Wheat berries are whole wheat grain kernels and a perfect example of a whole grain. You can easily substitute wheat berries in most rice or barley dishes to give them a chewy texture and nutty flavor. Wheat berries also deliver a healthy dose of fiber, protein, B vitamins, manganese, and magnesium. If you can’t find wheat berries at your local market, you can substitute farro, which is another fantastic whole grain derived from a different species of wheat.
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Place the wheat berries in a medium-size saucepan and cover with at least 2 inches of water (about 6 cups). Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to low and cook the wheat berries, uncovered, for about 60 minutes; they should be tender but still slightly chewy or al dente. If you’re using soaked grains, plan to reduce the cooking time even more. Once the grains reach the desired texture, remove from the heat and drain off any excess water. Set aside.
- Place the squash on an unlined baking sheet and roast in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until fork tender. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Sauté the onions with 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a small frying pan on medium to high heat until translucent and tender, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, vinegar, maple syrup, and salt. Add the wheat berries, squash, onions, and cranberries to the mixing bowl and combine. Allow the salad to sit for at least 20 minutes to give the wheat berries time to absorb some of the dressing. Season with additional salt to taste. Give the salad one more stir before garnishing with chopped parsley and serving at room temperature.
Tip: If you’re planning ahead, soak the wheat berries or farro in water for at least 8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse before cooking.
From The Nutritionist’s Kitchen by Carly Knowles, MS, RDN, LD © 2020 by Carly Knowles. Photography © Kimberley Hasselbrink. Reprinted in arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications, Inc. Boulder, CO. www.roostbooks.com