Traveling New York, I can’t tell you the number of times I craved just a good hearty salad. We ate well on our recent trip, but it always goes that a few meals in and I’m gently reminded by circumstance that I’m not on a ‘foodie-only’ holiday but on a family holiday, one where I’m bound to roll with what the collective group feels up to, and ensuring we all get to do and eat what we want. With four of us in the family, and with a span of ages and food preferences, we’ve a few safe zones and restaurant styles we frequent when traveling. It means there are times when it’s another pizza joint (woe is me in NYC right?), or a simple bite that has to happen now – to hold steady another blood sugar crash while stuck in an unknown neighbourhood – instead of what I’d really like to do, which usually just involves quality greens, delicious dressing and a few grains or beans thrown in for good measure (and good nutrition). I’m sure you’ve all been there too, as such are the joys of traveling with a family.
Travel or no travel, even here at home, it’s tough at times to find my favourite things to eat, but thankfully that’s changing all the time for the better! It’s a good thing.
I’m sharing this salad here today in parallel with the Journal over at GRAIN, as I wanted to introduce you, my readers, to the content we’ve been creating there. My posts here were put on hold for a while as I sorted out the rhythm of this new creative flow, and I’m glad to be re-inspired, renewed, and lightened in the most authentic and meaningful way I’ve experienced in years. And I mean that, it’s been years!
My lighter take on food and the ‘less is more’ ethos has thankfully found it’s way into the rest of my life, and one stumble onto the right path led me to a magical place: straight to holistic minimalism where space to breathe, and non-attachement to material possessions, is really, truly, the gift that keeps on giving. As of my return from New York, the house has been purged from top to bottom, from corner to corner, bookshelves wiped clean and the basement emptied. Stuff has been sorted, donated, gifted. My years of having ‘kid stuff’ – just in case – are officially over, and the important stuff set aside to be cherished in future years. I never considered myself a hoarder or collector, and I do take pride in what I have always considered to be a relatively simple approach to life. Little did I know though, that I was harbouring a truckload (literally) of stuff that was hanging over my head, cluttering my space, and prohibiting energy flow in my body, mind, spirit, and dwelling. Without knowing it, it was affecting all of us, as our new lighter space seems to have everyone and everything running delightfully more efficiently.
I’ll be sharing more as the months pass on, but I hope you’ll enjoy this wonderful, tasty salad in the mean time. Make a big batch and keep it on hand for days when you don’t want to cook. I love seeing more and more whole grain salads and sprouts dishes popping up here and there. One try – and you’ll be hooked too 🙂
Greek Wheat Berry + Chickpea Salad
3 cups cooked Kabuli Chickpeas
1 cup Wheat Berries
1 heaping cup minced red onion
1 heaping cup chopped English or Persian cucumber
1-2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
1 chopped red bell pepper
1 cup Kalamata olives (pitted or whole)
1 heaping cup chopped or crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
3 tablespoons lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
3/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp salt, or to taste
2 tbsp sugar
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
First, cook the wheat berries by combining them with at least 6 cups of cold water and 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar (or other light vinegar) in a large pot. Bring to a boil and simmer at medium-high heat with the lid on for 50-60 minutes, until the wheat berries are plump and tender. Drain.
While the wheat berries cook, prepare and combine all of the salad ingredients in a large mixing bowl – reserving some feta and herbs for garnish. Whisk the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside. When the wheat berries have cooled enough to handle, add them to the rest of the ingredients and pour the dressing over top. Mix well to thoroughly coat.
Serve potluck style at any gathering. This salad will keep well in the fridge for up to a week, and only gets better with time.