I really like free things. I’m the girl who tries multiple flavors at the frozen yogurt place, has a collection of toothpicks in hand at a farmers market and shoves all toiletries in my bag when leaving a hotel. Whoever said 'there is no such thing as a free lunch', has never been to Costco/Sam's Club on the weekend. When POM Wonderful sent me a box of 100% POM juice, I felt all blog efforts had paid off. I’ve seen the nubby bottles in the produce section, but breeze right past, as juice doesn’t tickle my fancy. I will start by saying it makes a refreshing slushy after a short stint in the freezer. This grain salad however, packed with bold flavors, is a perfect way to take advantage of the end of cherry season. Wheat berries are easily found at Whole Foods or a local health food store. They look like plump brown rice, but have a nuttier flavor.
The recipe below makes a great vegetarian side dish, and Hugh mentioned he thought it would be great along side of a burger. I made this for a dinner party at my parent’s house and added some crispy, salty bacon into the final toss. I hate to admit this, seeing as bacon doesn’t have a seat in the Sprouted Kitchen, but it was a layer of flavor that put this salad over the edge. The recipe below does not include the pound of crispy bacon I added in for my parent’s party, but if you partake in eating little piggies, just make sure it’s extra crispy. Eish, can't believe I suggested that.
WHEATBERRY SALAD WITH ARUGULA, CHERRIES AND POM DRESSING // Serves 4
1 Cup Wheat Berries
3 Cups Arugula
2 Cups Bing Cherries, pitted and cut in half
1 tsp Kosher Salt
Zest of one Lemon
POM DRESSING // This will look like a lot of dressing and seasoning, but the wheat berries are very dense and soak up a lot of the liquid from the dressing while in the fridge. Use less if you prefer, but it is what gives the wheat berries any flavor.
1 Shallot, roughly chopped
Big Handful of Fresh Fennel Fronds or Dill, Chopped
3/4 Cup Soft Goat Cheese
1/3 Cup POM, 100% Pomegranate Juice
2 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ tsp. Cumin
1/2 tsp. Kosher Salt
2 tsp. Fresh Ground Pepper
Rinse the wheat berries in a strainer. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil, add the wheat berries. Boil for about 45 minutes or until tender and split open a bit, add water if they dry out before cooking. Put them in a large mixing bowl.
While the wheat berries are cooking, make your dressing. In a processor or blender, add the shallot, fennel frond/dill, POM, cumin and pepper. Blend to combine. Add the goat cheese and olive oil and give another whirl.
While the wheat berries are still warm add the dressing and mix. Let it cool for a few minutes. Add the arugula and cherries (and bacon if you please) and mix again. At this point, add the lemon zest and taste for salt and pepper. Don't be shy with the seasoning.
~You can either serve at room temp, or chill in the fridge to let the flavors saturate and serve it as a cold side salad.