Chewy wheat berries, sweet pears and crunchy almonds make an easy pack-able lunch bowl.

This bowl speaks to me.

I am a salad eater. And that might be cliché, expected or routine even. Because actually it is all those things. Almost every day – monday through friday – I pack a salad for my lunch. And I don’t care what you say, I like it. And while I’d like to think I have the whole “interesting salad making” technique down, sometimes it feels rather ordinary.

This Wheat Berry Lunch Bowl knocked me out of my routine. A bowl full of textures and flavours that come together in what I think might be a perfect combination of fresh and crunchy. Which just make me feel like I got it all together, ya know what I mean? Like I’ve got this. I’ve got this salad in my lunch and I’ve got everything else too.

Wheat berries are one of my favourite grains. They have the most wonderful chewy texture and hold up very nicely in dishes like this. And they don’t mind hanging out for a couple of days in a vinaigrette.  Which is a true bonus. But the thing is they take some time to cook. Definitely not something you can throw together on a whim. But, I’ve discovered that most grains cook very nicely in a rice cooker. For real – there is no rule that says you can only put rice in a rice cooker 🙂 who knew!  If I’m thinking ahead, I might throw some grain or other in while I’m clearing the kitchen after dinner. Once cooked, they are ready to use in dishes like this throughout the week. Sometimes I throw extra cooked grains in the freezer if I’m not sure I’ll use them up right away. They will keep for a couple of months.

Wheat berries are not gluten-free so if you must stay away from gluten, you will have to sub in something else. Quinoa or a medium or short whole grain brown rice works too.

A few notes:
  • This salad keeps well for a few days refrigerated and makes a great packed lunch. Pears will darken a bit with the dressing but texture and flavour stays fresh.
  • Wheat berries take a while to cook, I like to soak mine overnight to remove some of the phytates and improve the absorbancy of the nutrients. Soaking also speeds up cooking time, but is not necessary for good results if you don’t have time to soak, or just can’t plan ahead.
  • Use a rice cooker to cook the grains! Place soaked and drained grains in the bowl of the rice cooker, add required liquid per package directions, set and leave it be. Come back to perfectly cooked grains.
  • You will need about 1/2 cup uncooked wheat berries to get 1 cup, as required for this recipe.
  • Substitute apple for the pear if you’d like.
  • I used Tamari toasted almonds. You can use plain toasted almonds like I have noted below. Tamari almonds add a nice bit of umami to the salad. You can buy them here or make your own.

Simple Pear Wheat Berry Salad

A quick and hearty one bowl salad. Perfect for packed lunches.
Prep Time10 mins
Total Time10 mins
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups cooked wheat berries
  • 1 red pepper diced
  • 1 cup of sliced radishes a small bunch
  • 3 green onions thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup toasted almonds chopped
  • 1 pear cored and chopped

for dressing:

  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • In a large salad bowl combine all dressing ingredients and whisk to combine.
  • Add salad ingredients on top of dressing - wheat berries, red pepper, radish, green onions, parsley, almonds and chopped pear. Toss well to combine. Serve immediately or store, refridgerated in an air tight container for several days.
Trish Cowper | the infinebalance food blog