Cranberry-Citrus Wheatberry Salad

by Jen on June 4, 2012

Cranberry Citrus Wheatberry Salad. Gluten free salad that is so delicious and lasts 5 days in the fridge!

What are wheatberries (or wheat berries) you ask?  I like to think of them as the steel-cut oat of the wheat world.  Like steel-cut oats, wheat berries are less processed and have a high nutrient content.  They also have a bit of a crunchy texture.

A few months ago, we were at the mall with the kids and ended up having to eat lunch there.  I personally don’t like eating at the mall food court.  Usually, the only healthy choice is Subway.  I used to eat Subway all the time, so I’m a little sick of it.  While the rest of my family ate their Subs, I wandered the mall in search of something healthy but different.  I came across this little cafe tucked in the corner of the mall.  They had an array of salads to choose from, but the one that stuck out to me was the Wild Rice Salad.

It contained wild rice (obviously), but it also had some sweetness to it with the addition of dried cranberries and maple syrup, and a bit of crunch from some chopped celery.  It was absolutely delicious.  Since I don’t go to the mall very often (dragging 3 boys around a mall just isn’t my idea of fun), I knew I had to try and replicate this salad at home.

I already had some wild rice/brown rice mix on hand, but I also had some wheatberries that I hadn’t tried yet.  This was the perfect opportunity.  For the dressing, I wanted a light and refreshing taste, so I decided to add some citrus juice and zest.  Perfect.



I absolutely love this salad.  Not only is it extremely delicious and refreshing, but it’s also very healthy.  Wheatberries are high in fiber, low in calories, and packed with vitamins and minerals.  When you add in the digestive function of cranberries and the vitamin C properties of the orange juice and celery, you’ve got yourself one powerhouse of a salad.


Cranberry-Citrus Wheatberry Salad


Prep Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: 10

Serving Size: 1/2 cup




    For the salad:
  • 1 cup wheatberries
  • 1 cup wild rice (can substitute brown rice)
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sliced celery
  • 1/3 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds
  • For the dressing:
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • zest of 1 orange
  • juice of 2 oranges
  • 2 Tbsp raspberry vinegar (could substitute balsamic vinegar)
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil


  1. In a large pot, bring 5 cups of water to a boil. Add the wheatberries. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, covered, for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, add the wild rice to the same pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, partially covered, for an additional 35 minutes. Remove from heat and drain (the wheatberries and rice will have absorbed most of the water).
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the cooked wheatberries, rice, and dried cranberries. Let cool.
  3. While salad is cooling, combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together. Set aside.
  4. Add the celery and parsley to the cooled wheatberry mixture. Toss to combine.
  5. Pour the dressing over top and toss together. Sprinkle with almonds and serve.

I served this salad at my son’s birthday party and everyone loved it.  People were asking what the “crunchy grain” was in the salad, and I was happy to introduce them to wheatberries.  I found these wheatberries at my local organic market, but you might be able to find them in the bulk section of your grocery store.  They also go by the name of spelt berries.

It’s fun to try different grains.  You could make this salad with other grains such as barley or millet.  Or, if all you have is rice in your pantry, then just use rice.  Either way, I know you’re going to love this salad.  It makes quite a large serving, so it’s perfect for summer BBQ’s and parties.


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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mary June 4, 2012 at 8:18 am

This sounds like something I really need to add to my list of things to try. I also love the idea of trying new healthy things. I’ve never tried wheat berries before.
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2 Jen June 4, 2012 at 8:21 am

They are so yummy. I love that they are a little bit crunchy, they add great texture to salads!


3 Jen June 4, 2012 at 10:38 am

Looks great Jen! I love healthy salads like this and the dressing sounds delish! I’ll have to give this a shot one day this week.


4 Jen June 4, 2012 at 10:55 am

I love the citrus flavor of the dressing…so refreshing and light!


5 Heidi @ Food Doodles June 5, 2012 at 5:52 pm

Mmmm! I love wheat berries! It’s been way too long since I cooked wheat berries for a salad like this! Thank you for the reminder, I need to do it again soon. The texture of them is so good – so chewy! Your dressing sounds so good too, it sounds like the perfect combo of sweet and tart.


6 Talia @ Bite Size Wellness July 2, 2012 at 2:06 pm

I have really been wanting to try wheatberries!
Thanks for the summery recipe.
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7 Jen July 2, 2012 at 3:59 pm

You’re welcome. They are really good…I love that they have a little bit of crunch to them 🙂


8 Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious July 17, 2012 at 8:50 am

I can’t believe I’ve never had wheatberries before! I definitely need to give them a try!
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9 Jen July 17, 2012 at 1:44 pm

They are yummy, you should definitely give them a try!


10 Marie August 17, 2012 at 3:32 pm

this dressing is crazy good! I’ve done it on baby kale, mango & white bean salads, farro salads, etc. YUM. Definitely a keeper – thanks for sharing!!


11 Jen August 18, 2012 at 5:34 pm

You’re welcome! I love dressings that can be used for many different things 🙂 And I love the citrus flavor of this one.


12 Paullett August 3, 2013 at 6:17 pm

I added some dried blueberries and used some of my homemade very raspberry vinegar with citrus zest in it. Very nice. Next time I’ll add some barley too. Nice recipe to jump off from.


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