Wheat berries are a super nutritious whole grain that have a satisfying chew and nutty flavor and are surprisingly easy to prepare. They can be found prepackaged in health food sections and stores as well as with the bulk dry goods. Hard red winter wheat is healthier than soft varieties and has a better texture, so make sure you have the right kind when purchasing. No need to soak your wheat berries—it doesn't save you much time for all of the effort.
The whole grain makes a perfect base for a cold-weather salad, studded with tender roasted butternut squash, sweet fresh pear, peppery arugula, tangy goat cheese and crunchy walnuts. A simple dressing keeps the dish light and flavorful. The wheat berries and squash can be cooking up to a day ahead of time for a fast lunch.
- 1 cup hard red winter wheat berries
- 3 cups water
- Salt and pepper
- 12 ounces peeled and diced butternut squash
- 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup or honey
- 2 cups packed fresh arugula
- 1 large ripe pear, cored and thinly sliced
- 1 cup toasted walnuts halves
- 2 ounces crumbled goat cheese
Combine the wheat berries and water in a medium saucepan. Add a large pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 40 to 50 minutes, depending on how old your wheat berries are, or until tender but chewy. Start checking the wheat berries at 40 minutes for doneness and every 5 minutes after that.
Drain the wheat berries and let them cool to room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Toss the butternut squash with 2 teaspoons of oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake, tossing once, for 15 to 25 minutes, or until tender.
Once the wheat berries have cooled, make the dressing. Combine 2 tablespoons of oil, lemon juice, and maple syrup or honey in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper and whisk until combined.
In a large bowl, add the cooked wheat berries, butternut squash, dressing, arugula, pear, walnuts and goat cheese. Toss well and season with salt and pepper as needed.