Mediterranean Wheatberry Salad with Lentils and Chickpeas
Once we decided to go for a picnic in Palm Springs. For our picnic I decided to go simple and Mediterranean. We started off with some wine, cheese, and bread from a local Italian deli. We then enjoyed a marinated olive, fennel, and orange appetizer I had made, and finished with a savory Mediterranean Wheatberry Salad with Lentils and Chickpeas.
Since we had already eaten quite a bit by the time we got to the wheatberry salad, I thought nobody would want it. I was wrong. After a few comments like, "Mmmm this is so good" and "Are you gonna finish that?" I wished I had made more. (It's the curse of being female and Italian. You NEVER feel as though you've made enough food.)
Since that day, both my mom and I have made this salad numerous times. In fact, Mom called this morning and said she had just made a double batch of it for a picnic she is going to on Saturday.
That's why it's the fifth installation of my Satisfying Super Salads series. Today's super ingredient is wheatberries, a wonderfully chewy, nutty flavored whole grain that is both protein and calcium rich.
Tossed with lentils and chickpeas (two fiber and protein powerhouses), this is one seriously healthy salad. With briny kalamata olives, savory sun-dried tomatoes and fragrant fresh herbs, the result is a pleasing medley of bold Mediterranean flavors and textures that will keep you satiated long after you've finished eating.
Enjoy it as a vegetarian main dish, or add sauteed pork, chicken, or shrimp. It's also a great side dish with grilled fish, and even works as a stuffing in peppers and zucchini.
I usually triple or quadruple the recipe because this makes the most delicious left-over lunch. In general, I am NOT a fan of left-overs, but this is one of those dishes that actually tastes better after it sits a day or two. Plus then you won't have to worry about anybody fighting over the last serving.
Mediterranean Wheatberry Salad with Lentils and Chickpeas Recipe
1/2 cup dry wheatberries**
1/2 cup brown lentils
1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
12 sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced
2 small red bell peppers, thinly sliced
12 olives (Kalamata or Cerignola), sliced
2 tablespoons feta cheese
2 tablespoons pistachios, walnuts, or pine nuts