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Economical, Healthy, Salad, Side Dishes, Vegetarian

Wheat Berry Salad with Roasted Peppers

by Nick

I had one of those weekends last weekend where I ate too much junk food and drank too much booze and come Sunday night I needed to hit the reset button on my body.

For me, hitting that button usually means drinking an absurd about of water and making a really nutritious salad that I can eat for the next few days.

Enter the wheat berry salad. Wheat berries give an awesome texture to this really flavorful salad that includes roasted peppers, roasted garlic and a tangy vinaigrette. It’s health on a plate.

If you aren’t familiar with wheat berries, I guarantee you that you are familiar with their most common application: flour. Basically these are just the whole berries that are normally ground down to produce flour, but you can find them whole in the grain aisle. You cook them a lot like you would cook beans or rice and you end up with a very nutritious final product that has a great chewy texture and light, nutty flavor.

Wheat berries are jam-packed with iron, fiber, and protein and they work perfectly for this salad.

Yield
Serves 6-8.
Prep Time
Total Time

Just a moment please...

Print Recipe Wheat Berry Salad with Roasted Peppers

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 Cups uncooked wheat berries
  • 6 peppers, roasted, peeled, and cubed
  • 2 heads garlic, roasted
  • 1 Cup basil, chopped
  • 1/3 Cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/3 Cup red wine Vinegar
  • 1/2 Cup extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Spinach or greens for serving

Directions

1) Boil the wheat berries in salted water and then drain them, but check the packaging before you dive in (this takes approximately 75 minutes).

2) Get a whole bulb of garlic, peel off any papery stuff that is on the outside, but make sure the bulb stays intact, and then slice off the very tip of the bulb to expose just a bit of each clove. Wrap this in foil with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt.

3) Bake the foil package at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until a knife easily slides into a clove. It should be tender and golden brown and smell like awesomeness.

4) Let it cool a minute and then you should be able to literally squeeze out each clove. You can use a fork if you are trying to be all proper about it. Then for this recipe, just mush it up.

5) Roast red, yellow, and orange peppers in the broiler for a few minutes a side until they deflate and are charred on the outside. Or you could grill them. Or if you have a gas stove, you can lay them on the open flame for a few minutes a side.

6) Stick all the peppers in a large bowl and cover it with plastic wrap and let them steam for 15 minutes.

7) After that you need to peel and dice each pepper. Peel off as much skin as you can using your hands and a paper towel, then use a knife to slice out the core and slice the pepper down the middle. Then clean up the pepper a bit more with a paper towel, and then dice them all up.

8) Roast some pine nuts in a dry skillet over medium heat.

9) Chop up the fresh basil!

10) Whisk olive oil and red wine vinegar together to make the dressing for the salad.

11) Once the wheat berries are cooked (they should be tender, but have some chew to them), drain them and then rinse them for a few seconds so they don’t stick together.

12) Stir in the peppers and garlic and basil.

13) Pour the dressing over the whole thing and stir it up! Be sure to taste for salt and pepper.

14) It's best to let it chill for a few hours so the flavors can have plenty of time to come together.

15) Serve on a bed of spinach, topped with the pine nuts along with some toasted bread slather in garlic!

Cooking the Wheat Berries

The wheat berries will normally take about an hour to 75 minutes to cook, so get them started first. Basically, you just boil them in salted water and then drain them, but check your packaging before you dive in.

Before there was flour, there was wheat berries.

Before there was flour, there was wheat berries.

Roasting the Garlic

While this dish only has a few ingredients, each one is incredibly flavorful. Also though, each ingredient takes a bit of time to prepare. This is definitely not a quick weeknight meal if you do everything from scratch mainly because the wheat berries take about 75 minutes to cook.

But also you need to roast some garlic! If you’ve never had roasted garlic, you don’t know what you’re missing. Luckily, it’s really easy to make. Just get a whole bulb of garlic, peel off any papery stuff that is on the outside, but make sure the bulb stays intact, and then slice off the very tip of the bulb to expose just a bit of each clove.

Wrap this in foil with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt (top left). Bake the foil package at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until a knife easily slides into a clove. It should be tender and golden brown and smell like awesomeness (top right).

Let it cool a minute and then you should be able to literally squeeze out each clove. You can use a fork if you are trying to be all proper about it (bottom left). Then for this recipe, just mush it up (bottom right).

It doesn't get better than this for me.

It doesn’t get better than this for me.

Roasting Peppers

You can definitely buy the canned roasted peppers if you want, but since you have to wait so long for the wheat berries you may as well roast your own. I used a combination of red, yellow, and orange peppers for my salad. You can definitely roast them in the broiler for a few minutes a side until they deflate and are charred on the outside. Or you could grill them.

Or if you have a gas stove, you can just do this:

I'm such a pyro.

I’m such a pyro.

When the peppers are 90% black, they are done if you’re using the grill or gas stove method. Then stick all your peppers in a large bowl and cover it with plastic wrap and let them steam for 15 minutes.

After that you need to peel and dice each pepper. This is kind of a mess, but it’s worth it in my opinion. I read somewhere that if you wash the pepper after roasting it washes off all the flavors and juices so I didn’t wash mine this time.

I peeled off as much skin as I could using my hands and a paper towel (top left), then I used a knife to slice out the core and sliced the pepper down the middle (top right). Then I tried to clean up the pepper a bit more with a paper towel (bottom left), and then I diced them all up (bottom right).

I would say the whole pepper process took me 45 minutes, but that’s fine because my garlic was roasting and my wheat berries were cooking anyway.

After a 15 minute steam, do this.

After a 15 minute steam, do this.

Other Ingredients

To finish off this dish, you’ll also need to roast some pine nuts which you should do in a dry skillet over medium heat.

Whatever you do, don’t take your eyes off these guys. They go from toasted (below) to burned (not shown, luckily) in about 30 seconds.

These guys burn quickly. Watch them!

These guys burn quickly. Watch them!

Also, chop up a good amount of fresh basil!

If your kitchen didn't smell good already.

If your kitchen didn’t smell good already.

I didn’t take a photo of it but you’ll also need to whisk your olive oil and red wine vinegar together to make the dressing for the salad. That’s really easy though.

Putting the dish together

Once your wheat berries are cooked (they should be tender, but have some chew to them), drain them and then rinse them for a few seconds so they don’t stick together.

After about 75 minutes...

After about 75 minutes…

Then stir in your peppers and garlic and basil. Pour your dressing over the whole thing and stir it up! Be sure to taste for salt and pepper. I probably added 2 Teaspoons of salt and 1 Tablespoon of fresh ground pepper.

All together now! Don't forget the dressing.

All together now! Don’t forget the dressing.

I think this salad is best if you let it chill for a few hours so the flavors can have plenty of time to come together.

I served mine on a bed of spinach, topped with the pine nuts along with some toasted bread that I slathered with some extra roasted garlic I made because it’s just so darn good.

Pretty food.

Pretty food.

Betsy and I ate this dish for 2 dinners and we both brought it for lunch one day also. So it served 6 full meals. It’s also possible that it’s the healthiest thing I’ve ever made on Macheesmo. I mean, just look at those colors! How could it not be delicious?

If you’ve never tried wheat berries, give them a shot. Prepared with these tasty add-ins and with the tangy vinaigrette dressing, they make a fantastic reset button salad.

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5 comments on “Wheat Berry Salad with Roasted Peppers

  1. hello, i just wanted to leave a tip that you may or may not know of when dealing with roasting peppers. i saw this on the food network; to take some of the work out of peeling the pepper, if you have a paper bag on hand you could place the peppers (after your steaming process) in the bag and give it a good shake. this will remove most if not all of the “char” from your peppers and save you some peeling time.

    just my two cents.

    be golden.

  2. Trader Joe’s sells pre-toasted pine nuts, for those with a TJ’s nearby. They’ve saved me so much $ since I started buying them — I was always over-toasting pine nuts when I bought raw ones.

    I mean, fresh toasted pine nuts are probably slightly better, but I was burning them nearly half of the time, and pine nuts are pricey!

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