The last few weeks I have been attempting to incorporate some lighter and healthy meals into our weekly menus to balance out our indulgences (like chocolate chip cookies, blue cheese burgers, onion strings, Dr. Pepper pulled pork, au gratin potatoes….oy vey). I seem to go through this “semi-healthy-meals-at-least-once-a-week” phase pretty often but it never seems to stick. Maybe this time is different – we had a few winning recipes over the last few weeks!
This wheat berry salad was extremely flavorful, yet healthy. I really enjoyed it! James didn’t like it as much as me, but we can’t use a self proclaimed “meatatarian” as a benchmark, can we? I had never purchased wheat berries before, so I was a bit weary about cooking them properly. How would I know when they were done? Recipes describe them as being cooked when they are “tender, but chewy”, which to me isn’t really that descriptive! I ended up cooking them for the suggested hour and tasted one. It was… tender, but chewy! I guess that’s really the best way to explain them after all.
The dressing on this salad was my favorite part. It’s a vibrant citrus and garlic vinaigrette. It takes a bit of time to prepare, but it was well worth the effort. Since the wheat berries take an hour to cook, you have plenty of time to make it. I think this would make a great entrée for a girls lunch, since men seem to be a little too meat dependent
Wheat Berry and Arugula Salad (serves 4)
For the dressing:
1 cup orange juice (from about 3 oranges)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 Tbs fresh lime juice
2 Tbs water
1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp honey
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
For the salad:
1 cup wheat berries, uncooked
1/2 tsp salt, plus more to taste
1 (15-oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup jarred roasted red peppers, drained, patted dry, and chopped
2 oz feta, crumbled
4 green onions, sliced thin
black pepper, to taste
8 oz baby arugula
Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot with a 1/2 tsp salt. Once the water is boiling, stir in wheat berries and partially cover. Cook for one hour, stirring often, until wheat berries are tender but chewy.
Meanwhile, prepare the dressing by simmering orange juice in a small sauce pan until reduced to 1/3 cup, about 15 minutes. Pour reduced orange juice into a small boil and cool in the refrigerator for 10 minutes. After cooling, whisk in the remainder of the ingredients and set aside.
To assemble the salad, toss the chickpeas, red peppers, feta, green onions and wheat berries in a medium bowl with half of the dressing. Salt and pepper to taste.
In a separate bowl, toss arugula with remaining dressing. Divide among 4 plates and top each with 1 cup of the wheat berry mixture.
If you are making it ahead of time or plan on having leftovers the next day, do not toss the argula with the dressing ahead of time. Simply pour the dressing on top of arugula right before serving.
Recipe from America’s Test Kitchen