Wheatberry Beet Arugula Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

This salad is inspired by a recent trip to the farmers’ market where I picked out some fresh, local beets (my #1) and arugula. I did not have a recipe in mind for these ingredients, but after some pondering and a quick peek in the fridge and pantry, it came to me.

I had some wheatberries in my cupboard that I had been intending to use for some time. I love the chew of wheatberries- such a satisfying texture! Not to mention that wheatberries are loaded with nutrition- lots of fibre and phytochemicals. Have you ever had them? You should!!!!

This salad is one that eats like a meal. With protein from the chickpeas and walnuts, loads of fibre from the wheatberries and veggies- this salad will keep you satisfied all afternoon!

I also love that this recipe hits all the flavour notes! The earthy beets, peppery arugula, salty feta, and sweet & spicy candied nuts, all tossed in the simplest balsamic vinaigrette. Salads can’t get much better than this in my books!

3/4 cup wheatberries, cooked according to package directions, cooled
3 medium-large sized beets, roasted and sliced into wedges (see below for roasting instructions)
1 19-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4 cups arugula, lightly packed
1 cup radish sprouts (or pea shoots, broccoli sprouts, etc.) – optional
1/2 cup feta, crumbled

For the candied walnuts:
1 tbsp. coconut oil
1.5 tbsp. maple syrup
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
Plenty of black pepper
1 cup raw walnuts

For the balsamic vinaigrette:
1/4 cup olive oil
1.5 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 tsp Dijon
Pinch of salt
Black pepper, to taste

1) Prepare wheatberries according to package directions. Wheatberries typically take about 45-60 minutes or so to cook.
2) While wheatberries are cooking, roast beets. Preheat oven to 400F. Leave skin on beets and scrub well until clean. Place in  a sheet of foil, drizzle with olive oil, and wrap tightly to close. Place on a baking sheet (in case it leaks). Roast in preheated oven for 45-60 minutes, or until soft all the way through (cooking time will vary depending upon the size of the beets).
3) Meanwhile, prepare nuts. Melt coconut oil in microwave for about 20 seconds. Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine.  Place on a lined baking sheet. Bake in a 350F oven for 12-15 minutes, tossing halfway through. The nuts will crisp as they cool.
4) Prepare vinaigrette by placing all vinaigrette ingredients into a mason jar, closing lid tightly, and giving it a good shake. If you don’t have a mason jar, mix dressing in a bowl and whisk well until emulsified.
5) Put it all together! Place cooked & cooled wheatberries, beets and candied nuts into a large bowl. Add arugula, sprouts, feta and chickpeas. Toss gently to combine. Drizzle with vinaigrette and toss again.

*Note: If not eating immediately, keep vinaigrette separate until ready to serve.