Asparagus salad with Wheat Berries, Raisins and Pickled Onions

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Yes, you are at the right place.  This is still Keep It Sweet Desserts and I still prioritize baking over any savory production in the kitchen, but sometimes I need to get a little creative with mealtime.

Asparagus salad with Wheat Berries, Raisins and Pickled Onions

In case you are wondering, I’m still working off the cookie weight (as I like to call it) from December.  Turns out cookies for lunch, snack and dinner for one month straight without even looking at the gym just didn’t work out so well.  Don’t worry, I didn’t completely give up cookies.  That is unrealistic for so many reasons, but I do try to limit myself to a few a week.  That combined with lots and lots of green vegetables has me finally feeling just a little bit better about myself.  Four months later.  It’s about time!

So when I got a package from California Raisins and OXO that challenged me to make a fantastic appetizer, I decided to make something healthy that would be a great summer appetizer for entertaining or even double as an entrée for a light dinner.  I didn’t realize that a quarter cup of California Raisins is considered a single serving of fruit, what an easy way to get some nutrients into your meal!

Asparagus salad with Wheat Berries, Raisins and Pickled Onions

This challenge definitely took me out of my element! I cook on a regular basis, but never with the expectation of sharing a recipe with others.  Honestly, most of our dinners are pretty repetitive because I get too lazy to think of new dishes to make.  Really, it was good for me to be pushed to make something other than roasted veggies, kale chips, or vegetarian lasagna.

My goal, and what I think I achieved, with this dish, was to get a nice balance of sweet, savory and a touch acidic along with a variety of textures.  Crunchy asparagus, chewy wheat berries, creamy feta cheese, you get the picture.

Asparagus salad with Wheat Berries, Raisins and Pickled Onions


Asparagus Salad with Wheat Berries, California Raisins and Pickled Onions

Active kitchen time (including pickled onions and wheat berries): 15 minutes

Total prep time (including pickled onions and wheat berries): 1 hour 15 minutes

Makes ~7  1/2 cups; Serves four as appetizer or serves two as a main course

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups asparagus cut into 1/2 inch pieces blanched and lightly tossed with salt and pepper (do not overcook, you want the asparagus to be nice and crisp)
1 cup cooked wheat berries (see below for details)
1/2 cup pickled onions (see below for details)
1/3 cup California Raisins
2 ounces good quality feta cheese

Directions:

Cut prepared pickled onion slices in half or quarters (half if you used a small onion, quarters if you used a large onion)
Place blanched asparagus pieces, wheat berries, pickled onions, raisins and feta in a large bowl; lightly toss
Serve immediately to eat warm or store in fridge and eat cool or at room temperature; best eaten same day

Pickled Onions

Prep time: 5 minutes, cook time: 1 hour+

Makes ~1/2 cup pickled onions; can be made up to two weeks in advance

Ingredients:

1 cup water
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 tablespoon table salt
1 small red onion or 1/2 large red onion, thinly sliced

Directions:

Whisk together water, vinegar sugar and salt until sugar is dissolved
Place onion in a sealable jar; pour vinegar mixture over onions and cover for one hour
Can prepare onions up to 2 weeks in advance if sealed jar is stored in refrigerator

Source: Bon Appetit

Wheat Berries

Makes ~1 cup cooked wheat berries; can be made up to two days in advance

Ingredients:

1/2 cup (uncooked) wheat berries, rinsed and drained
2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Bring wheat berries, water and salt to boil in a medium-sized heavy duty saucepan
Once boiling, reduce to a simmer over low heat and cover for one hour; stir occasionally
Once done, wheat berries should have absorbed most of the water; remove from heat and store covered in refrigerator up to two days before using

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13 Responses to “Asparagus salad with Wheat Berries, Raisins and Pickled Onions”

  1. Erin @ The Spiffy Cookie May 13, 2013 at 4:54 pm #

    I don’t think I’ve ever had wheat berries, but it certainly looks tasty!

  2. Sues May 13, 2013 at 9:38 pm #

    What a marvelous looking salad!! I love wheat berries :)

  3. Joanne May 14, 2013 at 6:43 am #

    this is my kind of salad!! I love all the flavors and texture in here…a bit of everything in every bite!

  4. Tracey May 14, 2013 at 8:25 am #

    This is such a gorgeous salad, I love colorful food! Wheat berries and asparagus are two of my faves :)

  5. Audra | The Baker Chick May 14, 2013 at 11:39 am #

    This sounds delicious and healthy Lauren- I’d love it for lunch!

  6. Rachel May 14, 2013 at 12:18 pm #

    this looks gorgeous! I’ve never had wheat berries, but it’s on my list to try. Can never, ever go wrong with feta!!

    • Keep It Sweet May 18, 2013 at 8:17 am #

      They are so good! And, super easy to cook. I got them at the Whole Foods bulk bin section.

  7. Debra May 14, 2013 at 3:40 pm #

    This makes my mouth water and my tummy rumble! ;)

  8. Colleen (Souffle Bombay) May 15, 2013 at 11:29 am #

    I have never had Wheat Berries – the salad looks Delicious! I really enjoy asparagus and I always like a sweet something in a good salad – raisins fit the bill! Hope to meet you at EWR!

    • Keep It Sweet May 18, 2013 at 8:16 am #

      Thanks, Colleen! I hope I get to meet you too!!

  9. Jeanette May 17, 2013 at 10:43 am #

    Love the textures going on in this salad!

  10. Nutmeg Nanny May 17, 2013 at 12:29 pm #

    What a wonderful salad of flavors :) I love asparagus!

  11. Shelby | Diabetic Foodie May 18, 2013 at 2:30 pm #

    You had me at pickled onions :) Look forward to meeting you in Philly!