Wheat Berry & Beet Salad with Pumpkin Seed Vinaigrette


You know  how there’s all this research now that points to people who think cilantro tastes like soap/tin foil actually having something in their DNA causing that reaction ? I wonder if there’s something similar with beets. I hear people say a lot that beets taste like dirt and they don’t taste that way to me at all. Sure, they are earthy but they are fabulous. Growing up, the beets were my second favorite part of Greek diner salads (after feta, obviously). And now I love them as chips, roasted, or really any way. My whole family likes them. Fuchsia hands after handling them (or eating them, if you are a 22 month old) are their only downfall.

(sidebar: I just did some of my own “research” and discovered that there is an organic compound in them called geosmin that some people don’t like the smell of and may cause that dirt reaction. It’s also present in spinach, mushrooms, and lettuce. So there you go.)

I liked the sound of this salad from the getgo. Beside beets, it has wheat berries, which I’ve just started eating more of, and pumpkin seeds, which are so great. Some of the pumpkin seeds are crushed up finely and used in the vinaigrette so their flavor is laced throughout and the rest are sprinkled on top, giving a little texture to the salad. This salad is good at room temperature (how we had it the first day) or cold (how we had it as leftovers) so it’s nice for a gathering because you can make it ahead.

This recipe called for celery leaves but I realized too late that the celery in our fridge was just ribs. So, I ended up using the beet greens in their place. Worked wonderfully. Also, my store was out of golden beets, which are sweeter, so I used red beets. If you’re just coming around to beets and you find yellow, that may be an easier transition for you.


Wheat Berry & Beet Salad with Pumpkin Seed Vinaigrette

5 thoughts on “Wheat Berry & Beet Salad with Pumpkin Seed Vinaigrette

  1. We are totally hooked on a wheatberry salad in the prepared foods section of a nearby grocery store. Now I am inspired to finally take a stab at making a version myself!

  2. I’m really not a beet lover, but I do wonder about the genetic basis behind it. I’m not sure that they really taste earthy to me…but just not good. Though I love spinach and lettuce, so not sure what the deal is! This salad does sound fabulous, though. I suspect I could make it with sweet potatoes instead of beets and it wouldn’t be catastrophic?

  3. I wonder if it’s pickled beets that give beets a bad reputation? That’s really all I’ve had, and I hate them so much that I haven’t convinced myself to try buying them fresh and roasting them.

  4. Similar to the thing with cilantro, some people also do not get the really strong smelling pee after eating asparagus. Apparently there is some debate as to whether these people just lack an enzyme that releases the sulfur compound or if they just can’t smell it. I guess there was an experiment involving people smelling other people’s urine. (Hopefully they got paid.)

    Anyway, my ideal salad always has a cheese. My current favorite beet salad involves quinoa and goat cheese. Think that would work here? Or feta? Or something else?

    1. Aubrey, definitely. I love beets with both goat cheese and feta cheese. I would personally go with goat cheese just because I love it with pepitas. I also think this would be really good with manchego.

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