I just love finding new uses for familiar foods. I use wheat berries frequently, but always in soups and stews. (Wheat berries are simply whole kernels of wheat, similar in appearance to barley, but very different in taste and texture.)

But a new beautiful cookbook, Around my French Table, had a lovely sounding recipe for Wheat Berry and Tuna Salad, so I decided to give it a shot. I changed up the recipe a bit, but stuck with the basic concept of cooking up wheat berries and then marinating them in a dressing.

Wow. This has opened new worlds for me. I can see wheat berries prepared with pretty much any salad dressing in my repertoire, and then mixed with vegetables as a side or main dish. If you've never tried this grain, you should. It takes a bit of advance planning because it needs almost an hour and a half to cook up, but requires very little effort and is a quick, easy and healthy starch.

Wheat Berry Salad, based on a recipe from Around my French Table
This salad lasts beautifully in the fridge for a few days. If you'd like to save some as leftovers, set aside some of the salad before plating it with the greens and eggs. (You can also skip the greens and eggs altogether if you prefer.) You can buy wheat berries at Amazon.com

1 cup wheat berries
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 celery stalks, trimmed and chopped
1/4 of a small onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
1 medium green apple, cored and diced
2 cups baby spinach or salad greens, rinsed and dried
8 grape tomatoes, halved
2 hard boiled eggs, quartered

First, cook the wheat berries. Simply bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and then cook them, stirring occasionally, until the wheat berries are tender but not mushy, about 1 1/4 hours. Drain and rinse under cold water. (This step can be completed ahead of time. You can refrigerate the wheat berries for a day or so before proceeding with the rest of the recipe.)

Combine, the mustard, vinegar, oil, salt and pepper in a small jar. Shake to blend.

Put the wheat berries in a large bowl and pour the vinaigrette over them. Mix well and allow to stand at room temperature for an hour or two.

Add the celery, onion, peppers, apply, and tomatoes to the wheat berries and mix together.

Put the greens on a large serving platter or onto individual serving plates. Spoon the salad over the greens and top with the eggs. Serve immediately.