This Cherry Winter Wheat Berry Salad is amazing! Both fresh and dried cherries, tender red winter wheat berries, blue cheese, toasted sliced almonds, crisp celery, sautéed onions and thyme and diced leftover cooked chicken breast are tossed with a power mix of salad greens. A delicious, nutritious and wholesome salad. This salad will serve 4 to 6.
I love a beautiful salad.
I have a few rules when making a salad. It needs to be colorful, multidimensional in texture and with flavors that compliment each other. This salad has all that and then some.
And although cherries aren’t really in season, I happened to find some at my local grocery store. Standing there I envisioned a bright leafy salad with pops of red contrasting with whites and browns, with fresh herbs, and of course, with a simple classic vinaigrette.
This particular salad has a bit of prep work, however it’s SO totally worth it. Most of it can be done while cooking the winter wheat.
To Make This Cherry Winter Wheat Berry Salad You Will Need:
- apple cider vinaigrette
- cooked red winter wheat berries
- yellow onion
- fresh thyme
- dried cherries
- toasted sliced almonds
- blue cheese
- fresh cherries
- leftover cooked chicken breast
- power greens mix
In a small jar, measure and add 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Whisk this until salt is dissolved.
I learned this little trick and now I do this will all my homemade salad dressings.
Then add in 1 teaspoon maple syrup, 1 small clove garlic – grated on a microplane, 1/4 teaspoon dijon mustard, some freshly ground black pepper and 1/4 cup light olive oil.
Whisk until all ingredients are incorporated and set off to the side.
I used my rice cooker to make the red winter wheat berries. It’s so easy! I added 1 cup winter wheat berries along with 2-1/2 cups water to my rice cooker and hit the brown rice button and forgot about it. Once it was cooked, I removed it to a large platter to cool. If you don’t have a rice cooker, the package usually gives stove top directions.
While the winter wheat is cooking, I prep all the other ingredients.
Toast 1/3 cup sliced almonds in a dry skillet over medium to medium-low until golden. Stir often to avoid burning. Then transfer to a clean dish
After toasting the almonds, add 1 tablespoon butter to the same skillet with 1 medium diced yellow onion and a pinch of kosher salt. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onions are tender and getting golden around the edges. Add in 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves and cook 1 more minute. Remove off of the heat and let cool.
Next Pit and halve 1 heaping cup of fresh cherries.
This year I finally bought a cherry pitter. >insert a million !!!< It is SO much easier than using a wooden skewer or straw as I’ve done in the past. So. Worth. It. I’ll link the one I have down in the recipe printable.
Finally! Let’s make the salad. In a large mixing bowl, add in 1-1/2 to 2 cups cooked (and cooled) winter wheat berries. Once measured, you might have some leftover. I find a way to use them in another recipes. Then add the sautéed onions and thyme, 1/2 cup thinly sliced celery, the toasted sliced almonds, 1/3 cup dried cherries, 2 ounces crumbled blue cheese and 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley.
Give it all a quick toss.
Next, add in 1 (5 ounce) package power greens. This blend has baby kale, spinach, mizuna and chard.
Then add in roughly 1-1/2 to 2 cups chopped chicken breasts.
Toss to combine before turning it out onto a platter or in a serving bowl. Lastly top with pitted and halved cherries.
I personally think halved cherries look like hearts!
Drizzle a desired amount of the apple cider vinaigrette over top.
Perfect balance of sweet and tart, toasted nuttiness and funk (thank you, blue cheese). Fresh and earthy. And the texture in this salad is incredible.
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Cherry Winter Wheat Berry Salad
FOR THE APPLE CIDER VINAIGRETTE:
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- 1/2 to 1 clove garlic (small), grated
- 1/4 teaspoon dijon mustard
- black pepper, to taste
- 1/4 cup olive oil, extra light
FOR THE SALAD:
- 1-1/2 to 2 cups cooked winter wheat berries, doesn't need to be exact
- 1/3 cup almonds, sliced
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon thyme leaves, chopped
- 1/2 cup celery, sliced
- 1/3 cup dried cherries
- 2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
- 2 tablespoons parsley, minced
- 5 ounces power greens salad blend
TO PREPARE THE VINAIGRETTE:
- In a small jar, add the vinegar and salt. Whisk until dissolved. Then add in the maple syrup, garlic, dijon, pepper and oil. Whisk well until ingredients are thoroughly incorporated.
TO PREPARE THE SALAD:
- Rinse 1 cup red winter wheat berries under water until the water runs clear. Add the rinsed wheat berries plus 2-1/2 cups water into a rice cooker and cook on the brown rice setting. This takes about 30 to 40 minutes. Transfer and spread out onto a large plate to cool.
- Meanwhile, prep the remaining ingredients.
- Toast almonds in a dry skillet over medium-low until fragrant and golden. Transfer to a clean dish to cool.
- In the same skillet, add butter and onions with a small pinch of salt. Cook over medium to medium-low for 8 to 10 mintues or until the edges start to turn light golden brown. Add in thyme and cook 1 minute. Remove off of the heat and let cool.
- In a large mixing bowl add the (cooled) wheat berries, almonds and sauteed onions and thyme. Add in the sliced celery, dried cherries, blue cheese and parsley. Toss to combine.
- Add in the power greens and chicken. Toss once more before transferrign to a large serving bowl or platter.
- Top with pitted and halved cherries and drizzle with desired amount of dressing.
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