This Vegetarian Spring Wheat Berry Salad is bursting with fresh spring produce which is nestled between chewy high-fiber wheat berries and tossed in a chive blossom vinaigrette.
Sure, sharing how to make homemade chive blossom vinegar ended up being a huge success (yay!). However, I honestly originally brought it up because I have this amazing grain salad recipe (see below!) that uses chive blossom vinegar that I really really wanted to share with you all and knew it would be easier for you to make it if you had chive blossom vinegar on hand. So now that I’ve given you some time to start on your flavored vinegar mixture, let’s talk about this salad!
This salad is essentially spring in a bowl. I wandered over to the farmers market last Saturday and bought whatever looked tempting. Tiny strawberries, dirty ramps, purple carrots and basil, and little microgreens. I then came home and after washing everything, threw it in a bowl with a hearty helping of wheat berries and chive blossom dressing. And then I ate this salad for lunch for the next three day. It was so simple yet so satisfying and delicious.
I have a long and complicated relationship with wheat berries. We first “met” in high school (maybe it was even middle school) when my stepfather was having digestive issues and the doctor recommended he eat an array of high fiber foods. Back then our dinners mostly consisted of frozen vegetables, iceburg salads that came out of those plastic bags and were drenched in ranch dressing, and some sort of frozen main or pasta. The one ‘adventurous’ food I remember us eating was wheat berries. My mother would make a big batch of wheat berry salad just to help my stepdad get his daily fiber in. She quietly served it to us like it was just another salad (no announcement or explanation) and thus, we treated it just like another salad. I really didn’t even realize it wasn’t a normal dish to find on a Midwestern table until my friends started asking reluctant questions when they’d stay for dinner (“what is thaaaaat?”).
I almost forgot about wheat berries after heading to college until I found a stash of them in the pantry my senior year. I asked my roommate if they were hers and if I could make a salad out of them and she laughed. She then went on to explain to me that she was “backed up” for an entire week and had turned to only eating mouthfuls of cooked wheat berries in an attempt to relieve the issue. The story had a happy ending in the form of her finally relieving herself (although she didn’t make it to a bathroom, unfortunately). She then told me I was welcome to use her wheat berries as she was a little burnt out on them.
And finally, my present self loves the things. They are chewy, hearty, and make the perfect textured grain salads. Wyatt hates them which makes it fairly difficult for me to make very often since I have a hard time to eating them all before they go bad. But when I do whip up a batch of the little berries, I savor every bite knowing it’s a special treat that only I will be enjoying on a rare occasion.
Vegetarian Spring Wheat Berry Salad recipe below:
- 1 cup wheatberries , rinsed
- 1 Tbsp + 3 Tbsp olive oil , divided
- One bunch of ramps , leaves removed for other use and chopped into 1 inch pieces
- half bunch of asparagus , trimmed and chopped into 1 inch pieces
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 carrots , diced
- 1 bell pepper , sliced
- 1/2 cup strawberries , chopped
- 2 celery stalks , chopped
- 1 Tbsp chive blossom vinegar (or champagne vinegar works as well)
- Salt / Pepper , to taste
- 1 Tbsp basil , chopped
- microgreens , scallions, or edible flowers, for garnish
For the wheat berries: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add in wheat berries, reduce heat, cover, and let gently simmer for one hour. Drain and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
Warm 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add ramps and asparagus and saute for 5 to 7 minutes or until softened. Add garlic and saute for an additional 30 seconds. Remove from heat and add wheat berries. Also add in carrots, bell peppers, stawberries, and celery. Use a wooden spoon to mix until combined.
For the chive blossom vinaigrette: Whisk together the remaining olive oil, chive blossom vinegar, and basil. Season with salt and pepper. Pour over salad and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least thirty minutes before serving.