Wheat Berry Salad with Dried Fruits and Almonds

Here’s a great winter salad that satisfies our craving for hearty and satisfying dishes in the colder months, but is also light and healthy.

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 cups wheat berries
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons honey
1 cup dried fruit, finely diced (figs and raisins work well together, but feel free to use your favorite combination of apricots, dates, figs, golden raisins, cranberries, etc.)
1 1/2 cups red onion, finely diced
2 cups celery, finely diced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Zest from 2 lemons (about 1 tablespoon lemon zest)
1/2 cup almonds, chopped
1/3 cup fresh parsley or mint, or mixture of both, finely chopped
1 teaspoon Kosher salt (or other large flake salt)
Freshly-ground black pepper, to taste

METHOD:

Place wheat berries in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, then reduce the heat to low and cover the pot partially with a lid. Simmer for 45 minutes, or until the wheat berries are soft but still chewy. When done, drain and set aside.

In a small sauce pan, whisk together rice vinegar, orange juice, and honey. Bring mixture to a boil and add dried fruit. Remove from heat, cover, and let the fruit marinate in the juice and vinegar mixture.

Place diced onions and celery in a large bowl. Add drained wheat berries, olive oil and lemon zest and toss. Add vinegar and juice mixture with dried fruits and mix. Add the almonds, chopped parsley and/or mint, salt and pepper.

Allow the salad stand at room temperature for at least one hour before serving. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

The salad can be refrigerated for up to three days.

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