Rainbow Wheat Berry Salad
If you’ve been a long-time Macheesmo reader, you probably know that Betsy and I are always on the hunt for lunch time salads that can hold up like a sandwich.
In general, for lunches we look for dishes that are:
1) Mainly vegetables. Betsy and I eat really healthy for breakfast and lunch almost every day. Having a lunch that’s mostly veggies is about as healthy as it gets.
2) Keeps well. I like to make a ton of a dish on day one and I want it to keep well so it tastes as good if not better on day four or five.
3) Filling. All of these things are nice, but if it doesn’t keep me full and energized, I’m just gonna crash and burn around 3 or 4PM. So it has to fill me up.
I play around a lot on a weekly basis with various grains and veggies and stuff but I don’t always post on them.
This version though was a must-post dish for me. It definitely meets all of my three points and is really colorful and tasty to boot. You bring this dish in for lunch and people will want to know what it is. You can then, of course, point them in my direction!
Rainbow Wheat Berry Salad
Yield: Serves 6-8.
1 1/2 - 2 Cups Wheat berries
1 can (15 ounces) garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
1 bunch rainbow chard, blanched and chopped
1 red pepper, diced
2-3 stalks celery, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1 lemon, zest and juice
6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1 avocado, diced
Handful of parsley, minced
Salt and pepper
1 Teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (opt.)
1) Cook wheat berries according to package. Probably boil them for close to 75 minutes.
2) Dice pepper, onion, and celery and add to a bowl with drained chickpeas. Crumble in feta and zest of a lemon.
3) For chard, slice out inner vein of thick root from each leave. Chop roughly and add to salted boiling water to blanch for 30 seconds. Remove chard from water and set in an ice bath or run under cold water to stop the cooking. Dry on a paper towel.
4) Dice chard and add to bowl. Also add lemon juice and diced avocado.
5) When wheat berries are done, drain them, let them cool for a few minutes, and add them to the bowl. Stir well to combine and taste for salt and pepper.
6) Stir in some minced parsley.
7) Serve with hot sauce!
One thing you might notice about this recipe is that it’s pretty flexible. I give some ranges for some things and I encourage you to add more of something if you like it or take away something if it’s not your thing.
The Wheat Berries
If you’ve never cooked with wheat berries before, they are pretty cool. They are really nutritious and tasty. They have a great texture and an almost nutty flavor to them.
The downside of wheat berries is that they do require some time to cook.
Generally, wheat berries will need to boil for roughly 60-75 minutes until they are tender. Everything else for this recipe will take you probably 10-15 minutes to get ready so this is really the only long prep item for this recipe but you don’t have to do much while they boil. Maybe just give them a stir every 20 minutes or so.
You should consult the package though for specific cooking instructions because it might vary slightly depending on your kind of wheat berries.
The Other Veggies
The rest of this recipe is basically just chopping practice! You’ll need all these things.
Take your time with the dicing to make sure the pieces are all roughly the same size.
You’ll start to see some rainbow colors in your bowl!
Once you get the veggies chopped, you can go ahead and crumble in your feta and zest your lemon. The zest from one lemon is pretty powerful. It really brightens the flavors of the salad.
This stuff is one of my favorite vegetables because it’s just so colorful. How could you not like this?
It almost looks like candy.
To prep the chard, chop it into rough segments and slice out the thick inner vein down the center of the leaves. Then duck the leaves in simmering salted water for about 30 seconds. Pull them out and dunk them into some ice water or, if you’re lazy, just rinse them under running cold water in a colander. The ice water works best though to completely stop the cooking.
Dry the chard off on a few paper towels, mince it up, and add it to the big bowl of veggies.
The final pieces of the puzzle besides the wheat berries (which are still cooking) is an avocado and lemon juice.
You can obviously use the same lemon that you zested for the juice. The avocado mixes with the feta to make kind of a thick dressing for the salad. The avocado and lemon kind of made the dish in my opinion.
Once your wheat berries are done cooking, drain them, let them cool for a few minutes and then add them to the bowl.
Stir it all together, add in a handful of chopped parsley, season with salt and pepper, and you’re good to go. It might not need much salt because the feta is pretty salty, but it’ll need some pepper for sure.
A big bowl of this is really filling and Betsy and I ate it for dinner and lunch!
I also discovered that it’s even better with a few dashes of hot sauce on top. Go figure. Everything’s better with hot sauce.
So if you’re looking for a change in your lunches, try out this salad!