This wheatberry salad is filled with peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots and chickpeas. It’s the perfect summer side salad and feeds a crowd!
One of the few redeeming features of the lovely little suburban town we live in is this place.
Looks like a regular grocery store from the outside right? Well, not quite. First of all, it’s in one of the sketchiest shopping plazas in town. Secondly, hardly anyone in the store actually speaks English. Korean or Spanish, you’re good, but not English. That’s ok though, me and the fish guy are tight. I’m a regular wild Alaskan Salmon buyer of his and we have our little “head nod” way of communicating. I don’t even need to say “salmon, a little less than a pound” anymore. He just starts cutting the filet before I’m even at the counter. The best part about the store however, is that they are ridiculously cheap! This isn’t a full fledged grocery store by any means, but I buy all my weekly produce here and probably pay 1/3 of what I would in a normal grocery store. I don’t know how they do it or what black market they’re getting their stuff from. I choose to remain naive to these things and just focus on the savings and convenience (it’s only about a 5 minute drive from my house and it doesn’t get much closer than that when you live in God’s country).
I should be much more strategic about my weekly grocery shopping trips and plan my meals out for the week so I don’t have to make multiple trips, but when it’s only a 5 minute drive down the road the incentive to do that kind of planning just isn’t there. I decided I wanted to bring some sort of side dish that included vegetables for today’s Mother’s Day gathering at my parent’s house because the menu as of yesterday afternoon consisted of “meat for the grill”. After surveying the fridge it quickly became apparent that a trip to good ‘ole Hopewell Farm was necessary. About 20 minutes later I had the goods:
This is the kind of dish that can honestly be made with whatever veggies you want or have. Hate onions? Omit them. My dad hates cucumbers but I’m putting them in anyway. He can eat around them. It’s not Father’s Day after all.
Next step? Wash & chop. That’s it, seriously.
Look at those knife skills! For some reason I find chopping/dicing vegetables to be incredibly relaxing. I actually look forward to nights when dinner requires a bunch of prep like this so I can turn on some music and dice away with a glass of wine next to the cutting board. Is that weird?
The other element to this side dish is wheatberries. Well, today it’s wheatberries. This is actually a dish that my mom started making a few years back with orzo pasta. I didn’t have any orzo though and any grain will do so I subbed out the orzo for wheatberries instead. I like the chewy texture better actually. Brown rice, barley, any sort of pasta will do though. Use your imagination. Depending on the cooking time for whatever grain you choose you should probably get that going right now if you haven’t already. Wheatberries are simple. Put them in a small sauce pan, cover with water, bring to a boil and then simmer for at least 30 minutes. I gave mine about 45. 30 is good if you want an intense “chew” factor going on. 45 is a little safer. At the end of the 45 minutes, they’ll have mostly absorbed all the water you put in, but if there is any excess just drain it and set the wheatberries aside.
As you’re dicing up your veggies just start throwing them into a large mixing bowl. Once the wheatberries are cooked and drained, add them to the bowl as well. A few more additions and you’re done.
Love my potted herbs. This is parsley, but you could use whatever fresh herbs you’re feeling or have on hand. Basil or cilantro would work well too. If I’m going for more of a Mexican theme I would’ve used black beans instead of chickpeas, thrown in some olives, and subbed out the parsley for cilantro.
At this point you can refrigerate the mix overnight if you’re prepping for the next day (like I was) or you can whisk up the dressing and be done.
Dressing I used:
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- juice of one lemon
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- salt/pepper to taste
The dressing can be altered to your liking. Sometimes I use balsamic vinegar. If I were rolling with the Mexican theme there would be some lime juice in there. Just taste as you’re going along and modify as needed. Pour the dressing into the large mixing bowl with the veggies and wheatberries and mix it up.