Feta Wheat-Berry Salad

Next up in my experimentation with whole grains: wheat-berry. I’ve had it a few times in some of the prepared salads at Whole Foods and have been eager to work with it. Then, Christie and I were discussing the menu for Carlie’s second birthday party next month, and she asked if I had any wheat-berry recipes. Hmmm… I found this one on Epicurious.com this morning and since it got great user reviews, and I already had many of the ingredients, I decided to try it tonight. I read through all of the user comments, one of my favorite parts of Epicurious, and then made a few tweaks to the recipe. I was pretty liberal with the dill and mint, using more than 1/4 cup. I cut the olive oil back to three tbsp rather than five, used scallions instead of red onion, and also added some walnuts. This is a fantastic summer salad. Wheat-berry has a great texture—Johnny described it as “little bursts”— and the feta, dill, cucumbers and olives give it a Greek salad taste. You can find wheat-berry in the same aisle as rice and other whole grains at the supermarket. I used Arrowhead Mills Organic Whole Grain Wheat.

I had planned to serve this with baked chicken cutlets, but when I opened the package of chicken, it had a weird smell and felt really slimey. Never fun, especially when you don’t have a backup protein. Luckily, we have Cafe Rakka, a great Middle Eastern take out restaurant, down the block. I ran over there and picked up chicken kebobs, falafel, hummus and moussaka to go with the wheat-berry salad.  The meal was saved and clean up was easy. Win win.

Feta Wheat-Berry Salad

1 cup wheat, spelt, or rye berries (available at natural foods stores)

1/2 cup diced feta (about 2 ounces)

1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion

1/2 cup julienne strips of seedless cucumber

5 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup julienne strips of drained bottled roasted red pepper

1/4 cup mixed minced fresh herbs such as parsley, mint, and dill plus herb sprigs for garnish

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste

1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar

1 tablespoon chopped pitted brine-cured black olives

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 garlic clove, minced

Dried hot red pepper flakes to taste


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