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This is definitely the time of the year for making amazing salads. Whether you are looking for a main dish offering or something to accompany your favorite main course, Mother Nature has done her best to make sure there's a variety of color, texture, and flavor to toss in your salad bowl:

This is one of my favorite salads. Now, it's not often the same twice. That said, the base is the same every time. I like to combine tender, chewy wheat berries with dark greens (think kale or spinach) and add a wide variety of beautiful seasonal produce to make a beautiful salad that's got a little bit of everything going on. This time around, that meant tomatoes, cucumbers, snow peas, green onions, and even some sunflower seeds for a bit of extra interest. Then, I nestled it alongside some beef tips with mushrooms, poured a glass of wine, and beheld my dinner:

But here's the glorious thing about this salad: it gets to change with your mood. I love tossing the wheat berries with spinach and then adding chopped seasonal fruit, some chopped walnuts, and a raspberry vinaigrette for something a bit sweeter. Sometimes I go with an all green look by using tomatillos instead of tomatoes. It can even be fun to try to figure out how many different colors and textures you can get into this dish. After all, who doesn't like the idea of eating the rainbow, especially this time of the year?

Wheat Berry Salad

  • 1 c. uncooked wheat berries
  • 2 c. water
  • 4 c. chopped kale or other hearty leafy green
  • 2 T. sliced green onion
  • 1 c. chopped snow peas
  • 1 c. chopped cucumber
  • 1 c. chopped tomato
  • 2 T. roasted sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 c. vinaigrette dressing of your choice

To make the wheat berries: Combine the wheat berries and water in your rice cooker and allow to soak for 30-60 minutes. Turn the rice cooker on and place the lid on the cooker. Allow the wheat berries to cook until tender and chewy — about 30 minutes. *Note: This step can easily be done in advance and cooked wheat berries can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Combine 1 cup of the wheat berries (save the rest of the berries for another use) with the remaining ingredients. Toss well to coat with the dressing and otherwise combine. Serve alongside your favorite summer meals.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: About 90 minutes (wheat berries can be made in advance and then prep time is very fast)