Wheatberry and Watercress Salad With Bacon Vinaigrette Recipe

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Rendered bacon fat becomes the base of a dressing for this hearty grain salad tossed with peppery watercress. Vicky Wasik

Grain salads are forgiving and flexible, and nutty wheatberries take well to all kinds of vegetables like fennel, arugula, or carrots. But peppery watercress, red onion, and scallion add pungency to this salad, which is dressed with a vinaigrette of lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and bacon fat.

Why this recipe works:

  • The warm bacon dressing slightly wilts the watercress and onions, turning them more aromatic.
  • A balanced vinaigrette brings subtle bacon smokiness but also plenty of acidity.
  • Bacon bits and shaved Parmesan add meaty, savory crunch.

Note: Since bacon fat solidifies as it cools, this salad is best served just after it's made.

Recipe Facts

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Active: 15 mins
Total: 15 mins
Serves: 4 to 6 servings

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Ingredients

  • 8 ounces sliced bacon, diced
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice from 1 to 2 lemons
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 4 cups cooked and cooled wheatberries
  • 1 large bunch watercress, finely chopped
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped and soaked in water for 5 minutes, drained
  • 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish

Directions

  1. Heat bacon in a dry skillet over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until bacon is browned and crisp, and its fat has rendered, about 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain. Measure 6 tablespoons bacon fat, reserving the rest for another use.

  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together bacon fat, lemon juice, and Dijon mustard until dressing is creamy and completely emulsified.

  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine wheatberries, watercress, reserved bacon, red onion, and scallions, then toss with dressing. Season with salt. Top with Parmesan and serve immediately.

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