Apple Wheat Berry Salad

Apple Wheat Berry Salad |

When I first married my husband I knew there’d be a learning curve…for both of us!  I think many young people are naive by thinking marrying the love of their life doesn’t come with hurdles!  Some of them are large, some are small, but all pose their own challenges and opportunities to learn about one another – and the family you’ve married into!  One challenge for me was figuring out how to blend the holiday traditions my husband grew up with, and the ones I was accustomed to, into a new set of traditions for our little growing family.  While we both grew up with similar values and faiths, there were definite differences we had to iron out.  And as crazy as it sounds, sometimes it was something as silly as an apple salad that bridged the gap!

Apple Wheat Berry Salad |

The first Thanksgiving we were together  – in fact it was the weekend he proposed to me – we went to his parents’ farm for the family gathering.  Of course there were all the traditional dishes – turkey, potatoes, green beans, rolls, etc. And even though they weren’t exactly like I’d have prepared it – all were delicious and it was fun to try new versions of classic holiday fare.  But it got a little awkward and tense when I volunteered to help, and my husband’s mom asked me to make the apple salad.  Ummmm…this was new to me!  Apparently they had this particular apple salad at every single holiday gathering, and I’d never made one before.  Thankfully his mom and sister-in-law taught me how to make it, and while it was good, I’m afraid it never made it into regular rotation at any of our subsequent holiday dinners – at least not in it’s original form!  I happily serve an apple salad at our holiday gatherings these days, but it’s not the recipe I was taught that particular Thanksgiving.  This Apple Wheat Berry Salad is a fresh take on the salad I made in that farm kitchen some 24 years ago!  I wonder if Mr.CEBH’S mom and dad would approve!!!

Apple Wheat Berry Salad |

I think one of the reasons we both like this salad so much is because it speaks to traditions – new and old!  By eliminating the jarred salad dressing, all of the sugar, and a few other ingredients, but keeping the apples, celery, and pecans – and then throwing in a myriad of other new ingredients I feel like I’ve successfully bridged the family tradition and generation gaps with this salad!  It’s definitely not my mother-in-law’s apple salad! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Apple Wheat Berry Salad |

Start by cooking the wheat berries.  Put the uncooked wheat berries in a large sauce pan or small stock pot with about 4-5 cups water.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the berries are tender – about 40-45 minutes.  Drain excess water and set the cooked wheat berries in the fridge to cool.  I used the time while the wheat berries were cooking to make homemade mayonnaise – click the link for the recipe – but feel free to use store bought if you prefer.  Just be sure to use mayo and not salad dressing.  Next up –  toast the pecans by placing them in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently for about 5-7 minutes until aromatic and lightly browned.  But watch them closely…they can burn in an instant if left unattended. Once the pecans are done, set them aside to cool, and chop the celery, mince the shallot, and dice the apples.  Assemble the salad by combining the mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, honey, salt & pepper, and shallots in a large mixing bowl to make the dressing.  Toss in the cooled wheat berries, diced apples, chopped celery, and toasted pecans.  Stir to coat, transfer to a serving dish, and sit back and wait for the compliments to roll in!

Apple Wheat Berry Salad |

Seriously – I love this salad so much that I eat the leftovers for breakfast. And lunch. And an afternoon snack. And whenever the heck I think about it sitting in the refrigerator just waiting for me to sneak a little fork full!  Do you have recipes that you’ve learned from an in-law or friend and then adapted to make a new version?  Share them with me in the comments – I’d love to hear your “salad story”!!!

Apple Wheat Berry Salad
Serves 12
This salad is perfect as part of your holiday menu, or as a simple addition to a regular weeknight dinner!
Write a review
Total Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr
236 calories
15 g
8 g
20 g
1 g
3 g
125 g
226 g
12 g
0 g
16 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 236
Calories from Fat 173
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 20g
Saturated Fat 3g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 10g
Monounsaturated Fat 6g
Cholesterol 8mg
Sodium 226mg
Total Carbohydrates 15g
Dietary Fiber 3g
Sugars 12g
Protein 1g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 3 or 4 large apples - any variety that you'd eat out of hand - diced
  2. 1 1/2 cups uncooked wheat berries
  3. 4 stalks celery, chopped
  4. 1 medium shallot, minced
  5. 1 cup pecans, toasted
  6. 1 cup mayonnaise ~ link to homemade in post
  7. 3 tbsp honey
  8. 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  9. 1/2 tsp salt
  10. 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  1. Place wheat berries in a medium stockpot and cover with 4-5 cups water.
  2. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, 40-45 minutes or until wheat berries are tender.
  3. Drain excess water and place cooked wheat berries in the refrigerator to cool.
  4. Meanwhile, toast pecans by placing them in a dry non-stick skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently and watching closely so they don't burn.
  5. Remove pecans from heat when aromatic and lightly browned, then set aside to cool.
  6. In a large bowl combine mayo, vinegar, minced shallot, honey, and salt & pepper. Whisk to combine.
  7. Stir in cooled wheat berries, apples, celery, and pecans until well combined.
  8. Place in refrigerator until ready to serve.
  1. This salad also makes a fantastic breakfast for on-the-run mornings!
Cook Eat Be Healthy

11 Comment

  1. I’m always looking for new delicious vegetarian salads to try. This looks amazing, can’t wait to replicate it in my kitchen!

    Luciโ€™s Morsels | fashion. food. frivolity.

    1. Thank you, Luci! It’s one of my favorites, in fact I’ve been known to eat it for breakfast! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. What an awesome recipe! My husband and I are still trying to get a good balance of the holidays but we’re only 1 year in. We have time to get it right ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Thanks, Sharon! Yes indeed – a lifetime to get things right!

  3. I love whole grains in my salad and wheat berries are great as they have such a great texture to them.

    1. There’s just something about wheatberries that make me happy! They’re so fun to eat, and so satisfying as well!

  4. This dish looks lovely. I could eat on it all day! I love the apples and nut combination.

    1. Thanks, Katie! I literally did eat it all dayโ€ฆit makes a yummy breakfast! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. Wheat berries and pecans! Are you kidding me? What a great idea, tossing in those apples to boot. Very interesting. Thanks.

    1. ThNks so much! It’s truly one of my favorites!

  6. […] Dinner must-haves for me include the usual suspects…turkey, potatoes, stuffing, Apple Wheat Berry Salad, Green Bean Casserole CEBH Style, some kind of bread, a delicious dessert like the one coming up in […]

Leave a Reply