A few weeks ago our friend Lisa asked me if I would try to include some ideas for her take-to-work lunches on my blog. I thought about what was already here and realized that it is true that I don’t usually focus on healthy, portable, simple, yet delicious lunch recipes. Part of the reason is my tendency (and good fortune) to usually eat lunch at home, combined with my love of culinary challenges. Lisa would rather focus her energies in other places, but she might just lose interest in eating altogether if she doesn’t add a few new lunch dishes to her repertoire. So this recipe is for you, Lisa… although I have to say that it is so fresh and delicious, I think everyone else will enjoy it too.
Wheat Berry Waldorf Salad, adapted from Gourmet Today
Look folks, this Salad could not be simpler (and it is a MAJOR improvement over the mayonnaise-ladden waldorfs of yesteryear), the only catch is that the winter wheat berries take a long time to cook. Just find something else to do while they simmer away for an hour and a half. By the time you chop of the apples and celery and wash and dry the lettuce, you might have time to watch a couple episodes of Modern Family on Hulu. Enjoy!
4 cups water
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup wheat berries (whole-grain wheat– chewy and delicious little grains)*
2 tablespoons walnuts, toasted and chopped
1 Gala or McIntosh apple
1 Granny Smith apple
1 celery rib, sliced thin
2/3 cup packed fresh mint leaves, washed well, spun dry, and chopped
1/2 cup dried sour cherries**
1/4 cup golden raisins
2 scallions, chopped (I used a handful of chives)
3 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar (you could also use lemon juice)
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
3/4 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
8 Boston lettuce leaves
*available at natural and specialty foods shops
**available at specialty foods shops and supermarkets
I n a saucepan bring water and salt to a boil and add wheat berries. Simmer wheat berries, covered, 1 1/2 hours, or until tender (they will still be a little chewy). Drain wheat berries in a colander and cool to room temperature.
Cut apples into 1/2-inch chunks and in a large bowl toss with wheat berries and all remaining ingredients except lettuce and walnuts. Season salad with salt and pepper and serve over lettuce, sprinkle walnuts over the top.