Wheat Berry Salad

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I’d been craving a wheat berry salad ever since a friend let me taste some she bought from Whole Foods for a picnic.  I was obsessed with the chewy texture, the marriage of sweetness and tang, and the mélange of ingredients joining together to form a perfect union.

The only thing that bothered me was the canola oil they used, and I was almost certain the dried cranberries were soaked in canola and sugar, as they usually are.  I decided to recreate this dish on my own, and make a version with dried cherries–unsulphured, no canola or sugar–feta cheese, fresh mint, and a light dressing of lemon juice and olive oil.  At the last minute, I threw in two pinches of red pepper flakes, which gave the salad a nice little kick.  But you could certainly go sans heat without any negative consequences to the flavor.

Let this recipe rest for at least an hour before serving, although I think it reaches its full potential if you can let the flavors mingle overnight in the fridge.  This salad could work as one of many sides–at a picnic or backyard get-together–or play a more substantial role as a meal by throwing in some type of protein.

Wheat Berry Salad

makes 4-6 small side servings

2 cups soft wheat berries, cooked

½ cup fresh mint, chopped

½ cup dried cherries (unsulphured, no sugar), chopped

½ cup feta cheese, chopped

5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

5 tablespoons olive oil

1-2 pinches sea salt

1-2 pinches red pepper flakes (or use black pepper)

Measure out wheat berries and put into medium bowl.  Add mint, cherries, and feta.  In separate small bowl, whisk together lemon juice and olive oil.  Add dressing to other ingredients, sprinkle with salt and red pepper, and mix gently but thoroughly.  Serve cold or at room temperature.

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