Saturday, March 5, 2016

Wheat Berry Salad with Lemon-Cumin Grilled Chicken

"Ancient Grains", the theme for this week at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC). I know of whole grains but Ancient Grains, hmmm what is that? Upon finding out more info from the various websites, I go "oohhh!, now I got it!" If you are not sure what Ancient Grains are, you may read about it from here and here

I bought these organic wheat berries quite a while back for some bread rolls that I made. Since this week is all about ancient grains at IHCC, I googled for info and was pleased to see that it is on the list of ancient grains, here. And Ellie has just the recipe for it in one of her books.

Used the wheat berries to make a Wheat Berry Salad from Ellie Krieger's book "So Easy". This salad is so healthy and nutritious, packed with vitamins and fibres from the ingredients that makes this salad. The main star attraction is the Wheat Berry which is boiled till tender (about an hour), drain before use. Other ingredients are ; celery, parsley leaves (I use coriander leaves), scallions, dried cherries (I use dried cranberries), toasted walnuts, lemon juice, 

This Wheat Berry Salad is served with some slices of Lemon-Cumin Grilled Chicken.

Serve the wheat berry by placing some spinach leaves on each plate, mound some Wheat Berry Salad on the leaves and top with slices of Lemon-Cumin Grilled Chicken, with a slice of lemon to squeeze over just before eating. I did not have any spinach leaves, so I've harvested some baby lettuce leaves from my garden pot. 

The salad is chewy with very interesting crunchy bites from the celery and walnuts. And the cranberries added a tangy sweetness to it, which this salad needs. Overall, this salad is OK, but I'm not too crazy over it either. Instead of making the wheat berry the main character in the salad,  the next time I will just throw in a handful as a mix-in into a bowl of salad so that it mingles at the background with all the other ingredients! I think I would enjoy it better that way.  I did enjoy the Lemon-Cumin Grilled Chicken which is delicious! 

Wheat Berry Salad with Lemon-Cumin Grilled Chicken
(adapted from "So Easy", by Ellie Krieger)
Makes 4 servings
1 cup hard wheat berries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1/3 cup finely chopped parsley
1/3 cup tart dried cherries, chopped
1 small scallion (white and green parts, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, plus 4 lemon wedges for serving
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 cups lightly packed baby spinach leaves
1 recipe Lemon-Cumin Grilled Chicken Breast (recipe follows)

In a medium-size pot, combine the wheat berries and enough water to come 2 inches above the wheat berries. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, until tender, about 1 hour. Drain and let cool.
Meanwhile, toast the walnuts in a medium-size dry skillet over medium-high beat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine the wheat berries, toasted walnuts, celery, parsley, dried cherries, scallions, olive oil, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. This salad will keep up to 5 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

To serve, place 1 cup of spinach leaves on each plate or in to-go containers. Mound 3/4 cup of the wheat berry salad on top of each serving and top that with slices of the Lemon-Cumin Grilled 
Chicken. Place a lemon wedge on the side of each serving. Right before eating, squeeze the lemon wedges on top.

Lemon-Cumin Grilled Chicken
1-1/4 pounds skinless boneless chicken breasts
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil
Cooking spray
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Put the chicken between 2 pieces of plastic wrap and pound it slightly with a mallet or rolling pin so it is an even thickness of about 1/2 inch.
In a small bowl, combine the cumin, salt, and pepper. Rub the chicken breasts on both sides with olive oil and then rub the spice mixture on both sides.
Spray a grill or nonstick grill pan with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. Grill the chicken until grill marks have formed and the chicken is cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove from the heat, let rest for 5 minutes, then slice into 1/2-inch-thick slices and drizzle with the lemon juice. The chicken will keep for up to 3 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week,
Ancient Grains


  1. Joyce, what an interesting salad! Those wheatberries look like barley. Perhaps they are better in tong sui :D

  2. Joyce, I must say that these wheat berries definitely look at a glance like barley. Are they same in texture in comparison to barley? I've never seen wheat berries before. Except maybe in organic stores here perhaps. Your salad looks interesting. I know what you mean when it is ok and yet, the chicken pumps the salad up a level :)

  3. Hi Joyce,
    I'm like Phong Hong, mistaken the wheat berries as barley at first glance.
    Although I prefer minimal cooking involved for salads, this bowl of Wheat Berry Salad with Lemon-Cumin Grilled Chicken looks so appetising & yummy :)

  4. Wheat berry looks so interesting! Are they easy to buy over here?

  5. I love the chewiness of wheat berries but it takes some getting used to when the salad it primarily made up of them. ;-) It looks really good with the cranberries and walnuts.

    Thanks for sharing it at Souper Sundays too! ;-)

  6. I am envious of your garden patch. Baby lettuce provides the perfect layer for the salad. A little bit of quinoa may lighten the hearty chewy texture of wheat berries.

  7. I think those ancient grains take some getting used to, for sure:) The salad looks super pretty and I've eyed this recipe many times. I think you have a good idea to use a base of rice and throw in a handful of wheat berries. It is a good way to warm up those taste buds!

  8. Looks like a great meal. I don't think I have ever had wheat berry before. Something else to add to the try list.

  9. Glad to know this is good. I have it marked in the cookbook. Looks great.

  10. Correction - I have made this salad and it was good. I used pecans, mandarin oranges, and cranberries.