Whole Foods for the Holidays: Spelt Berry Salad {recipe}

whole foods recipes for the holidays

When I first posed the idea of running a whole foods holiday carnival with some blogging friends of mine, I decided early on I wanted to do the salads. For the one and only reason of stretching myself and doing something new. At the time my family and I were completely grain free. Now I can say we’re about 80% grain free and still gluten free as many members of my family do amazingly better sans gluten.

So my recipe may surprise you.

A. Lot.

While googling fall salads I came across one based on wheat berries. It was beautiful and festive, but I quickly moved on. Everything else I found was heavy (combined with a heavy holiday dinner – ummm, no) or much of the same boring green salads we’ve all come to know and love.  I also know many of my readers have no problems with wheat or gluten, and it’s not something I think everyone should go without because not everyone is intolerant to gluten. So without further ado, I bring you….

spelt cranberry salad

Whole Foods for the Holidays: Spelt Berry Salad {recipe}
Recipe type: Salads and Dressings
  • 1 cup spelt (or wheat) berries
  • ½ cup dried cranberries (or one cup fresh – but dried actually works best with this recipe!)
  • 1 large fugi, or similar tasting, apple
  • juice from one large orange (or about ⅓ cup)
  • ½ cup pecans (soaked and dehydrated)
  • 3 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
Method of Preparation
  1. For the spelt berries, what you’re going to want to do is soak them the night before you cook them in warm water and about 2 Tbsp whey. This will make them more digestible and lessen the phytic acid within them. Once soaked for at least 12 hours, simmer for one hour, or until soft yet chewy. Strain and rinse.
  2. As you begin assembling the salad, juice the orange and place into a bowl with the dried cranberries. (the reason dried berries work better – they soak up the goodness and flavors of the oranges)
  3. Chop the pecans and cut the apples into small, bite sized pieces, leaving the skin on.
  4. Strain cranberries out of the orange juice (keep the juice!) and gently mix together the spelt berries, apple, and cranberries in a medium-sized bowl.
  5. Lightly whisk together the raspberry vinegar, oil, reserved orange juice, and salt and pepper in a small bowl. Stir into the salad mix and let sit for at least 30 minutes. You can also make this the night before and save yourself time during the day of a large holiday meal!
  6. Serve cold or at room temperature, and by itself or with a few accompanying greens.
  7. The slightly sweet and citrus flavors lighten the flavors of the meal in a very simple, yet effective way!
Gluten Free Option: Forego any grains completely! Mix all ingredients together and gently mix with a few cups of fresh salad greens right before serving. You could also try using oat groats instead of spelt berries.


spelt cranberry salad

The best part about this Real Foods progressive dinner is that you get to participate as well! Link up any new or old recipe below! (you can also link up to the previous weeks courses: soup and appetizers)

How to leave a link:

  • Copy and paste your permalink (direct url) into the form below along with your name and recipe name
  • Links can be new or old, but leave a link back to this post within it. If it’s an old post, you might want to let your readers know that you’re participating so that they can see all of the recipes posted as well.
  • Recipes must be made with “real” food, not composed of boxed, canned, and processed foods.


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About Donielle

Donielle is an amateur herbalist and natural momma to two littles (with another babe in heaven) after dealing with being less than fertile. She has a passion for nourishing nutrition, natural living, and spreading the word on how food truly affects our health.


  1. Yum, your salad is beautiful and I bet it’s delicious! I’m going to try it. :) I’m sharing my California Autumn Salad. I love this blog hop!

  2. All those salads look so good. Thanks for hosting Donielle. I’m always happy to find new salad recipes!

  3. I am going to have to try your salad. It looks yummy! I would have never thought of pairing wheat berries with a fruity dressing, but it has my mouth watering looking at your pictures!

  4. Wow, this salad looks really good! I have never made a salad based on a whole grain like this before. (I am normally a boring green salad kind of girl.) This one sure looks great and I actually just bought whole spelt berries today. Yay!

  5. Delicious salads! I love spelt and I don’t think I can wait for the holidays to try it this recipe!

    Thanks for sharing!


  6. It looks so beautiful! I am still sans gluten right now, but if I ever return to wheat, as I hope to some day, this would be on the list to try for sure!

    donielle Reply:

    @Jenn AKA The Leftover Queen, I bought some oat groats the other day and I think I’ll try it with those soon as I enjoyed it (I don’t notice a difference off gluten or on – this was the first gluten meal in 3 months for me – but I still think it’s just way easier to eat GF when the rest of my family is!). Though I’ll halve the recipe as this made a lot and the rest of my family isn’t into ‘fruity’ salads!

  7. I made this today. I didn’t have spelt, so I used bulgar wheat. It was great!! Can’t wait to share with the extended family on Thanksgiving!

  8. Thanks for hosting the carnival Donielle.
    Your salad looks delicious. All the salads look so good – it’s so nice to have them all in one place!

  9. I haven’t been able to locate raspberry vinegar at any of my local stores. Can you tell where I might be able to find this item or could I use some other kind of vinegar? Thanks! Looking forward to making this salad.

    donielle Reply:

    @Lisa, I would just use any other kind of fruit or sweet vinegar. I have some citrus balsamic vinegar too that I think would work well too, so maybe you could even find something to that extent? Otherwise even a splash of apple cider vinegar would be sufficient!

  10. Would it be okay to soak the wheat berries in 2TBSP lemon juice instead of the whey? Thanks for your response.

    Donielle @ Naturally Knocked Up Reply:

    @Lisa, Yes – any acidic medium would work just fine. Lemon Juice, apple cider vinegar, yogurt, kefir… all would work just as well.


  1. […] I’m linking this up to the Salad Course of the Whole Foods Progressive Dinner at Naturally Knocked Up. […]

  2. […] fresh produce, delectable dressing. . .mmm,  I LOVE a good salad. If you do too, hop over to Naturally Knocked Up and check out the delicious salads linked up today as part of the Whole Foods for the Holidays […]

  3. […] is our hostess today for the salad course of the real food progressive dinner. Be sure to visit her post for a great selection of whole food […]

  4. […] Part of Whole Food for the Holidays – a real food progressive dinner […]

  5. […] **This post has been entered in Pennywise Platter Thursdays at The Nourishing Gourmet,  Ultimate Recipe Swap at Life as MOM and Whole Foods for the Holidays Salads at Naturally Knocked Up!** […]

  6. […] 2 – Donielle will be serving salad at Naturally Knocked […]

  7. […] Salads with Donielle from Naturally Knocked Up […]

  8. […] post is written in conjunction with the Whole Foods for the Holidays Progressive Dinner Carnival, Salads edition.  Please go and visit the other […]

  9. […] **This post has been entered in Pennywise Platter Thursdays at The Nourishing Gourmet,  Ultimate Recipe Swap at Life as MOM and Whole Foods for the Holidays Salads at Naturally Knocked Up!** […]