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Wheat Berry Salad in a big bowl ready to be shared.
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Wheat Berry Salad with Roasted Beets

A hearty and texture rich salad, this Wheat Berry Salad with Roasted Beets, walnuts and goat cheese is dressed with a bright, citrusy dressing. Make ahead for ultimate ease, it's versatile enough for week day lunches, holiday gatherings, picnics, and/or potlucks.  This recipe is vegetarian, easily vegan and gluten free. *Sub cooked short grain brown rice for the wheat berries to make a gluten free salad. | This salad serves 6 as a main or 8-9 as a side.
Course Dinner, Lunch, Side
Cuisine American, Vegetarian
Keyword Wheat Berry Roasted Beet Salad, Wheat Berry Salad
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 6 Servings (as a main)
Calories 425kcal
Author Traci York | Vanilla And Bean

Ingredients

For the Salad:

  • 3 1/2 C (830g) Water
  • 1 C (210g) Wheat Berries hard red or white* (see note to make short grain brown rice for GF option)**
  • 1 C (100g) Walnuts
  • 2 C (365g) Roasted Beets peeled and diced - about 3 medium beets.
  • 4 C (105g) Spinach chopped into bite size pieces. If you have beet greens, use a mix of beet greens and spinach.
  • 4 oz (113g) Goat Cheese crumbled, I prefer goat cheese, but have also used feta (feta is pictured). Omit or try vegan feta to make this vegan/dairy free.
  • 6 oz (170g) Green Ripe Olives pitted - the buttery variety (not briny), drained and quartered, about one can
  • Fist Full of Flat Leaf Parsley chopped (optional)
  • 1 Orange Supreme and sliced for garnish (optional)

For the Dressing:

  • 1 tsp Orange Zest
  • 1/2 C (115g) Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice from about one large orange
  • 2 Tbs Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • 3 tsp Maple Syrup or honey
  • 1/4 tsp Fine Sea Salt

Instructions

For the Salad:

  • In a medium sauce-pot with a tight fitting lid, add the water, wheat berries and pinch of salt. Stir once, bring to a boil. Cover the pot with a lid, turn heat to med-low and simmer for about one hour.
    Start checking the berries at about 40 minutes to see if they are as soft as you prefer. If not, keep them cooking another 15-20 minutes. They should be chewy, but not tough or mushy when done.
    When the wheat berries are done, drain, rinse and drain again to cool them quickly, transfer into a large mixing bowl and refrigerate until ready to add the other other ingredients.
  • In the mean time, roast and peel the beets (they take about the same amount of time as the wheat berries to cook) prep all the veggies and make the dressing (see below).
  • Toast the walnuts in a 350F oven for about 10 minutes OR when roasting the beets, place the walnuts in the oven just as you start to preheat it for about 12-15 minutes - be sure to keep an eye on them as they go from toasty to burnt quick! Rough chop and set aside.

For the Dressing:

  • There's a lot of dressing here, but wheat berries really soak up the orangey goodness!
    In a jar or small bowl add the orange zest and juice, olive oil, mustard, syrup and salt. Shake or whisk ingredients until emulsified. Set aside.

To Assemble the Salad:

  • *Be sure to leave the beets out of the salad before tossing otherwise they turn everything pink! Lovely, yes, but for a more composed salad, layer them in.
    To the large mixing bowl with the cooled wheat berries, add the chopped greens, walnuts, olives and goat cheese (if the goat cheese is really soft as some are, hold it out and add it to the top of the salad after the salad is transferred to a serving dish - otherwise it tends to coat the veggies). If using Feta, it can be tossed right in. Hold out a few Tbs of dressing then pour the remaining dressing over the ingredients and toss.
  • Transfer half the salad to a serving bowl or platter and top with half the beets and goat cheese if you held that out as well. Transfer the rest of the salad to the serving platter/bowl and top with remaining beets and goat cheese. Sprinkle the salad with chopped parsley.
  • Just before serving, sprinkle the 2 Tbs of dressing you previously held out over the salad and garnish with sliced, supreme orange slices (optional).
  • Store in a lidded container for up to 4 days in the fridge.

Notes

*Wheat Berries: I've read soaking grains overnight make them easier to digest. I've not committed it to habit, but I've cooked wheat berries soaked and unsoaked. The cooking time only varies slightly. Be sure to start checking the wheat berries after about 40 minutes of cooking for texture. It's really up to taste as to how far you want to take them - chewier (less time) or softer (more time). 
**Make it Gluten Free by subbing 1 C short grain brown rice and 2 C water. Combine the brown rice and water in a stock pot and bring to a boil. Stir once, put the lid on and cook on low for about 30 minutes. Let rice sit uncovered for 5 minutes, stir again, then transfer to a large mixing bowl and chill in the fridge, stirring occassionally, until ready to use in the salad. The rice can be made one day ahead and chilled overnight.
MAKE AHEAD: Wheat berries and beets can be prepared up to one day in advance. Store lidded and in the refrigerator (separated) until ready to use in the salad. 
Use that bag of wheat berries in: 
Try this Summer Garbanzo Salad or Smoky White Bean, Kale and Wheat Berry Stew

Nutrition

Calories: 425kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 9mg | Sodium: 676mg | Potassium: 446mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 2287IU | Vitamin C: 30mg | Calcium: 121mg | Iron: 3mg