Project Work Lunch: Wheatberry Salad

As I prepare to reenter the working world after an extended summer break, I've been working on recipes for dishes that I can make in advance and bring with me to work.  I've been experimenting on C over the summer, and soups have easily become the standard work lunch, but I decided to try something different this week.

This is a salad that can be eaten on its own or added to a mixture of greens and herbs to make a tasty and filling lunch.  The recipe makes a lot of salad, but if you have a couple people in the house taking it to work everyday, you'll finish it in no time.

The recipe is adapted from Ina Garten's Wheatberry Salad recipe with a few changes to cut down on calories and boost the salad's protein content without sacrificing the flavor of the dish.  Ina is no doubt the Queen of Flavor, and so I started out with her flavor and vegetable combination.  You can feel free to substitute different vegetables to make this recipe your own. Giada De Laurentiis also has a sweeter version of this salad that includes strawberries, goat cheese, and orange juice in the dressing.

Wheatberry Salad (Makes about 10 servings)
2 cups hard winter wheatberries (I use the kind in the bulk section at Whole Foods)
Kosher salt
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
Zest and juice of one lemon
1 red pepper, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
2 medium carrots, peeled (if necessary) and diced into 1/2 inch pieces
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed (about 1.5 cups)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Optional add-ins:  chopped scallions, chopped parsley, chopped basil, mixed greens, and any other salad mix-ins you have available.  

1.  Bring 6 cups of salted water to a boil.  Add the wheatberries and lower the heat so that the wheatberries are simmering.  Cook the wheatberries uncovered for about 45-50 minutes, until they are soft enough for your taste (they should still be somewhat chewy).  Drain the wheatberries.
 2.  While the wheatberries are cooking, you have time to chop the rest of the vegetables for the salad.
3.  Sauté the red onion in 1 teaspoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes, until the onion is soft and translucent.  Turn off the heat and add the balsamic vinegar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and remaining teaspoon of olive oil. Mix to combine.  
Add the red pepper, carrot, garbanzo beans, drained wheatberries, black pepper, and about 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon of salt.  
Adjust seasonings to taste.  Transfer the salad to a storage bowl (or multiple small storage containers for lunch portions) and add in any freshly chopped herbs or chopped scallions.  
4.  Refrigerate for about 30 minutes before serving so that the wheatberries can absorb the sauce.  You can eat the salad on its own or serve it over mixed greens or spinach with any toppings that sound good.  

I enjoyed the salad on top of spinach with tomatoes, walnuts, goat cheese, and a few dried cranberries. I also added a little bit of my favorite dressing to the spinach before putting the wheatberry salad on top.  

Assuming you get about 10 servings total, here are the nutrition facts for one serving of Wheatberry Salad

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 93 g
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 
Trans Fat 
Total Carbohydrates 
Dietary Fiber 
Vitamin A 48%Vitamin C 29%
Calcium 2%Iron 19%


  1. Can't wait to have this for lunch today!


  2. This looks fantastic!!! I can't wait to try it out!