Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Recipe: Wheat Berry Salad w/Dried Apricots

My friend Joanie and I recently had a discussion about working wheat berries into our diets. I think this Better Homes and Gardens recipe uses wheat berries to their best advantage.

If you aren't in the know about wheat berries, they have excellent nutritional value. They're high in fiber, manganese and magnesium and are low in calories. (While I haven't seen them at Kroger or Publix, you can get them at farmer's markets, Harry's and health food stores, usually at about $4 for half a pound. They are really dense, so this quantity goes a long way.)

What I love about it: You've got a great variety of ingredients here - fresh green peas, protein-packed chickpeas, luscious dried apricots and tart dried cranberries, a little nutty flavor from the walnut oil, green onions and of course the wheat berries. The lemon juice makes it bright without making your mouth pucker, the snow peas give it a light, "spring" quality, and the wheat berries and walnut oil make it rich. This dish will sufficiently fill you up without giving you that overly stuffed feeling. It makes a fantastic lunch, because it won't give you a carb crash and you won't be searching for an unhealthful snack two hours later.

I also love that it's easy to make. Besides cooking the wheat berries, the only other thing you have to do is mix the other ingredients together. It's good to go immediately, or a day or two later if you refrigerate it.

What I would change: It's totally unnecessary to soak the wheat berries overnight. Seriously, don't bother. Just be sure to simmer them for at least an hour on the stove. Otherwise they'll be hard and too chewy. Also, if you aren't crazy about snow peas, sugar snap peas will work as a substitute, but in that case you might want to add a little more lemon juice to prevent this from being too sweet.

Other than that, I wouldn't change a thing. Enjoy!

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