Harvest Wheat Berry Chickpea Salad

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Harvest Wheat Berry Chickpea Salad

Many Canadians are unaware that Canada is one of the world’s largest producers of the best chickpeas, lentils, wheat, durum, and mustard seeds found anywhere – 80-90% of which are exported to global markets outside of Canada. And yet surprisingly, Canada’s grocery shelves are filled with imported chickpeas and lentils and pasta identified “Product of Italy” but made using Canada’s premium durum wheat. Meet Grain, a Vancouver company founded by two women with a dream to connect Canadian farmers with consumers by sourcing, packaging and selling high quality dry goods such as lentils, chickpeas, wheat berries and quinoa directly from Canadian farmers, each farmer highlighted on their beautiful packages.

This month’s nutritious recipe highlights two of their premium Canadian products – wheat berries, simply the whole grain which you will be more familiar with in its ground form of whole wheat flour, and chickpeas. I’ll admit to usually using tinned chickpeas when called for in a recipe, but was astounded to taste the creamy texture and delicious difference when cooking my own. The process is simple, but does require pre-planning as the beans need an overnight soak.

Be sure to also seek out a Canadian mustard, my personal favorite being Quebec’s Maison Orphee. Our thanks to all of you committed to supporting hard-working Canadian farmers, please enjoy this recipe which showcases the bounty of the many excellent Canadian grown products available to us.

Ingredients

Harvest Wheat Berry Chickpea Salad:

1 cup dry GRAIN Wheat Berries

4 cups water

2 tbsp Bragg’s apple cider vinegar

2 cups cooked GRAIN Kabuli Chickpeas

1 cup dried cranberries

1 cup toasted slivered Almonds

1 apple or Bosc pear, chopped

1 cup feta or firm goat cheese, cubed small,

3 cups chopped kale (curly or lacinato)

 

Dressing:

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup John Greek  white balsamic vinegar,  or white wine vinegar

(no need to add sugar if using white balsamic as it’s already naturally sweet from the aging process)

1 shallot, minced finely

1 tbsp Maison Orphee Dijon mustard

1 tbsp sugar (do not add if using white balsamic vinegar)

1 tsp salt

Method

First put up the wheat berries to cook with 4 cups water, and the apple cider vinegar. Bring to a boil, and turn heat to medium-high. Simmer (covered) for 45-60 minutes until round and plumping. The vinegar helps to soften the wheat so don’t skip this step. If time allows, once the wheat berries have softened during the allotted cook time, you can keep them soaking in the cooking water (with the heat turned off and the lid still on) for up to an hour, as this will continue the softening process even further.

While the wheat berries cook, combine the dressing ingredients and mix with the cooked chickpeas to marinate. Prepare the remaining ingredients and set aside.

When the wheat berries are soft, drain and rinse. Allow to cool for a few minutes. When cool enough to handle, mix all of the ingredients together, tasting to adjust salt.

This salad will keep well for weekday lunches. Just store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.