Whole Wheat Berries Salad

A wonderful addition to any summer meal, wheat berries salad is a healthy, filling, cheap and easy recipe. As a bonus, you can follow your creativity by adding more and/or different ingredients.

Among the rich variety of meal style salads in the Italian tradition, the wheat salad (together with farro) is one of my favorites. It is way more nutritious than the white rice salad or pasta salad – a must in every Italian summer recipe book; it keeps well for a day or two in the fridge, has a bite and crunchiness like no other. Wheat berries are rich in fiber, vitamin B, minerals, and antioxidants. Their high carbohydrate content is balanced by the fiber content. They are beneficial to the digestive system and give a sense of satiety. In a few words, they are the perfect addition to your recipe collection.

The wheat I use in this recipe is pelted, which means that the outer husk or hull has been removed, and in the process of doing so some of the bran is wasted. There is a bit of a loss of nutrients doing so, but the good side is that it is faster to cook and easier to digest. It still retains its nutty flavor and chewy texture. Of course, you can also use whole wheat for added nutritional value, just remember to adapt the cooking time.

Pelted wheat berries can be pre-soaked, if you prefer a softer texture. For me, the interesting part is exactly that, that specific chewy bite, so I do not soak them. If you use whole wheat berries, on the contrary, you must soak them at least overnight or longer.

Combining the berries with other summer stars like tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil, gives you a perfect, nutritious meal, that gets even better as all the flavors come together.


For 4 Servings

1 cup pelted wheat berries
3 cups water
½ teaspoon salt
EV olive oil
Black pepper

16 cherry tomatoes
16 cherry size mozzarellas
1 cup cooked chickpeas
1 ripe peach
A bunch of basil
3-4 green onions

Some mint leaves
The juice of one lemon
A tablespoon of balsamic vinegar


1. Put the water to boil with salt, rinse the wheat and add to the water.
Count approximately 45 minutes from the moment it starts to boil – or until soft to your liking. Make sure that there is always enough water to cover the berries. When cooked, drain and rinse with cold water, set aside.

2. In the meantime, cut all the other ingredients, including the herbs, put them together in a bowl, season with extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper.

3. Mix everything together in a big bowl. Squeeze half a lemon, depending on your taste. Add a dash of balsamic vinegar. Let it rest covered in the fridge for at least 3 hours.

A Few Notes:

  • I personally like to add also some canned, sustainably fished tuna, for extra proteins and flavor.
  • Vegetarian – can be prepared vegan by skipping the mozzarella cheese.

Elisabetta Ciardullo is the founder of Think Italian! Events. As Personal Chef she is an ambassador of the Italian cuisine and culture, bringing it into the private homes of Americans, as well as to many corporate clients in Los Angeles.