Asian Wheat Berry Salad

This Asian Wheat Berry Salad recipe is easy to make, features a vibrant rainbow of colors and textures, and is absolutely delicious!  A perfect make-ahead salad.

asian wheat berry salad recipe healthy vegetarian vegan

I know what you may be thinking.  “Wheat berries.  Ummm.  Boring.”  But I’m telling you what, it’s anything but boring – it is  downright delicious!  Really, you just need to try it.  Change the name if it makes it more appealing to you. Pretend it’s rice.  Heck, pretend it’s chocolate Whatever it takes to make you try it.  Because once you do, you will be very pleasantly surprised.  This Asian Wheat Berry Salad is so tasty, even my daughter at age two devoured it when I made it a few years ago for the first time.   Now if a picky toddler likes this salad, so you will you!

This is the third recipe now that I’ve experimented with using wheat berries.  The first one was my Mega Healthy Wheat Berry Salad and the second was my Mexican Wheat Berry Salad with Chipotles and Toasted Walnuts.   Both were so good that I wanted to experiment making a wheat berry salad with an Asian flair.

Wheat-Berry-Salad-Collage-2-web

That was a such a hit in our family that I next proceeded to make a Greek Wheat Berry Salad.

It was another big hit!

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Why we love this Asian Wheat Berry Salad:

  • It’s healthy.  Wheat berries are whole grains and are an excellent source of dietary fiber, B vitamins, and protein. This wheat berry salad is also packed with an array of nutrient-rich veggies.
  • A small serving of this salad leaves you feeling satisfied (ie, a great diet food if you’re trying to shed a few pounds).
  • It tastes awesome!  And that’s important, because no matter how healthy something is, if it doesn’t taste good forget it. This wheat berry salad is not only visually beautiful with a vibrant rainbow of colors and has a great interplay of textures, it’s also thoroughly delicious.

Here’s the proof of that last claim:  Several years ago when I developed this recipe I sat down with my first serving of it to have for lunch.  A minute later my then two year old daughter climbed up next to me, asked for a bite, and before I knew it she commandeered the entire bowl!

girl eating wheat berry salad

asian wheat berry salad recipe healthy vegetarian vegan

Asian Wheat Berry Salad Recipe

Let’s get started!

There are two basic kinds of wheat berries:  Hard and Soft.  You’ll need soft wheat berries for this recipe which can be a little more challenging to find.  Whereas I’ve been able to find hard wheat berries in the bulk sections of some large grocery stores, I’ve only found soft wheat berries at health food stores.  If you have a hard time finding them locally you can buy them online for a good price.  This particular brand is non-GMO, non-irradiated, is Certified Kosher Parve, and these wheat berries can be sprouted.

To prepare the wheat berries, let them soak overnight.  Then drain and rinse.  Bring 4 cups of water to boil in a small pot.  Add the salt and the wheat berries.  Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the wheat berries are soft but still have some “bite.”  The time will vary depending on the age of your wheat berries and whether you fermented them (see below) but plan on 20-30 minutes. Drain. Set aside and let cool a little.

NOTE:  I like to ferment my grains before cooking with them (more easily digested, the vitamins/minerals are more bio-available, and the phytic acid is neutralized). To ferment the wheat berries simply soak them in water (make sure they are completely submerged under water) at room temperature for 2-3 days until the water fizzes when you jiggle the bowl.  Then drain and rinse and proceed with cooking the wheat berries (they will cook faster having soaked this long).

Prep your veggies.  Cut/chop/slice/julienne them according to your preference.

wheat berries and vegetables

Next make the dressing.   You’ll need hoisin sauce for this.  You can find it in any Asian grocery store.  If not, you can buy it here online.

If you have time, for the absolute BEST flavor results we recommend making your own hoisin sauce.  Check out our recipe for authentic homemade Hoisin Sauce!

Combine all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl.

Place the cooked wheat berries in a large mixing bowl with all the veggies.  The wheat berries can still be warm, but not hot.

dressing with bowl of grains and vegetables

Pour that delicious dressing over it and stir to combine.

The longer it sits the better it will taste.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving or overnight.

This salad can be served cold but we enjoy it best served at room temperature.

combining dressing with grains and vegetables

Enjoy!

asian wheat berry salad recipe healthy vegetarian vegan

 

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wheat berry salad recipe Asian Chinese healthy vegetarian vegan hoisin sauce vegetables whole grain

 

First published on The Daring Gourmet January 5, 2015

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