Recently I’ve been spending my days baking. It’s like living in an alternate reality - waking up in the middle of the night, mixing dough until your wrists are so tight that it’s hard to hold a pen, obsessing over the nuances of gluten development, and rolling croissant dough in every empty minute.
All that and it has only been three short weeks. The information is fascinating, the science is incredible, watching flour transform into bouncy country loaves and baguettes is a welcome surprise even on the 100th loaf.
But then there’s wheat in another form, its purest form - the wheat berry. The whole grain, compact, fiber power house. Wheat berries make for a hearty meal, and keep a nice toothsomeness, it makes you feel like you’re eating something real. They leave you satisfied.
I used a hard red wheat here, which is easy to find at most grocery stores, they might also just be labeled wheat berries. Bob’s Redmill sells a packaged version, and I’ve had luck finding them in the bulk section as well. Bonus: they’re cheap. If you can’t find that then Farro will work too. If wheat berries aren’t your style you can substitute rice, quinoa, or any other grain.
Wheat Berry Salad with Sumac Dressing
Yield: 4 side salads, or 2 meal-sized portions
Cook the Wheat Berries:
Combine the wheat berries with 5 cups of water in a medium sized pot over high heat. Bring to boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook for about an hour, checking occasionally and adding more water as needed. When they’re done the wheat berries will be softened but still al dente. Drain and cool before using.
Make the dressing:
Combine lemon juice, shallots, and sumac in a medium sized bowl. Drizzle in the olive oil while whisking, and season with salt and pepper. Don’t worry the dressing won’t come together and emulsify fully and thats okay for this salad. Add in the currants to rehydrate them while you prepare the salad.
Make the salad:
Combine the cooled wheat berries with the olives, feta, walnuts, scallions, and parsley. Toss with the vinaigrette and season as needed.
Serve immediately or store in the fridge for 1-3 days. This salad stores well for a packed lunch or picnic!
2 cups wheat berries
1/2 cup green olives, quartered or chopped
1/2 cup feta, crumbled
1/3 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
1/2 bunch scallions, thinly slices
1/2 bunch parsley, rough chopped
1/4 cup currants
For the Dressing:
2 lemons, juiced
1 tbs sumac
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
salt & pepper to taste