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what’s for lunch: wheatberry salad

I made an obscene amount of wheatberry salad for my lunches this week.  But I may be eating it for the rest of the month if it doesn’t disintegrate into sludge.

wheatberry salad with kale, fennel, hazelnuts and orange

Does this picture give you a sense of the epic proportions of this salad?
I started out mixing things in my largest glass mixing bowl.  But had to resort to the bad mama-jama salad bowl to finish.

It’s chock full of good, seasonal, good-for-you ingredients, though… there’s no such thing as too much of it.  And it’s pretty awesome.
Wheatberries are hardy little buggers, so this salad really should hold up.  You can change up the ingredients to reflect what you like best, or what’s in season, but it’s generally easy to put together and once you’ve created a vat of it, it’s a happy little lunch.

look at all the goodness!

What Goes In
2 cups of dried wheatberries (you can find in the bulk section of Whole Foods)
2 bunches of dinosaur kale (that’s the nubbly, pebbly one – what a dinosaur hide might look like)
2 oranges, zest the rinds and then cut up segments of both
1 cup of hazelnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped in the food processor
1 bulb of fennel, cut into eighths and then thinly sliced
1/8th of a red onion, thinly sliced
6 ounces of goat cheese
1/4 cup of white wine or champagne vinegar
1/4 cup of olive oil
salt and pepper

What to do
– Cook the wheatberries – it takes kind of a long time.  Berries and about 8 cups of water go into a medium pot.  Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce to simmer.  Give it about 45 minutes to an hour.  Keep an eye out and make sure  you don’t run out of water.  The wheatberries are done when they are chewy, but should not be too hard.  But you decide how done you like them.
– Chop up kale.  I was feeling meticulous and I removed the ribs of the kale, but you could potentially leave them in.
– If you’re not familiar with segmenting citrus, you may want to skip this element and maybe just squeeze the juice as a part of the dressing.  Segmenting citrus can be messy and is a pain in the tuchis, but is something that a Maggie will do anyway.  But definitely use the orange zest!
– Thinly slice your fennel and the red onion.
– Toast the hazelnuts if they came raw, and give the hazelnuts a chop chop in the processor.   Other nuts would also totally work.
– Start dumping stuff in the biggest bowl you have.  Break up the goat cheese into little globs and start mixing.  The cheese should start to break up and turn into more of a coating than little separate cheese bits.
– Add your vinegar and oil, salt and pepper, and mix.  Taste it and add more salt.  Taste some more, reflect, and add more seasoning if you need to.

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