Cucumber Dill Wheat Berry Salad

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Ever since my food service class in undergrad I have been crazy about herb gardens. The class involved operating both the department cafeteria and a seated dining room two times a week. I had to take the course over the summer the year before I graduated so the fresh foods we used were at their peak.

On the first day of class Chef walked us outside and showed us the herb garden right behind our building on campus. I had walked by it for nearly 2 years and had never seen it. It was a modest row of your basics – basil, thyme, parsley, oregano, dill, cilantro and a few others. The whole garden was only about 6 feet long and 3 feet wide, but the plants were overflowing out onto the side walk and most came to at least knee height.

It was my first introduction to fresh herbs in cooking. I’m sure that was evident to my instructors when I kept pronouncing thyme as it looks with the “th” and not “time.” Our TA quietly told me the correct pronunciation to help me avoid embarrassment.

Since then I’ve been interested in herb gardens and while I still may mispronounce a name now and then, and I am thrilled to have my own again this year. The only problem is the plants produce A LOT and my cooking can’t keep up with them. I’m always looking for things to use them in, but I have to admit they tend to go a few days at a time without me picking a single leaf.

So last week, armed with some wheat berries that desperately needed to be utilized, I began thinking about what herbs would go well with the grain. That led me to think about the fresh cucumbers I picked up at the farmer’s market which ended up in thoughts of Greek yogurt.

Finally, all those food thoughts resulted in this:

The Cucumber Dill Wheat Berry Salad ended up a hit. I was able to combine two of my favorite herbs for a slightly Mediterranean cold grain salad. I used leftover, previously cooked wheat berries so if yours are still warm, wash them well under cold water to cool them off. Also, peel your cucumber before chopping if it is of the waxy skin variety.

I’ve already made this salad once more for lunch and now I have my eye out for a potluck to take it to.

Cucumber Dill Wheat Berry Salad

1 cup cooked wheat berries
½ medium cucumber, chopped
1 T fresh lemon juice
½ T fresh dill, chopped
½ T fresh chives, chopped
1 ½ T plain Greek yogurt
Salt and pepper to taste

Place the wheat berries and chopped cucumber in a medium-sized bowl and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, dill, chives and yogurt. Pour the dressing over the wheat berries and toss or stir to coat. Sprinkle with a generous amount of sea salt which adds great flavor and a little black pepper. Eat right away, or refrigerate for up to a day. Serves 2.

This recipe is being submitted to Souper Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen.
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  1. says

    Healthy, tasty and satisfying, does it get better. I’ve not used too much wheat berry. I really need to do more. They’re very common at the local Russian market. Hmmm, got some cucumbers in my CSA…

  2. says

    I haven’t made my salad yet so I’m sorry we didn’t get a chance to do the cookoff! :) This looks awesome! Dill is my fave herb and combining it with fresh cucumbers is an excellent pairing. I also like the use of yogurt here as a sort of binder.

    Have you ever tried the cucumbers that come wrapped in plastic? They don’t have that waxy buildup on them and they are a bit crunchier than the other version.

  3. says

    This is a gorgeous salad – fresh and healthy. I bet it’s refreshing on a hot day! And the fresh herbs make it extra special. Happy 4th – have a wonderful weekend!

  4. says

    I wish my undergrad had offered classes like that…sounds like fun! So funny, as I was reading this I thought wow this would be great with some greek yogurt…and there it was in the recipe! Good use of dill!

  5. says

    Perfect! I’ve enjoyed wheat berry salads but they’ve usually been with some sweetened dried fruit like cranberries and with nuts in a vinaigrette-type dressing. Your version promises to have a brighter, lighter flavor.

    My herb garden is doing very well this summer so I’m happy to say that they will soon adorn this salad!

  6. says

    What do you call that very healthy and flavorful salad? I was thinking if I can also do that for my children. I am sure they will love it.

  7. says

    Love the mix of ingredients. A great summer salad and alternative to all the house salads seen and offered everywhere; plus the uses of cucumber are so abundant, i just looove it!

  8. says

    C and C – Thanks. It really is full of flavor. A new favorite.

    Deb – Glad I had something to enter last week!

    OysterCulture – I was using wheat berries a lot for a while, but then took a break. This was a great version to come back too. Hope you will try it!

    kat – Let me know how it turns out if you try it!

    Andrea – No problem. We’ll plan one sometime soon. :) I think those are English cucumbers, but I might be wrong. I really like this time of year because I used the pickling cucumbers around here. Those are really my favorite.

    Reeni – Thanks! I hope you had a great holiday!

    Joanne – It was a requirement for my degree and I remember I wasn’t too happy about it at the time. But now it is the one class I remember most. I’ve applied a lot of what I learned even though I never thought I would.

    TN – Thanks! I usually go for the vinaigrette dressings too so this was a nice change.

    Bren – Thanks! I definitely love the cucumbers around this time of year, but always running out of ideas. This really worked well!

  9. says

    Love this combo and I think I need something healthy after my sinful chocolate muffins.

    Now I just need to find wheatberries.