September 16, 2012

Wheat Berry Salad with Zucchini and Chickpeas

It was tough to decide what dish to bring to our CSA potluck yesterday.  Obviously something with farm fresh vegetables and easily portable, which was harder to brainstorm than I thought it would be.

Some type of salad seemed to be the best option for using the most produce possible, and I had everything on-hand for a wheat berry salad, so the decision was made.

This salad is kind of a pain in the sense that the wheat berries have to soak overnight and then cook for an hour.  However, both tasks require almost zero effort, so as long as you plan ahead, this really is a fairly simple salad to make.

The original recipe calls for this salad to be served on a bed of spinach.  I initially planned to bring spinach along but I didn't receive enough in my CSA box, there was none at the farm stand, and it just seemed wrong to bring supermarket spinach to a CSA farm, so we had wheat berry salad sans spinach and it was delicious!

I pulled the first leeks from my container garden this weekend, and not surprisingly they are the size of scallions because I planted them way too close together.  Thankfully, they still have that wonderful leek flavor.

I like the combination of zucchini, bell peppers and chickpeas.  However, I'm sure you could come up with some very tasty variations for this salad.  People at the potluck commented on how much they liked the flavor of the dressing.  It's just a simple balsamic vinaigrette kicked up with soy sauce and lemon juice.

This dish is best eaten soon after mixed with the dressing, as it becomes a little soggy when eating leftovers.  I brought the dressing in a separate jar (works best for shaking the ingredients) and mixed it just before our potluck dinner.

Wheat Berry Salad with Zucchini and Chickpeas

Prep Time: 20 minutes (overnight)
Cook Time: 1 hour

Ingredients (serves 6)
  • 1 cup wheat berries
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 green onions (or 1 leek), sliced
  • 15oz can chickpeas
  • baby spinach
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (1 medium lemon)
Wheat Berries
  • In a small bowl, soak the wheat berries overnight in cold water.
  • The next day, drain the wheat berries and cook them in a large saucepan, covered in three inches of salted water.
  • Bring to a boil, then stir and reduce heat to medium, simmering for 1 hour.
  • Drain the wheat berries, rinse and cool to room temperature.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the zucchini, bell pepper, garlic and green onions. Then add in the chickpeas and stir.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients and set aside (or shake together in a small jar).
  • When the wheat berries are cooled, stir them into the salad. Add the dressing just before serving and mix well. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Serve on a bed of baby spinach. 
Recipe adapted from: Eats Well With Others
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