Wheat Berry Salad with Harissa

Wheat Berry Salad with Harissa

Wheat Berry Salad with Harissa

“Grillin’ and salad” season is in full swing. Over the next couple of months, there will be more days like today, where it’s just too hot to consider standing over the stove.

It was seriously hot today – probably the first really hot day of the summer. It isn’t even summer yet, but that’s how the weather goes here in Canada. Totally umpredictable.

I cooked up some wheat berries in advance and froze them, so they would be ready when I needed them for a salad. They take a while to cook up, so it’s not something I want to do on a hot day. Being able to pull them out of the freezer to thaw in the morning is a carefully planned luxury that I took full advantage of. By the time I got back home in the afternoon, they were ready to dress up and make into a salad.

The wheat berries are dressed with a combination of yogurt, harissa and some other fun things. Harissa is a type of chili paste that comes from North Africa (most often Tunisia), and adds a little bit of heat and a lot of flavour to a dish. If you can’t find harissa, you can substitute other chili pastes – or even dried – each offering their own character.

It’s not just about heat.

Wheat Berry Salad with Harissa

The Verdict:
Another fun and chewy grain salad (what food writers refer to as “toothsome” – yikes!) to add to my repertoire. This is a great salad to serve with some grilled fish or seafood. I still had to make a vegetable side, since this didn’t have enough veggies in it for me. If I were too lazy to make a separate vegetable side, I probably would have added something green – a bit of green pepper, steamed asparagus, or even sugar snap peas. Avocado would also go great in this. If you like things a bit spicier, don’t be afraid to add more harissa! You can serve it alongside the salad, so people can add as much spice as they like.

Wheat Berry Salad with Harissa

based on this recipe

4-6 servings


  • 4 cups cooked soft wheat berries, cooled
  • 1/4 cup yogurt (I prefer Balkan or Greek – it needs to be a thicker variety)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Harissa (can use Sriracha, or other chili pastes, or 1/4 teaspoon of ground cayenne pepper – it will change the flavour, however)
  • 4 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh lemon zest, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chives, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1 teaspoon Za’atar (if you don’t have this, use 2/3 teaspoon of dried thyme)
  • 1/2 cup small-dice carrots
  • 1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds


  1. In a large bowl, whisk together yogurt, olive oil, harissa, lemon juice, lemon zest, chives, mint and Za’atar until completely blended.
  2. To this, add wheat berries and carrots, and season with salt. Mix well, until evenly coated.
  3. Sprinkle toasted almonds on top, with a bit more mint and/or chives.