Cranberry-Citrus Wheatberry Salad

by Jen on June 4, 2012

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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