Thursday, April 22, 2010

Wheat Berry Salad with Raisins and Pistachios

Occasionally, I have these revelations where I am amazed that I can put things together and make tasty, fresh, healthy meals that nourish my body and mind and soul. That might sound cheesy, but you have to understand that I did not grow up in a family that cooked from scratch regularly. And when you think about our gatherer and hunter ancestors, it's pretty incredible that I can combine goat cheese and cilantro and wheat berries in a dish and eat it for lunch.

Last summer, when I was working as a hospice chaplain, I didn't often have access to a refrigerator to store lunches so I made variations on a pasta salad. This would have been perfect for those days or for a picnic, hike, or canoe trip. The variations of texture and flavor, sweet raisins and honey mixed with bright cilantro and lemon, make this extremely satisfying. The fiber helps keep you full too.

Wheat Berry Salad with Raisins and Pistachios
source: Cooking Light April 2010
Yields 6 servings

1 cup uncooked wheat berries (hard red winter wheat)
3/4 tsp salt, divided
3 tbsp shelled pistachios
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp honey
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp fresh grated peeled ginger
1/2 cup golden raisins (I just used regular raisins)
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup (2 oz) crumbled goat cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees.
  2. Put wheat berries and 1/2 tsp of salt in a medium saucepan. Cover with water to two inches above berries. Bring to a boil, cover, and then reduce heat to low and simmer for one hour or until berries are tender. Drain.
  3. Place pistachios on a baking sheet. Bake for 8 minutes, stirring once. Let cool and then chop.
  4. Combine oil, juice, honey, coriander, ginger, and remaining 1/4 tsp salt in a large bowl and stir with a whisk. Add hot wheat berries and raisins, stirring to combine. Let stand until cooled to room temperature.
  5. Add nuts, green onions, and cilantro to wheat berry mixture. Transfer to serving bowl and sprinkle with goat cheese.