Blog Flog: Wheat Berry & Chickpea Salad with Spinach, Apples and Feta

Wheat Berry & Chickpea Salad 1

Is it weird that I get more excited about winter salads than the summer ones? I love hardy salads that give my jaw a workout. (At least part of me is working out, right?) Every winter I vow to keep a grainy, beany salad in my fridge to prevent myself from living on bagels and raisin toast (a hazard/benefit of having my office in the spare bedroom), and in fact, these kinds of salads actually improve after a few days in the fridge. Also- feeling virtuous over lunch is enough to keep me feeling more or less on the ball during the afternoon, sometimes propelling me out to do a power walk. Eating healthy things begets eating healthy things (and doing healthy things). I even organized my office this weekend, which was a monumental task. I blame the salads.

Wheat berry & chickpea salad 3

I love adding chopped apples to salads – not only are they always around, they add sweetness, tartness and crunch to just about any salad, from spring mix to slaw, and vinaigrettes keep them from turning brown. And so because it’s apple month, let this serve as a reminder that apples make all salads better. (A few weeks ago I made a wilted spinach salad with bacon, apples and a mustardy cider vinaigrette – and sorry I didn’t share, but go try that combo.) Use any variety you like, but I prefer those with more character – pink ladies, ambrosias, honeycrisps, sunrise if it’s early in the season and you can find them. Most often I default to galas – W’s favourite, always in the fruit bowl because he eats one sliced every night while reading books.

Wheat berry & chickpea salad 2

Wheat berries, if you haven’t had them, are chewy, nutty little whole grains you boil for a long time, until they get soft enough to chew. You can buy them in the bulk section of health food stores and often in bags alongside the rice and other grains in grocery stores. They’re cheap and will last a long time, and are very gratifying to pour into a vintage jar and stick on the shelf alongside your other pulses and grains. Feel free to swap barley, or cook quinoa however you like to do it, or use cold rice or couscous, or ditch the starch and add some finely shredded kale and Brussels sprouts. Just don’t forget the apples!

Wheat Berry & Chickpea Salad with Spinach, Apples and Feta

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February 10, 2017


1/2 cup wheat berries

2 loosely packed cups baby spinach, thinly sliced

1 cup cooked or canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained

2 celery stalks, chopped

1 apple, cored and diced

1/2 cup Italian parsley, leaves chopped (stems discarded)

1/2 cup crumbled feta

salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1/2 cup almonds, toasted and roughly chopped


3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

1/3 cup canola or olive oil

1-2 tsp. grainy mustard

1 tsp. honey


1Put the wheat berries into a medium saucepan and add enough water to cover them by a couple inches. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, or until they’re tender. Drain and set aside to cool.

2?Put the wheat berries into a bowl with the spinach, chickpeas, celery, apple, parsley and feta. In a small bowl or jar, whisk or shake together the vinegar, oil, mustard and honey. Drizzle over the salad and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with almonds just before serving.

3Serves 4-6.


*Thanks to BC Tree Fruits for asking me to help celebrate Apple Month – watch for a new apple recipe every Friday in February!


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12 comments on “Blog Flog: Wheat Berry & Chickpea Salad with Spinach, Apples and Feta

  1. Nicolle in Calgary
    February 10, 2017 at 6:10 pm

    Hi Julie!

    I “just so happened” to have some wheat berries in my pantry, begging to be used. I bought them on a whim awhile back, not even sure what I would use them for. I was thrilled when I saw this recipe! This salad is SO good- like a meal on its own. Right at this moment (even as I am type), we are enjoying this salad, alongside your “pulled pork tacos” recipe (another one that has become a family favourite).

    Keep ’em coming Julie! 🙂

    • Julie
      February 11, 2017 at 9:50 am

      YAY! I’m so glad to hear this! Yes, wheat berries are the sort of thing you pick up and then have in the back of your cupboard for years – you don’t see a lot of recipes that call for them!

  2. stacey snacks
    February 11, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    Made it with farro…..loved it!


    • Julie
      February 12, 2017 at 9:48 am

      Oooh.. good idea!!

  3. CarolAG
    February 12, 2017 at 7:27 pm

    Love this salad! I used empire apples but wonder if a Granny Smith or tarter apple would be good? What apples have you or others tried?

  4. sillygirl
    February 16, 2017 at 7:16 am

    I made this and used kiwis instead of apples – I’m not a fan of waldorf salad because of the texture of apples but wanted the tart flavor plus I added some onion – I think it helps round out the flavor. We loved it! Even had some leftover yesterday and it was still good! This will be a favorite.

  5. Joy
    February 19, 2017 at 11:35 pm

    I do not see any apples in the recipe? How many? Thanks!

    • Julie
      February 20, 2017 at 9:19 am

      Yep, there’s one in there! I usually use a medium-large one!

  6. Karin Baumgardner
    March 20, 2017 at 10:35 pm

    Sorry… but i’ve read and reread this recipe intending to try it… and i don’t see any apple in it either! But hey, if you say so i’m an experienced enough cook that i see they would be logical to add. Maybe double check your recipe Julie!

    • Julie
      March 20, 2017 at 10:57 pm

      Ha – crazy! It was linking to a different but similar recipe. I kept going and checking the recipe in the back end and the apple was in there.. it just wasn’t embedding the right one. Sorry! Fixed now!

  7. Karin Baumgardner
    March 21, 2017 at 5:14 pm

    Oh thank you so much Julie! I’ve had this up on my screen for days intending to make it. And read it often… so i was thinking i was losing my marbles! Hubby will have to do the chopping now, i broke my arm last week. Thank goodness left one. & After PI Day hahaha! Dang i’m gonna go into baking withdrawal! 🙁

    • Julie
      March 21, 2017 at 8:43 pm

      Sorry about that! I thought I was losing mine, seeing the apples on the list in the back end! 🙂

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