Bringing lunch to work can sometimes be the only way you’re guaranteed to eat healthy for the entire day. That’s because when forced to put something together for lunch, it tends to be quick, simple, and good for you.
Salads are a big hit.
So is soup.
And veggie wraps, carrots & dip, yogurt, smoothies, almonds…
We always eat better when we choose what goes into our lunch tote, right?! But the key is that it doesn’t have to be boring.. the same old thing every day.
In honor of my new series, Winter’s Delights, and of my new job, I thought I’d share this make-ahead salad that fills you up till dinner. And by “filling you up” I mean with slow-digesting proteins – not pounds! If you eat this every day with your other staple lunch snacks, I bet you will feel a little “lighter” come the weekend. Just in time for the fruit snacks & popcorn for date night at the movies!
Wheat berries are a true whole grain and are used to make flour by grinding them down. They are filled with nutrients and cook as easily as rice. When cooked they have a chewy texture and have an “earthy & nutty” flavor. Because they are a kernel, virtually none of the nutrients are stripped away when eaten whole. A cup of cooked wheat berries has about 300 calories and is packed with fiber, protein and iron. If you enjoy sprouts on salads and sandwiches, you can add water and grow your own wheat sprouts! These tasty sprouts are loaded with vitamin E, a cell-protecting antioxidant, and magnesium, which is good for healthy bones and muscles.
What makes them a healthy alternative to a piled-high sandwich for lunch is all that protein and fiber – they tend to be slow-digesting and therefore keep you fuller longer, preventing you from gorging on that side of fries… or that muffin sitting in the break room. And that fiber? Well it will keep you regular, which is always a plus!
This recipe is actually my version of a grocery store’s deli salad that I tasted not that long ago. They kindly printed out the ingredients and I went home and concocted my own version, which tastes just like the real thing! I hope you try this – It is affordable and a great way to eat your way into that bikini in summer!
Wheat Berry Salad
- 1 cup hard red winter-wheat berries
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1/2 cup chopped shallots
- zest of one lemon
- zest of one orange
- juice of one orange
- 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- 1/2 – 2/3 cup of crumbled Ricotta Salata Cheese
- 1 cup packed spinach leaves
- salt & pepper
Rinse and drain wheat berries into a bowl and then put in a meduim-large saucepan. Add chicken stock, making sure the wheat berries are covered by a few inches. Bring to boil, then cover and simmer over medium-low heat until berries are tender, about 45min-one hour. You may need to add more stock (or water) during this time to make sure they don’t dry out.
Meanwhile, to make the citrus dressing, place the chopped shallots in a small bowl. Add in the zest of one orange and one lemon.Then slice the orange in half and squeeze the fresh juice into the bowl with the zest and shallots. Do the same with the lemon, but only add 1 Tbsp. of the lemon juice. Cover the bowl and place in fridge for the flavors to congeal while the wheat berries cook.
From a pre-packaged bag, measure 1/2 of sliced almonds and place in a serving bowl. Then cut the ricotta salata cheese into chunks and crumble into even smaller pieces, placing them in the serving bowl as well.
Once the wheat berries reaching a chewy texture, turn off the stove and drain them into the serving bowl with the cheese and almonds. Add in the citrus dressing and spinach leaves. Mix it all together until combined and serve immediately, or refrigerate until the next day. I personally love it chilled!