August 02, 2007

Wheatberry Salad

I never even heard of wheatberries until I worked at a Health food deli located in a health food store here. I sure learned alot and found that in spite of what you think healthy food can taste awesome. I took over the deli after working with a friend who was the chef there. I was disappointed in some of the stuff and so I worked on perking them up with lots of flavor. I know they tried to use the ingredients in the store to promote sales but sometimes fresher is better or less is more. So I took their recipes and cut down even more on the oils and fats used and added tons of fresh garlic, onions and herbs instead of always the dried. Dried has its place but when I can use fresh I always do. I even dry some of my own for when theres no fresh to be had.

Wheatberry is the unprocessed wheat kernel, before it gets refined into flour, wheat germ, bran, and more, so you get the full nutritional and fiber value of each constituent. Some chefs, recommend soaking overnight and cook for about an hour. We just cooked the wheatberry for an hour or till tender. I didnt have time to do overnite when I would be running out in the store sometimes.

Wheat Berry
Refers to the entire wheat kernel, without the hull, which contains the bran, germ, and endosperm. Wheat berry or wheatberry, as it is also known, have a tan to reddish brown color and are available as either a hard or soft processed grain. The soft grain will cook faster, but otherwise, either type can be used in recipes. They provide a tasty nutty flavor when used in salads, soups and stews.
1/2 c. low fat mayo
1 tsp. dillweed
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 c. white vinegar
1 tsp. basil
1/2 c. fresh chopped parsley
1 clove of garlic minced

1 c. EACH hard and soft wheat berries, cooked 1hr. drained and cooled.
3 chopped green onions
1 carrot, chopped
1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/2 each of red and green pepper, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped

All the vegetables can be chopped in a food processor if you wish, to about sm. pea size. In a bowl put all the chopped vegetables. In another bowl combine all the dressing ingredients. Add cooled wheatberries to veggiesand mix well. Add dressing. Mix and chill.

What I liked about the wheatberries are they are kind of chewy and they taste delish. But the texture really got to me. They dont get all soggy and mushy, its almost like eating a burger. Its a pretty hearty salad. You could easily cut this recipe in half or even a quarter if you want. Some of the stores that carry bulk foods have wheatberries. I like to buy mine at the health food store but if you buy more than you need I would freeze them. Most grains will get rancid over time. Also many times you will get grain weevils and such in any kind of product like this, even flour, so freezing kills them.

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