As a child, my mom would make wheat berry as a stew with tomato sauce. That’s pretty much the only way I remember eating it as a kid. Then I kind of forgot about it, and only started eating wheat berries again about 1 year and a half ago. I still make it the way my mom does, but this time I wanted to make it into a salad with these beautiful vegetables from my local market.
Just make sure you keep the purple beets separate from the rest so it doesn’t turn the rest of the salad purple. The vinaigrette is quite thick because of the figs and the balsamic reduction. If you have never made a balsamic reduction before, it is very easy to make. It is just reducing it until it has become a syrup. I tend to always have it in my pantry, since I like to drizzle it over salads. It is a very wintry kind of salad and it is great for the holidays as the colors really pop and you can make it in advance.
For the salad:
400gr wheat berry
4 golden beets (3 roasted, 1 raw)
2 purple beets (1 roasted, 1 raw)
1 yellow carrot, sliced
1 purple carrot, sliced
150gr of gorgonzola, crumbled
6 sprigs of thyme
For the Fig Balsamic Vinaigrette:
2 shallots, chopped
4 dried figs, chopped
1/3 cup of balsamic reduction
½ cup of extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup of white vinegar
1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon of honey
¼ cup of water
Pepper to taste
Salt to taste
To make the salad:
Reserve 1 golden and 1 purple beet for later. Wrap the rest of the beets in aluminum foil and roast in the oven at 180C/350F for 2 hours, until they are tender. Allow to cool, then peel and slice them. You can roast the beets in advance.
Rinse the wheat berries under cold water and then boil for 1 hour. Drain and set aside. You can also cook the wheat berries a few days before.
In a medium pan, over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the carrots, thyme and sauté for a few minutes, until tender. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Peel the raw golden and purple beet that you reserved earlier. Slice them as thin as you can, then chop them into thin strips and then into really small cubes. Do them separately, so the colors don’t get stained. Set aside.
To make the vinaigrette:
First make the balsamic reduction, pour 250ml of balsamic vinegar into a pan. Reduce over medium-low heat until it has reduced to about 1/3 of a cup. Don’t let it get too thick though, as it will thicken as it cools down. You can make this in advance.
In a small pan, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the shallots and figs. Cook for about 3 minutes over medium heat. Add 1/3 of a cup of the balsamic reduction and cook for 30 seconds. Then pour it into a medium bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend. Taste if it needs more salt or pepper.
To assemble the salad, mix the vinaigrette with the wheat berry in a bowl. In another bowl, mix the roasted beets with a bit of olive oil and salt.
Serve the seasoned wheat berries on each plate. Then top with some of the crumbled gorgonzola, roasted beets and carrots. Finally add some of the pomegranate seeds and the raw chopped beets.
I do all of this separate only to show the different colors of the vegetables. Feel free to mix it all if you don’t have the time, but the purple beets will stain the whole salad.