Cherry Wheat Berry Super Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

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Over this busy summer weekend, everyone was delighted to have a big batch of my Cherry Wheat Berry Super Salad on hand for a picnic lunch down at the lake and leftovers to pair next day with our grilled steaks. Cherry season makes me want to do a happy dance and this year was no exception, especially because I scored both Bing and Rainer cherries on sale for a pittance!

Cherry Wheat Berry Super Salad

In addition to sweet cherries, this satisfying, savory-sweet salad features iron-rich spinach, satiating nuts and seeds, and whole-grain wheat berries.  Not to mention feta and balsamic vinaigrette for even more flavor. The ingredients all marry beautifully together – you won’t be cherry-picking the fruit out, you’ll be licking the bowl clean! Cherry Wheat Berry Super SaladI originally created this summery recipe for Litehouse Foods as a way to show off their delicious artisanal cheeses and dressings. Not only was Cherry Wheat Berry Super Salad a hit among my cheese mongering friends, my family also gave it the “red-stained” thumbs up (they were too busy eating to say YUM).bowl of cherries

That’s right, all our fingers were temporarily stained from slicing and pitting the cherries by hand! Even though it only took about 10 minutes to prep the 3 cups of cherries needed for this cherry recipe with a paring knife, I must remember to put an official cherry pitter on my wish list!

Sweet Cherry Wheat Berry Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette & Feta makes a beautiful and tasty summer-season salad or side dish.  Can be made ahead and perfect for meal prepping.

There is no other fruit in this recipe, despite the confusing name wheat “berries.” Wheat berries are actually the entire, edible part of the wheat grain before it gets processed into bran, germ and endosperm – I think I have that right. Anyhow, wheat berries are as “whole grain” as it comes when you’re talking about wheat. Wheat berries are incredibly healthy and packed with loads of nutrition including a good amount of dietary fiber, potassium and iron. Not to mention, healthy, complex carbohydrates to fuel your body and brain. The only caveat is that wheat berries are not gluten-free (obviously), if this is of concern to you – however, having gluten doesn’t make wheat berries unhealthy, quite the contraire.

Cherries are a super food and pack a wallop of vitamins, antioxidants and other nutrients in each tiny fruit – your body will be feeling anything but in the “pits.”  What else is going on in this salad? Slivered blanched almonds and pepita seeds add crunch along with healthy fats, vitamins and even more fiber. And, we all know how beneficial spinach greens are!  Feta cheese crumbles add a salty edge to the savory-sweet experience, but feel free to leave off or swap according to your cheese preferences.Cherry Wheat Berry Jar Salad

This summer salad is perfect as a light lunch or side dish to a grilled lean protein. It can be made ahead (perfect for meal prepping), can be kept chilled overnight (great for make ahead and leftovers) and also layers up well in a jar (ahhh, an eat-at-your-desk meal solution).

Have you been enjoying cherries this season? Ever seen cherries on a real cherry tree (I haven’t)?  Every tried wheat berries? Have any exciting summer plans for the remainder of the season? Oh, and I’m linking up with The Fit Foodie Mama today, check her out! Please share in the comments – XOXO, Jennifer

 

Cherry Wheat Berry Super Salad
Cherry Wheat Berry Super Salad
Print Recipe
Life is like a bowl of cherries . . . tossed with seeds, whole grains and greens! This easy summer salad recipe is perfect for picnic, pool party or potluck -- even meal prepping.
Servings Prep Time
6 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 minutes 15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 minutes 15 minutes
Cherry Wheat Berry Super Salad
Cherry Wheat Berry Super Salad
Print Recipe
Life is like a bowl of cherries . . . tossed with seeds, whole grains and greens! This easy summer salad recipe is perfect for picnic, pool party or potluck -- even meal prepping.
Servings Prep Time
6 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 minutes 15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 minutes 15 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Place wheat berries in medium pot and add water. Bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 t o18 minutes, or until water has been absorbed at wheat berries are tender but with an al dente bite.
  2. Dump cooked wheat berries on a rimmed baking sheet and cool in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Or, wheat berries may be prepped earlier and chilled until recipe assembly.
  3. In large bowl, add wheat berries, halved and pitted cherries, chopped onion, pepita seeds, blanched almonds, and spinach. Toss together until combined. Drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette and sprinkle on feta crumbles, gently stirring until evenly coated. Serve cold or at room temperature. *To layer a one-serving jar salad, pour 2 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette into bottom of large glass jar. On top of dressing, in following order, add ½ cup cooked wheat berries, 1 ½ tablespoons red onion, ½ cup cherries, ½ cup packed spinach leaves, 1 ½ tablespoon almonds, 1 ½ tablespoons pepitas, and about ¾ ounce feta cheese crumbles.
  4. In large bowl, add wheat berries, halved and pitted cherries, chopped onion, pepita seeds, blanched almonds, and spinach. Toss together until combined. Drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette and sprinkle on feta crumbles, gently stirring until evenly coated. Serve cold or at room temperature. *To layer a one-serving jar salad, pour 2 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette into bottom of large glass jar. On top of dressing, in following order, add ½ cup cooked wheat berries, 1 ½ tablespoons red onion, ½ cup cherries, ½ cup packed spinach leaves, 1 ½ tablespoon almonds, 1 ½ tablespoons pepitas, and about ¾ ounce feta cheese crumbles.
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8 thoughts on “Cherry Wheat Berry Super Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

    • Agree! the other day, someone told me to set a cherry on top of an empty glass (beer) bottle top ad then push the pit out into the bottle with a chopstick!

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