Wheat Berry Waldorf Salad – No Mayo
I love that there is no mayo in this recipe but what I love most are the wheat berries. I discovered this little gem of a grain a while back and was excited to incorporate it into a recipe. Have you heard about wheat berries yet?
Wheat berries are a true whole grain! Without these kernels, there would be no flour. Wheat berries are loaded with nutrients and are as easy as rice to prepare. They resemble rice when uncooked and puff up a little after boiled.
When boiled, cooked wheat berries have a chewy bite and subtle nutty, earthy flavor. They’re sturdy enough to handle bold salad dressings and still delicate enough to taste delicious with some milk, honey and cinnamon.
Since the wheat kernel is left intact, virtually none of the nutrients are stripped away. A cup of cooked wheat berries has about 300 calories and is packed with fiber, protein and iron.
I’m absolutely bringing this to the next BBQ or party I go to. I’m a naturally anxious person so just the decision of what to bring to a party makes my brain spin. I have criteria and a tray of pre-cut veggies in plastic just doesn’t cut it.
This salad meets my top 3 requirements though: UNIQUE, DELICIOUS and HEALTHY.
Don’t let the list of ingredients deter you from making this salad. You probably have most of the ingredients already in your kitchen and the rest are super easy to pick up. Plus, once you pick up some wheat berries, you’ll be happy to have them on hand for any future recipes. I purchase mine in the bulk section at Whole Foods but Bob’s Red Mill also sells packaged wheat berries.
Wheat berries are easy to cook. There are some recipes that call for boiling them for about an hour and others that call for soaking them overnight. I opt for soaking overnight. I put the wheat berries in a bowl with water, cover and let sit in the fridge overnight. The next day while you are preparing the rest of the recipe, boil the wheat berries. It’s really simple.
I enjoyed this salad as a side to a chicken breast on top of a nice spring mix bed of lettuce. It started out that way anyway. In actuality I scooped up the Waldorf and topped my chicken with it.
Wheat berries alone are packed with protein but this salad is a great compliment to any additional protein you might want to add. Top chicken, pork, fish or steak, it all works.
Another serving suggestion is to spoon the Waldorf salad into bib lettuce and top with diced chicken breast = Waldorf Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps.
- ¾ cup wheat berries, rinsed
- 2½ cup water
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
- ¼ cup cider vinegar or rice vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
- ¼ cup apple juice or lemon juice (I used organic apple juice)
- 1½ teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 large Granny Smith unpeeled, cored and chopped
- 1 large Fuji, unpeeled, cored and chopped
- 1 medium pear, unpeeled, cored and chopped
- 2 stalks finely chopped celery
- ½ cup dried cranberry or blueberries (I used cranberries)
- ½ seedless green or red grapes, halved (I used red grapes)
- Optional: honey roasted peanuts
- In a small bowl, soak rinsed wheat berries in the 2½ cups of water. Cover and refrigerate overnight (6 to 12 hours).
- Without draining, transfer wheat berries to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer covered for about 30 minutes or until a tender chewy texture.
- Drain and transfer to a bowl to cool slightly.
- While the wheat berries are simmering, mix up the dressing.
- Combine oil, parsley, sugar, salt, vinegar, apple juice and cinnamon. (Either whisk very well or shake vigorously in a screw top jar.)
- Pour dressing over slightly cooled wheat berries and combine well.
- In a large bowl combine apples, pear, cranberries, celery and grapes.
- Stir in dressing/wheat berry mixture.
- Cover and chill if not serving immediately.
- Optional: Sprinkle with honey roasted nuts.