Now that the weather is getting warmer, I’m beginning to crave fresh salads more and more (shocker, I know). Usually, if I am eating a salad, it has to be big on flavour and include a ton of colourful veggies with lots of texture. I prefer my salads to be on the grainier side, too, as the greens-based ones never quite fill me up enough.
For my bowls, I tend to go for grains like quinoa or legumes like chickpeas or lentils. Sometimes, when I don’t feel like gathering up a ton of ingredients to make a good salad, I’ll head to my local grocery store and get a couple scoops of house-made salads from the deli section.
My current favourite is the Chickberry Salad that I’ve had at both Save-on Foods and Fresh St. Market (only Canadian friends will know this). If you’ve never tried it before, you’re truly missing out. It’s basically a zesty and delicious blend of wheat berries, chickpeas, broccoli, red bell pepper and red onion in a tangy lemony garlic dressing. The texture of this salad is my favourite part: when cooked, hard wheat berries have this wonderful grainy texture that’s slightly nutty and chewy. It just goes so well with the chickpeas and crunchy raw veggies.
I loved this market salad very much, so, naturally I had to figure out a way to copy it at home. I’m the queen of stealing grocery store salad recipes (ex. my copy-cat Whole Food’s Summer Kale Salad) but this one in particular was tricky because the garlic sauce was tough to emulate. It’s easy to go overboard on garlic, so I opted for a fresher version, with lemon juice, fresh dill and parsley, and just a touch of garlic. You can also add other fresh herbs too, like rosemary and mint, or cilantro could go well if you’re into that! Personally, I like adding only the parsley and dill because they both go so well with the garlic and lemon flavours.
If you decide to make this salad, keep this in mind:
Wheat berries (which are essentially whole wheat kernels in their purest form) take an incredibly long time to cook. I learned this the hard way (starving, at lunch time, waiting impatiently by the stove as I ate my weight in pita chips and hummus). This isn’t your 12 minute pot of quinoa, folks. Wheat berries need to simmer in a pot of water for about an hour, and then they need to cool right after that. Prep time for these bad boys alone is about an hour and a half if you’re adding them into a salad right away, so if you have time to prep your wheat berries the night before, that works just as well! I would cook a cup of wheat berries at a time, and then store them in the fridge to use for salad meal prep during the week.
Sure, the cook time is quite long for these ancient grains, but I promise that it’s worth it!
According to Bob’s Red Mill (who kindly sent me some of their high-quality grain products), hard red wheat has the highest protein content of all the varieties of wheat. Since the wheat kernel is left intact, virtually none of the nutrients are stripped away. Which means a single cup of wheat berries offers a whopping 24 grams of fibre and 26 grams of protein. It also offers a bounty of B vitamins, potassium, and iron.
Okay, that’s all you need to know. Now go enjoy this salad!
Hint: it pairs well with some sunshine and a picnic table at the beach. 🙂
Chickberry SaladPrint This
1 can chickpeas
1 cup red hard wheat berries (mine are from Bob’s Red Mill)
1 small bushel of broccoli
1 red bell pepper
1/4 red onion
1 bunch dill, finely chopped (optional)
1 bunch parsley, finely chopped (optional)
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/4 tsp. dijon mustard
- In a medium pot, combine 1 cup wheat berries with 2 cups of water, a dash of sea salt, and a dash of rice vinegar (gives it nice flavour). Bring to a boil and simmer with lid for 1 hour, or until tender. Drain remaining water (if any) and set aside in a bowl to cool.
- Mix dressing ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
- Finely chop veggies and herbs and place in a large salad bowl.
- Drain and rinse chickpeas, and add them to the salad bowl.
- Add cooled wheat berries to salad bowl and pour dressing overtop salad. Mix well and serve.