I had this salad for lunch four days in a row last week, and now that it’s gone I’ve been craving it. It’s the sort of thing I could eat once a day all summer long and not get sick of. Not only is it healthy, satisfying, and incredibly delicious, but it keeps amazingly well in the fridge all week (there’s nothing better than making lunch once and being set for four days…I think I’m going to make a double batch next time and be set with my hubby’s lunches too).
But its addictive deliciousness is what keeps me coming back for more. The secret to how good it is? There’s a couple actually. The first is the savory/sweet combo, especially from the scallions and dried cherries in this salad. Don’t skimp on either. The second secret is the wheat berries.
Wheat berries are a whole grain with a high protein content and a good amount of fiber. They take an hour to cook, but they just about cook themselves, requiring only an occasional stir. The payoff is so worth the hour cook time, especially since they hold up well and can be used for healthy lunches all week long. And did I mention how delicious they are? They’re chewy with a slightly nutty flavor…all I can say is try them. You will probably find a favorite new grain.
Serves 8 as a side dish or 4 for lunch
1 cup wheat berries
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups water
1 (15 oz) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 bunch (about 6 medium) scallions (white and green parts), thinly sliced
3 tablespoons dried cherries, chopped
Fruity Vinaigrette (recipe below)
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped walnuts (optional, for garnish)
4 tablespoons crumbled feta or goat cheese (optional, for garnish)
Add the wheat berries, salt, and water to a medium pot; bring up to a boil, then cover the pot, turn the heat down to low, and cook until the wheat berries are tender, about 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Drain, rinse under cold running water, and drain again.
Toss together the wheat berries, beans, red bell pepper, scallions, cherries, and Fruity Vinaigrette in a large bowl. Right before serving, top the salad with walnuts and cheese, if using.
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons peach balsamic vinaigrette
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2-3 teaspoons honey (more or less to taste)
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Whisk together all ingredients for vinaigrette.