Wheat Berry Salad with Figs, Pine Nuts, and Goat Cheese

A small amount of goat cheese adds just enough rich creaminess to our wheat berry salad.

Wheat Berry Salad with Figs, Pine Nuts, and Goat Cheese
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS Figs, a staple of Mediterranean cuisine, have been grown for thousands of years in the region’s warm and temperate climate. We wanted to feature their sweet flavor and juicy texture in a hearty summer grain salad. Wheat berries provided the perfect nutty backdrop for the fresh figs; creamy goat cheese contributed a pleasantly rich, tangy element. For the dressing, we chose a zippy vinaigrette made with balsamic vinegar, shallot, mustard, and honey to highlight the figs’ natural sweetness. Toasted pine nuts and parsley leaves lent crunch and fragrance to this summery salad. Do not add more than 1½ teaspoons of salt when cooking the wheat berries; adding more will prevent the grains from softening. If using quick-cooking or presteamed wheat berries (read the ingredient list on the package to determine this), you will need to decrease the wheat berry cooking time in step 1.

1½ cups wheat berries
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 small shallot, minced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces figs, cut into ½-inch pieces
½ cup fresh parsley leaves
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled (½ cup)

1. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in Dutch oven. Add wheat berries and 1½ teaspoons salt, return to boil, and cook until tender but still chewy, 60 to 70 minutes. Drain wheat berries, spread onto rimmed baking sheet, and let cool completely, about 15 minutes.
2. Whisk vinegar, shallot, mustard, honey, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper together in large bowl. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in oil. Add wheat berries, figs, parsley, and pine nuts and toss gently to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to serving platter and sprinkle with goat cheese. Serve.