the taste space

Wheat Berry Salad with Kohlrabi, Apple & Sunflower Seeds

Posted in Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian), Salads by janet @ the taste space on April 11, 2011

In a few months, I will be moving from my tiny (but cozy! I love it! I will miss it. Anyone want to rent it?) apartment to a house. Not any house, though. A house with a garden: which I plan on filling with vegetables.

While I had a mini container garden on my balcony last year, there will be a lot more space in the new place. Thus, the question is what should we be planting as beginner gardeners for our first garden?

My first list was to pick the things I like to eat: tomatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, spinach, broccoli, bok choy, cilantro, garlic, and lots of herbs. I have visions of lots of kale, swiss chard and snow peas. However, after reading a bit more, I definitely had to revisit these plans.  Butternut squash need a lot of room. Broccoli and cabbage scream “eat me!” by attracting a lot of bugs. Bok choy is hard to grow. Cilantro likes to bolt when the weather gets hot. Garlic needed to be planted in the fall. Hmmpht, this is not as easy as I was hoping.

In an effort to find easy plants to grow that we will want to eat, we’ve been investigating new vegetables. Eat them now to see if we want to grow them later.

The first vegetable we were intrigued by was kohlrabi, one of the oddest looking vegetables (?alien baby in vegetable form). Truth be told, I had never even heard of kohlrabi until Dawn started posting a bunch of recipes as she got them through her CSA. I had not seen them in the grocery stores, either. Until I started to look, of course. Bestwin for the win, sells 4 of them for $1.

Rob took a few and made a light, yet earthy Indian-Spiced Kohlrabi and Quinoa Salad and I used the last kohlrabi to make this delicious wheat berry salad, inspired by Enlightened Cooking. It has been a while since I’ve cooked up some wheat berries. Since wheat berries take an hour or so to cook, I was tempted to bring out quinoa instead for the salad. After seeing wheat berries appear in a few recent recipes, I reconsidered. It has been too long.. and I should be cleaning out my pantry, right? ;) It was the right decision, too: wheat berries were fabulous here.

Reminiscent of two of my favourite wheat berry salads, a bright citrus dressing pairs incredibly well with plump, nutty wheat berries. The salad is flavoured with a tart-sweet crisp apple, chopped sweet red pepper, dried cranberries as well as crunchy carrots and sunflower seeds. I added lots of cilantro and mixed in slivered baby spinach (pea shoots were great, too!) for more body. While it may seem counter-intuitive, a tip I’ve picked up for wheat berry salads is to dress it right before serving. Otherwise, the wheat berries sop up the dressing and it becomes dry when eating them as leftovers.

Oh yes, and the fresh kohlrabi. Hard to describe, but it tastes like broccoli and cabbage with the texture of an Asian pear in a broccoli stem form. Maybe that makes sense to some of you. The conclusion, though, is that I like it! This was a fabulous salad, kohlrabi and all. Hopefully it makes it into our new garden.

Have any suggestions for planting a garden in Toronto? I am all ears! :)

Other kohlrabi recipes that have interested me:

Kale and Kohlrabi Salad with Miso-Tahini Dressing by Florida Coastal Cooking
Kohlrabi Slivers and Pea Shoots with Sesame Dressing by Gourmet
Kohlrabi and Carrot Salad by The Wednesday Chef
Coconut Curried Tofu, Eggplant, and Kohlrabi with Green Jasmine Rice by Eats Well With Others
Turnip-and-Kohlrabi Slaw with Ginger-Vinaigrette Dressing from The Bitten Word
Asian Slaw with Kohlrabi, Daikon and Turnips by Eggs on Sunday
Savoy Cabbage, Kohlrabi and Grapefruit Salad by Food & Wine
Kohlrabi and Cabbage Salad in Plenty by Ottolenghi


This is my submission to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays, and to this month’s Herbs and Flowers in My Platter, featuring cilantro.

Wheat Berry Salad with Kohlrabi, Apple and Sunflower Seeds

1 cup wheat berries
grated zest of 1 orange
juice of 1 orange
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp agave nectar (or honey)
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups kohlrabi, peeled and chopped
1 tart-sweet apple (e.g. Braeburn, Fuji, Cameo, Jonagold), chopped
1 cup red pepper, chopped
1/2 cup carrot, chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1/3 cup toasted sunflower seeds
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
16 cups baby spinach, slivered

1. Place wheat berries in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 60-75 minutes until plumped and tender. Drain.

2. Whisk the orange zest, lemon zest, orange juice, olive oil, lemon juice, agave, and salt in a large bowl.

3. Add the wheat berries, kohlrabi, apple, red pepper, carrot, cranberries, sunflower seeds, and cilantro.

4. Prior to serving, add the chopped baby spinach and dressing, tossing to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 6.

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12 Responses

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  1. Priti said, on April 11, 2011 at 6:26 AM

    Looks so gud …love it

  2. Priya said, on April 11, 2011 at 9:05 AM

    Very interesting and refreshing beautiful salad..

  3. sallybr said, on April 11, 2011 at 10:54 AM

    I am on a wheat berry kick lately, collecting recipes everywhere – I see that you cooked yours without soaking overnight, good to know I can skip that step

    Wonderful to have a house with a garden, I’m sure you will have a blast growing stuff, my problem is that both me and hubby have a thumb that is not exactly green.. :-(

    • Saveur said, on April 11, 2011 at 4:52 PM

      Hey Sally, I have never presoaked my wheat berries, but it sounds like a good idea to cut down on their cooking time! I can’t wait to see what you make with wheatberries. :)

  4. Dawn Hutchins said, on April 11, 2011 at 2:32 PM

    Yay! I’m glad you found some! This looks so fabulous. I love the idea of pairing it with the bright citrus flavors and the apples.

  5. Joanne said, on April 11, 2011 at 7:59 PM

    Girl this is one absolutely GORGEOUS salad! I have to admit I wasn’t completely enamored with kohlrabi the first time I had it, but I think it deserves another shot!

    Yay on the move! Shall I assume you and Rob are moving in together? SO excited about your garden!

    • Saveur said, on April 11, 2011 at 9:58 PM

      Hey Joanne, I think kohlrabi is best when fresh, not cooked, or so at least I’ve read.

      And yup, Rob and I are moving in together. So exciting! :)

  6. Maria @ Scandifoodie said, on April 13, 2011 at 3:35 AM

    This sounds delicious. I’m doing gluten-free atm, but I could imagine replacing the wheat berry with quinoa and it would be delicious!

  7. DebinHawaii said, on April 17, 2011 at 7:56 PM

    I have not ever worked with kohlrabi–I need to look for it here. The salad looks wonderful–love anything with wheat berries. Thanks for sending it to Souper Sundays. ;-)

  8. […] Lunch: Hawaiian Turkey Burgers + Wheat Berry Salad with Kohlrabi, Apple & Sunflower Seeds. Dinner: Kashi Mediterranean Pizza + left-over salad from […]

  9. Ashley said, on May 21, 2011 at 11:14 AM

    I don’t think I’ve ever had kohlrabi! Your description of it makes me want to try it though. And this salad sounds so good to me. I haven’t cooked with wheat berries in over a year, and need to remedy that. I went looking for sunflower seeds yesterday and all I found were roasted salted ones. :(

  10. […] kohlrabi, along with some other fruits and vegetables.  After consulting google, I started with this Taste Space recipe as my inspiration.  I incorporated some parsley from my giganto-parsley bush, as well as some […]


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