Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Cranberry Orange Wheat-berry Salad

I had intended to post the recipe for this salad later next week, but after I posted it on Instagram and Facebook, the flood of recipe requests was overwhelming and I decided to share now so you could all try it! It's a really easy recipe. The only thing that needs to cook is the wheat. Everything else is just assembling and letting it sit in your fridge (if you can refrain from eating it) and letting the flavors soak each other up. 

Texture. This salad has tons of it. The wheat berries are like crisp little things that almost pop, but they are also kind of soft, almost like pasta, and then there's the super sweet-tart, chewy cranberries and the crunchy pepitas and green onions. If you like quinoa salads, then you'll definitely like this. It's like quinoa on crack. It's also heartier than quinoa. I never feel full after I have quinoa salad, but I definitely feel full after this. I hope you guys like it, and tell me if you add any fun new ingredients to it so I can try your variations!

You'll need:
1 1/2 cups hulled wheat berries (I use red)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
4-5 thinly sliced green onions, using the white and light green parts only
handful of chopped cilantro

All of the ingredients can be adjusted to your taste preferences.

For the dressing:
About 1/4 cup of undiluted orange juice concentrate (I'll let you in on a secret: I didn't have any in my freezer so I substituted 2 organic orange popsicles made with fruit juice instead. It's basically orange juice concentrate)
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 teaspoon of dried, powdered ginger (make sure there are no clumps)
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon of garlic paste, or 1-2 cloves minced garlic

In a saucepan, cover the wheat berries with about 1/2 inch of water. Cook for 45 minutes or until berries are just tender. Add more water as needed.

Meanwhile, assemble the dressing. You can add the green onions, cranberries, and pepitas to the dressing now so the flavors can start to meld.

Once the wheat is cooked, drain completely and toss in the dressing, cranberries, pepitas, and green onions. Allow to cool completely before adding the feta cheese and the chopped cilantro otherwise the cheese will melt and the cilantro will wilt. Let it sit in the fridge for at least a couple hours for the best flavor. You want the sweet dressing to really soak into the wheat! Serve with your favorite meat dish, or have it as a light, sweet lunch!

Variations: Add more veggies like cucumber, spinach, or tomato, or more fruit like sliced strawberries! It's a great dish to serve to a large group since it can (and should) be made hours ahead of time.

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