If you’re looking for a delicious way to give your favorite salad a fiber boost, try tossing in some hearty whole grains. We turned to wheat berries for today’s spinach salad.
Wheat berries are unprocessed wheat kernels, which makes them a true whole grain. The wheat flour in your pantry is made from milled, ground wheat berries.
Because wheat berries haven’t been processed, they contain all the nutrients and fiber that whole grains have to offer. In addition to being an excellent source of fiber, wheat berries are rich in protein and iron.
They’re similar in appearance to brown rice and have a chewy bite and subtle nutty flavor. You can add them to soups and chili for texture or use them as you would use rice in pilafs or stir-fries.
Wheat berries are cooked just like rice. Cover with plenty of water (about 3½ cups for each cup of wheat berries) and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about an hour, or until tender. For a quicker cooking time, soak the berries overnight. One cup of uncooked wheat berries yields about 2½ cups cooked.
Because of their sturdy texture, wheat berries freeze well. To freeze, drain them well after cooking and cool completely. Transfer to an airtight, freezer-safe container and freeze up to one month.
Look for wheat berries at specialty markets or in the natural food or international food section of your grocery store. If you have trouble finding wheat berries for today’s recipe, farro is an excellent substitute.
Darlene Zimmerman is a registered dietitian in Henry Ford Hospital’s Heart & Vascular
Institute. For questions about today’s recipe, call 313-972-1920.
Spinach, Strawberry, and Wheat Berry Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing
Serves: 8 / Prep time: 30 minutes / Total time: 30 minutes
⅓ cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt
¼ cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons golden balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon skim milk
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
½ teaspoon ground dry mustard
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup wheat berries or farro
5 cups fresh baby spinach
2 cups sliced strawberries
¼ cup thinly sliced red onion
In a small bowl, whisk together yogurt, mayonnaise, sugar, vinegar, milk, poppy seeds, dry mustard and salt. Refrigerate until ready to use. Prepare wheat berries according to package directions, omitting salt if called for. Cool cooked wheat berries under cold water and drain well, patting dry with paper towel. In a large bowl, toss spinach, strawberries, onion and wheat berries. Add dressing and gently toss to combine. Each serving yields about 1 cup.
Created by Darlene Zimmerman, MS, RD for Heart Smart and tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.
142 calories (19% from fat), 3 grams fat (0 gram sat. fat, 0 grams trans fat), 27 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams protein, 169 mg sodium, 2 mg cholesterol, 55 mg calcium, 5 grams fiber. Food exchanges: 1 starch, 2 vegetable, ½ fat.
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