Wheat Berry Salad with Tomatoes and Sweet Potato Greens

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how to use local grains as well as local produce, and how to eat more whole grains in general. I found some beautiful hard red winter wheat berries at the Co-Op and got excited. The Sangre de Cristo Agricultural Producers’ Cooperative, a group of farmers who have been producing organic wheat in Taos County since 1995, are pioneers in the local wheat movement that is gaining momentum around the country. This wheat berry salad is shockingly delicious, full of umami from just a few perfect local ingredients.

Sweet, juicy, gorgeous tomatoes are finally here, along with all the other wonderful summer produce. It always seems like an interminably long wait, but thus begins my favorite time of year.  And just this past weekend, I learned something new – sweet potato greens are edible! I bought a bunch from Jesse at Amyo Farms, and they are fantastic, without the weird mouthfeel of spinach.

The wheat berries do take a long time to cook, but it works really well to just make them ahead of time. Next time I might try cooking them in the pressure cooker, or overnight in the slow cooker. This recipe really only feeds two, so I'd double it next time.

1 C. hard red winter wheat berries
4 T. olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bunch sweet potato greens (or other greens)
1/2 t. salt
1 t. honey
1 lb tomatoes, diced

Bring 3 cups of water to a boil, turn down the heat, and add the wheat berries. Simmer for about 2 hours, until tender. If none of the grains have popped open, it's nice to chop them up a bit in the food processor.

Heat oil and garlic on medium flame. Strip the leaves from the sweet potato greens and add them to the pan. Cook until just wilted, then add honey, salt and tomatoes, stirring to dissolve and distribute the honey. Toss with wheat berries and adjust the amounts of honey, salt, and olive oil as needed. Serve warm or cold.


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