Pear, Winter Squash and Wheat Berries

IngredientsGrains, Vegetables, Fruit
Menu PartSide Dish
winter squash berry salad

Source: Recipe and photo courtesy of Pacific Northwest Canned Pears

Nutritionists have been encouraging consumers to eat more whole grains, and foodservice operators are increasingly helping them meet that challenge. To introduced school kids to wheat berries, a more unusual grain, Chef Berdan combines them with sweet canned pears and familiar butternut squash in a satisfying side.


Wheat Berries

5 cups hard red wheat berries
6 lb. peeled and diced butternut squash (3/4-in. dice)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
6 lb. 12 oz. canned pears, drained and diced (juice reserved)
3 cups finely diced celery
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries

Pear Vinaigrette

1 cup reserved pear juice
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon


  1. In large saucepot, combine wheat berries with 2 quarts water; bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer; continue cooking, covered, until grains are tender but still chewy, 50 to 60 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Refrigerate in a covered container until chilled.
  2. Preheat oven to 375°F. Combine diced butternut squash, vegetable oil, cinnamon, salt and pepper in large bowl. Mix to coat thoroughly. Spread squash on 2 full-size sheet pans, making sure pieces are not crowded. Roast 30 minutes, or until caramelized and tender. Place roasted squash in refrigerator to chill until ready to use.
  3. Prepare Pear Vinaigrette: In blender container, combine all ingredients; blend at high speed about 30 seconds until emulsified. Chill in covered container until ready to use. 
  4. In large mixing bowl, combine chilled, cooked wheat berries, chilled roasted squash, diced pears, celery and dried cranberries. Pour Pear Vinaigrette over mixture and toss gently to coat. Hold chilled until ready to serve.

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