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Wheat Berries and Garbanzos with Lemon-Tahini Dressing

By , from the Culinate Kitchen collection


At a couple of farmers’ markets in Portland, Tastebud Farm makes a fantastic lamb sandwich with pita, wheat berries, and greens. I love the wheat-berry salad as much (if not more) than the whole ensemble. That dish inspired this salad, which makes a great main dish served with pita bread. If you like more of a bite to your salads, feel free to substitute red onion for the green onions.



2 cups uncooked wheat berries
3 cups cooked garbanzo beans (rinsed if canned)
½ cup House Vinaigrette (or ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil, the juice of one lemon, and two minced cloves of garlic, combined)
1 large lemon, zest and juice
½ cup chopped green onions (with greens)
½ cup chopped Italian parsley
~ Salt to taste
4 cups salad greens


2 Tbsp. sesame tahini
2 Tbsp. warm water
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
¾ cup plain low-fat yogurt
~ Pinch of cayenne pepper
~ Salt to taste


  1. Make the wheat berries: Soak the wheat berries overnight or do a quick soak: In a large pot, bring 5 cups of water to a boil. Stir in wheat berries, cover, and turn off heat. Allow berries to sit for an hour. To cook, bring water to a boil, turn down to a simmer, and cook until berries are tender, 20 to 30 minutes. To test for tenderness, remove a berry from the pot and, after allowing to cool for a bit, bite into it. It should be neither crunchy nor mushy, but pleasingly soft throughout. Drain and cool wheat berries.
  2. Assemble the salad: In a large bowl, toss together wheat berries, garbanzo beans, vinaigrette, lemon zest and juice, green onions, and chopped parsley. Season to taste with salt. Set aside.
  3. Make the lemon-tahini dressing: Whisk together the tahini and warm water in a medium bowl until smooth. Add the garlic, lemon juice, yogurt, and cayenne pepper, and blend until smooth. Season to taste with salt. Set aside.
  4. Serve: Spoon the wheat-berry salad onto a bed of greens and drizzle with the lemon-tahini dressing. To make into a sandwich, stuff salad and greens into split pita bread and drizzle with dressing.

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