entire day, and more than the 12 grams of fiber the average American consumes in a day.

I serve this salad as an entrée when the weather is warm and I want something refreshing for dinner. Since the entire dish has less than 400 calories and 15 grams of protein. I think it makes a great light, yet substantial dinner packed with a lot of nutrition.

Middle Eastern Inspired Wheat Berry Salad
Makes 4 servings


1 cup of wheat berries, which will be cooked and cooled
4 cups of water to cook wheat berries
zest and juice from one lemon
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, grated or finely minced
1 tablespoon of sumac powder
2 fresh tomatoes, diced
1 pound of snow peas, sliced into ¼ to ½ inch lengths
½ red onion, finely diced
½ cup of raw sunflower seeds
1 hass avocado, sliced
8 cups of lettuce
salt and black pepper to taste


Cook wheat berries in at least four cups of water until tender. The wheat berries will take at least an hour to cook. Be certain to check them periodically to make certain the water has not evaporated. When the wheat is tender to the tooth, but still a little firm, pour the wheat berries into a colander and drain. Rinse them in cold water if you are in a hurry.

Combine the lemon zest and juice, extra virgin olive oil, garlic and sumac. Move cooled wheat berries to a dish with a lid. Pour the dressing over the wheat berries and toss to coat evenly. Add the tomatoes, snow peas and red onion and refrigerate covered, until ready to serve.

Before serving the salad taste for salt and pepper and adjust accordingly. To serve place two cups of lettuce on each chilled plate. Top with one quarter of the wheat berry salad and fan a quarter of the avocado on top of each serving.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 396.17
Calories From Fat (34%) - 135.61

Total Fat - 16g
Saturated Fat - 1.99g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 29.5mg
Potassium - 1031.35mg
Total Carbohydrates - 54.79g
Fiber - 15.34g
Sugar - 7.3g
Protein - 15.28g


This is a good salad when you want something cold that is still substantial. The salad would make a nice lunch or light dinner. This salad would also be good with cucumber or fresh parsley. If you have any almond feta on hand that would make nice addition to the salad.

If you haven’t tried making wheat berry salads before this may have you making many variations. We enjoy the chewy texture of the wheat berries in all types of cold salads. You can use the wheat berries in place of brown rice or pasta in any cold salad.

Be careful when eating as sumac will stain your clothing. If you rinse the sumac out immediately with cold water the stain won't set.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails