Wheat Berry, Lentil and Butternut Squash Salad with Balsamic Reduction

Have you ever had a coworker peer over your shoulder at your lunch and proclaim “wow! that looks really … healthy…”  Let me warn you in advance that this salad will definitely get the reaction.  So just calmly thank your coworker because you’ll be prepared.

autumn_lentil_wheatberry_salad

I’ve failed to make a balsamic reduction about ten million times.  I’ve reduced not enough and just had extra pungent vinegar.  I’ve reduced too much and made rock candy.  I’m still not sure what voodoo magic J had to work to save that pan.  By some rule of randomness, I finally succeeded, but I’m not sure I could repeat the feat.  I’m always aiming for a thickness just this side of maple syrup, which I think is how I overshoot and end up with vinegar rock candy instead.  That said, you can drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar over this and skip the rock candy experiment all together.

wheatberry_salad_balsamic_reduction

Wheat berries are my favorite grain, and I had some lentils asking to be cooked, so that’s how this combination came about.  Toss in some roasted butternut squash and some yellow colored sweet potato from Berkeley Bowl, and here we are.  Surprisingly delicious, for a dish literally thrown together.

Wheat Berry, Lentil and Roasted Butternut Squash Salad

  • 2 cups cooked wheat berries (cook dried wheatberries in a 1:3 ratio of grain to water)
  • 2 cups cooked lentils (cook lentils in a 1:4 ratio of lentils to water, drain when soft)
  • 1 medium butternut squash, cubed and roasted
  • 1 small sweet potato, cubed and roasted
  • 3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  1. In a small saucepan, heat the balsamic vinegar.  When it has reduced by about half, remove it from the heat and pour into a small bowl.  The vinegar will thicken as it cools.
  2. Combine the remaining ingredients in a large bowl, and drizzle the balsamic reduction over the salad.
  3. May be served warm or cold.

wheatberry_salad_closeup

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13 Responses to Wheat Berry, Lentil and Butternut Squash Salad with Balsamic Reduction

  1. Candice says:

    Wow, looks great!

  2. Kelsie says:

    Looks nice and hearty! Have you ever tried Balsamic Cream? It’s pretty concentrated, so not much is needed. I wonder if a squeeze of that would give your reduction some heft.

    http://store.pastene.com/merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=PU&Product_Code=OILV14030&Category_Code=OILV

  3. jasminepayne says:

    mmmm. looks great!

  4. Yum! I love wheatberries too.. I think it’s the nutty taste and chewy texture that gets me 🙂 Will bookmark this recipe for sure 🙂

  5. Yummy 🙂 Funny how dishes that usually cause people to say things like that, I love! I honestly love everything in this – and I need to eat more lentils, I swear they’re multiplying in my cupboard! I love balsamic vinegar when it’s reduced like that, but I’ve never done it myself. I have to try it – it sounds awesome with squash and sweet potato.

  6. This sounds INCREDIBLE!! Seriously, my favorite flavors in a bowl — and, somehow, eating out of a bowl is even more comforting!

    • Beth says:

      Thanks, Emily! I agree. Lately most of my meals have been served in a bowl. I’m not sure why it’s more comforting, but I completely agree.

  7. Ashley @ cooking for one says:

    I feel the same way about balsamic reductions- seems so easy in theory, but it’s very difficult in practice! I’ve never experimented with wheat berries and it’s something I’d love to do. Thanks for the grea recipe 😉

    • Beth says:

      I’ve almost ruined so many pans with the balsamic reduction. I can hardly believe you’ve never experimented with wheat berries; you’ve made so many recipes I love! Let me know how your first try with them goes!

  8. whitastics says:

    This looks great! I have to try this! I have never cooked with wheat berries before, but want to try now!

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