Open Arms of Minnesota

Weekly Recipe #167: Wheatberry Salad with Apples, Currants, and Sunflower Seeds

By Ali Dostal, University of Minnesota Fairview Dietetic Intern

wheatberrysalad
Photo Credit – John Hritz/Flickr

Do you have a tried and true recipe that you come back to, time and time again? This wheatberry salad is definitely mine. It is a truly versatile dish that is equally welcome as a light lunch, taken to a potluck picnic with friends, or served as a side dish at an elegant dinner party. It can be served hot, cold, or at room temperature and easily incorporates seasonal fruits and vegetables. And as if that description weren’t enough, it’s also a nutritional powerhouse!

Wheatberries are a whole grain with a sweet, nutty flavor and are high in fiber, protein, iron, and B vitamins. Apples are a sweet source of antioxidants and phytonutrients that fight off damage caused by free radicals and can also help stabilize blood sugar. Sunflower seeds are high in vitamin E, which is important for fighting inflammation and promoting healthy circulation, and dried currants are a low-fat, high-protein source of potassium, a mineral required for bone health and optimal muscle function.

Besides tasting great when prepared by the recipe below, the versatility of this salad really makes it stand out. Feel free to modify the recipe in endless ways: if you want a gluten-free variation, swap out the wheatberries for wild rice. You discovered the ripest summer peaches at the farmer’s market? Substitute them for the apples. Need a heartier salad to serve as a main course? Add in shredded chicken or baked tofu and serve atop a bed of greens. Once you’ve mastered the basics of this recipe, it’s easy to see that it will become a standout salad in your collection.

Wheatberry Salad

Adapted from Clean Food, by Terry Walters

Serves 8

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups wheatberries
  • 4-5 green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped apples
  • ½ cup currants or raisins
  • ¼ cup roasted sunflower seeds
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2-3 tablespoons sesame oil
  • Salt to taste

Instructions:

1) In a large pot, bring 3 ½ cups water to cover to a boil.
2) Add wheatberries and a pinch of salt, reduce heat, cover, and simmer until all water is absorbed and wheatberries have softened but are still slightly chewy (40-50 minutes). Set aside to cool, then fluff with a fork.
3) In a large bowl, combine cooked wheatberries with green onions, apples, currants, and roasted sunflower seeds.
4) Toss with lime juice, sesame oil, and a pinch of salt. Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled.

Nutrition Per serving:

206 calories; 6 g fat (1 g sat); 0 mg cholesterol; 36 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 6 g protein; 7 g fiber; 1 mg sodium; 303 mg potassium.
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