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Sacred Species Salad

March 22, 2021
Photo: Dan AllenPhoto: Dan Allen

This weekend marks Tu B’Shevat, the New Year of the Trees—an agricultural holiday whose culinary customs involve eating several kinds of fruits, nuts, and grains. These include the seven species named in the Torah as the main produce of ancient Israel: wheat, barley, grapes, figs, dates, pomegranates, and olives. Other fruits are included from a variety of categories: those with inedible outer skin around edible fruit, such as oranges and grapefruit, or nuts; those with an inedible pit surrounded by edible outer fruit, such as plums or apricots; and ones that are entirely edible, such as figs or grapes.

Featured in: How To Make a Salad That Brings Together the Flavors of Ancient Israel

Great for: Tu B’Shevat


For the Dressing

  • ½cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1clove garlic, minced
  • 1teaspoon honey
  • ½teaspoon dry mustard
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • ½cup extra virgin olive oil

For the Salad

  • 1cup wheat berries (or freekeh or barley)
  • ½teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1orange
  • 1avocado
  • ½cup dates, chopped
  • ½cup figs, chopped
  • ½cup white or red grapes, halved
  • ½small red onion, chopped fine
  • ½cup olives, chopped
  • ½cup pomegranate seeds
  • 2handfuls of salad greens
  • 5scallions or green onions, sliced thin
  • 1cup toasted pecans (or pistachios)
  • 1cup feta cheese (optional)
Yield: 8-10 servings


To Make Dressing

  • Step 1

    To make the vinaigrette, stir the balsamic vinegar, the garlic, honey, dry mustard and salt and pepper together in a mixing bowl. Gradually whisk in the olive oil and set aside.

To make the Salad

  • Step 1

    Fill a medium saucepan with water and add the wheat berries, freekeh, or barley and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil and simmer for about an hour or until the grain is al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop them from cooking and transfer to a bowl and let cool completely.

  • Step 2

    Put the greens out on a flat plate, top with wheat berries. Then, using a sharp knife, cut the skin from the tops and bottoms of the oranges and carefully cut between the sections to make pieces that are all orange and add to the salad. Then cut the avocado and add with the dates, figs, grapes, red onions, olives, pomegranate seeds, scallions, pecans, and feta cheese if using. Drizzle some of the dressing over all. Toss and serve immediately.