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Wheat Berry Salad with Mango

July 31, 2012

Approximately twelve years ago, I was fortunate to be able to travel to Ecuador. On that trip I discovered quinoa, a grain that when I came home was nowhere to be found.  I learned so much about quinoa and it’s importance in the South American diet. This ancient grain is one of their key sources of protein.  I fit this grain into my menu whenever possible (for the last twelve years!) because I love the idea of having a high protein base for a side that can also be served as an entrée.

Summer of 2012….enter wheat berries!  Here is another cold salad alternative for the HOT summer that just won’t end!  I am happy to report that quinoa has taken a back seat to my new favorite high protein grain. Wheat berries have a chewy bite and subtle nutty, earthy flavor. You can add cooked wheat berries to soups or even chili. Serve hot as a side dish or cold as a salad. 1 cup of wheat berries has approximately 300 calories and is packed with fiber, protein and iron. The tasty sprouts are loaded with vitamin E, a cell protecting antioxidant, and magnesium, which promotes healthy bones and muscles. Paired with fruit or vegetables, this is an excellent choice for a vegetarian meal.

Wheat Berry Salad

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1  1/2 cups wheat berries

salt and pepper

1 orange cut into segments, plus 2 tablespoons juice

2 just-ripe mangoes cut into 1/2 inch dice

1 cup fresh chopped cilantro

1/2 cup finely chopped red onion

1 jalapeno, seeded, minced (optional)

In a small bowl whisk oil, lime and orange juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.  Meanwhile,  place wheat berries in a medium saucepan with water covering the berries by 3 inches. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until wheat berries are tender but still chewy. Should take about 45 minutes. Drain and transfer berries to a baking sheet. Spread out in a single layer and let cool.  In a large bowl combine the wheat berries,  mangoes and remaining ingredients.  Toss gently to combine. Season with salt and pepper and more lime juice if desired.

This salad works well with grilled pork tenderloin or salmon.

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