A slightly sweet and citrus-packed wheatberry salad. Perfect for lunch or for a holiday side dish! Via Macheesmo.

Friggin’ Fig Wheat Berries

A hearty and healthy wheat berry salad tossed with figs in a slightly sweet sauce. A great lunch salad or also works great as a holiday side dish!


Friggin’ Fig Wheat Berries

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Have you heard of the salad sweet spot? It’s a tricky thing to nail down, but essentially the salad sweet spot is a dish that you can easily have for dinner one night (maybe with a protein on the side), but then also bring the salad for lunch the next day.

To qualify for the salad sweet spot, your salad situations needs to:

A) Keep well.

B) Not be boring.

C) Be filling enough as a meal.

This salad knocks all of those things out of the park. Even though it only has a few simple ingredients, the combo of the figs, lemon, and honey makes it really addictive and also gives you lots of paring options. You could serve pretty much any protein with this bad boy or just snack on a big bowl of it during a busy lunch.

It’s hard to go wrong with friggin’ figs!

Wheat Berry and Fig Salad

Serves 6-8
Prep Time:
Total Time:
A slightly sweet and citrus-packed wheatberry salad. Perfect for lunch or for a holiday side dish! Via Macheesmo.
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A hearty and healthy wheat berry salad tossed with figs in a slightly sweet sauce. A great lunch salad or also works great as a holiday side dish!


2 cups wheat berries, cooked
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
1/3 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons honey
1 cup dried figs, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 cup slivered almonds
1 lemon, zest only
Salt and pepper
Fresh parlsey, garnish


1) Cook wheat berries according to package. I like to simmer mine in water until tender, about 35-45 minutes. Then drain.

2) In a small saucepan, combine vinegar, orange juice, dried figs and honey over low heat. Heat mixture and stir together. Once steaming, remove from heat and let cool to allow figs to soak up mixture.

3) Toss wheat berries with olive oil and stir in diced celery.

4) Stir in fig mixture along with almonds and lemon zest. Season mixture well with salt and pepper and, optionally, fresh parsley.

Serve warm or chilled. LEftover salad will keep fine for 4-5 days in the fridge.

A Fig Soak

You want dried figs for this salad. For starters, you probably can’t find fresh figs this time of year and I would be skeptical of any you can find. Also though, fresh figs will start to break down really quickly and make for a big mushy salad.

Dried figs are sturdier and you can use them to soak up other flavors.

Figs and such.
Figs and such.

Dice up the dried figs and toss them in a small saucepan with the rice vinegar, orange juice, and honey. Bring this all to a slight simmer and then let it cool slowly so the dried fruit soak up all that goodness.

A quick simmer.
A quick simmer.

Meanwhile, you can chop some business.

By business, I mean celery.

Crunchy stuff!
Crunchy stuff!

Cooking Wheat Berries

You need a really sturdy grain for this salad. The figs have a strong flavor and you want something to soak up some of that sauce and also even out the sweetness of it. Something like quinoa would be too delicate for this salad.

Even though wheat berries take a while to cook, they are a great option and low stress. Just simmer them in a lot of water until they are really tender (about 40-45 minutes most likely) and then drain them. The good news is that it’s almost impossible to overcook wheat berries.

Love these.

When the wheat berries are drained, pour in the dried fig mixture and olive oil and stir to combine. You might have a little liquid in the bowl but don’t worry, the wheat berries will soak it right up in a minute or two.

Friggin figs.
Friggin figs.

Citrus Crunch

The base of this salad is done, but my favorite part is the crunch from lots of celery and almonds and a nice citrus kick from a bunch of lemon zest. I used the zest from a whole lemon and it was not too much.

Season the whole thing with salt and pepper and you’re in business.


If you’re in any kind of meal rut, this is a good escape. It’s a simple salad but has just enough different ingredients to wake up the taste buds.

Make it as a side dish (maybe for Thanksgiving?) or for a cold weekday lunch option.

Welcome to the salad sweet spot!

A slightly sweet and citrus-packed wheatberry salad. Perfect for lunch or for a holiday side dish! Via Macheesmo.

12 Responses to “Friggin’ Fig Wheat Berries” Leave a comment

  1. Nick I remember the first time and restaurant I ate wheat berry’s.
    I made this exactly by the directions (I used rice vinegar as I couldn’t find rice wine vinegar) It was WONDERFUL!
    rather easy to prep and delightful pot luck salad to serve a group of 12
    academics and professionals. Many asked for your recipe

    instead of figs I was thinking of dried cranberry’s and adding some scallion, would you
    change the dressing of vinegar, honey and orange juice?

    Love your newsletter and recipes

    1. PS Ed. You can definitely use dried cranberries. I wouldn’t change the dressing recipe at all for that. Should work with no other changes. Good luck!

  2. Nick, a question: you say two cups of wheat berries, cooked. Is that two dry cups cooked or less dry berries to equal two cups cooked? Thanks

    1. Hey Bill, that’s a bit confusing… I mean two cups of dried wheatberries, cooked according to package. Typically, if recipes want you to measure the ingredient after cooking, they will put the word before the noun (ex. 2 cups cooked wheatberries), but the way I wrote it is pretty confusing… thanks for the note on that!

      1. I assumed that’s what you meant and actually proceeded with making this a little while ago. First taste was delicious and I bet once all those flavors get married today it will be even better tonight. Thanks!

  3. This was quite yummy but I too made the mistake of using about 3/4 cups uncooked wheatberries because I didn’t read the above comment. Anyway I just cut back on the amount of celery and almonds, used the whole amount of dressing and forgot to use the olive oil. I think it’s great even without the oil. Next time I’ll use a bit less honey to accommodate the smaller portion of wheatberries. I also toasted the wheatberries for 5 min. @375 before adding them to the pot with the water. Thanks for the recipe.

    1. Heya, nice tip on the toasting! I’ve done that a few times and it seems to add a little more flavor to them. Thanks for the comment!

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