A hearty salad filled with flavor, texture, and nutrition.
When I as at the market recently, I came across two ingredients I’d not seen before. The first, fresh sprouted garbanzo beans, and the second, jarred baby artichokes, really tiny they were!
I’ve sprouted many types of seeds and beans, but it never occurred to me to sprout a garbanzo bean; I’m not sure why not! I thought they would be a lovely and really nutritious idea for a salad, and they were.
Always looking for something different
The tiny little baby artichokes also looked really delicious, so in my recipe-creating mind, I tossed them in too.
When I got home, I thought I would use couscous as my salad base, but my eyes fell on a little bag of hard red winter wheat berries from the Nitty Gritty Grain Company here in Vermont. They may be hard to source a where you are, so substitute any red winter wheat berry.
A Perfect Protein Salad
When I think of wheat berries, my mind goes back to my old hippie days when I often made The Perfect Protein Salad from my well-used copy of The Moosewood Cookbook. It was the first thing I ever made with wheat berries, and I loved them immediately. That recipe used both mustard and cider vinegar in the dressing, so I included them both in my recipe as a nod to Mollie Katzen.
Loaded with nutrition
Wheat berries are the whole grain –– bran, grain, and endosperm. They are extremely nutritious, loaded with protein and fiber, vitamins, and minerals, including iron. Sweet and nutty in flavor, chewy in texture when cooked, they can be used as a rice substitute, tossed in salads and soups, or used as a breakfast dish. They are inexpensive, filling, and quite tasty.
Their only drawback is that they take up to an hour to cook, a little less time if you soak them overnight. However, my pressure cooker came to the rescue since I hadn’t soaked them previously.
Cooking away while we have tea
I tossed them in the cooker with double the amount of water, a sliced onion, a little salt and pepper, and a bay leaf. I processed at high for 30 minutes and let the steam release naturally. They were perfect, and I had more than enough time to prep everything else and have a cup of tea while they were cooking.
The oranges in my fruit bowl asked to be included, as did the lovely fresh chives and parsley I had sitting in a vase on my windowsill.
Flavorful and Balanced
The salad was delicious and beautifully balanced. The orange was delightful, and the next day, the first thing to scent the air when I took the top off the container. Ah!
The ingredients here are just a suggestion, use what you have in your pantry and what you like. The garbanzos added an almost crunchy element here; if you can’t find the sprouted ones, just use regular canned, or substitute another bean. If you can’t find the tiny little artichokes, just chop up full-sized ones, or even leave them out.
If you are like me, there has to be a really compelling reason to skip to the market for just one or two ingredients, so making do is the order of the day, just like it was way back when.
Wheat Berry Salad with Oranges, Sprouted Garbanzos, and Baby Artichokes
- 2 tbsp. grainy mustard
- 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 2 tbsp. cider vinegar
- Zest and juice of 2 organic oranges
- 1 tbsp. maple syrup or honey
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- A few shakes of hot sauce
- 2 cups cooked wheat berries
- 1 cup sprouted garbanzo beans
- 1 cup baby artichokes
- 1 cup purple onion, minced
- 2 tbsp. chives, minced
- ¼ cup flat-leafed parsley, chopped
- Segments from the two oranges
- Poppy seeds
Supreme the oranges. First zest them, reserving the zest for the dressing in a medium bowl. After doing so, cut the polar ends off the oranges so they sit flat. With a sharp knife, remove the peeling by slicing down and around, getting most of the pith in the process. Holding the orange in non-dominant hand, use that sharp knife to slice between the membranes of the orange, releasing the inner segments. Once finished, squeeze any juice into the bowl with the zest, and set the segments aside.
Combine the rest of the dressing ingredients with the zest and juice and whisk or, alternately, you can shake everything well in a covered jar. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the wheat berries, beans, artichokes, onion, chives, and parsley. Mix well, then add the dressing and mix again. Season with salt and pepper and taste. Correct any of the seasoning to where you want it.
Place in your serving bowl and garnish with the orange segments and poppyseeds or other seed of choice. Delicious as a whole meal served atop a bed of lettuce, or as a side dish.
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