Everyone always says that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

Not to go against six thousand years of research.  But I’m a rabble-rouser.  This is what I do.

And so I maintain that, yeah, breakfast is important.  But lunch?  Lunch is totally the new breakfast.

You see, for me at least, breakfast is easy.  I eat the same thing every day.  There’s no temptation or choice involved.  It is what it is.  Breakfast.  Just eat it and eat it well, and you’ll be good to go.


But lunch, on the other hand?  Lunch can be a breaking point.  It can make or break your whole day.

It’s that critical moment where you’ve been working for a few hours, or sitting in class, or sitting in your bed watching 5 hours of lecture, or just come home from a 20 mile run.  And you’re hungry and tired and it would be so easy to just order something in, or hit up the vending machine, or eat ice cream out of the container.

And, I don’t know about you guys, but once I mess up for the day, it’s all over for the next 24 hours.  I am terrible at bouncing back and saying, “Okay, well, this meal was a disaster but the next one is going to be a nutritional rock star!”  Oh no.  Usually what happens is that the guilt invades ever fiber of my being and convinces me that I’ve done such a terrible thing to my body that I should follow it up with more terrible things.  Because…that makes sense.


I know this is a bad way to think. I’m trying to get it in check.  But till I do…it’s better to just have a lunch plan.  One that involves lots of fruits and veggies and color and whole grains.  So that I’ll feel so good about what I ate for lunch that I’ll be motivated to keep at it for the rest of the day.  Like I said.  More hinges on that midday meal than you think.  Be prepared.

I knew this salad was a keeper when I ate it the night before my 20 mile run.  And then rocked it.  My calves were virtually pain free.  And I ran the 20 miles faster than I ran my 14, 15, 16, 17, and 18 mile runs.  Which is unheard of.  Sure there were a few mental blocks along the way, but I chose to run a 15K (9.3 mile) race in the middle of it to raise money for colon cancer, which kept me motivated.  There’s something about racing that puts me into this zone where pain doesn’t exist (well, most of the time.  Unless your two pelvic stress fractures decide that they’ve had enough and finally decide to give way…yeah.  That wasn’t a fun race.), time is inconsequential, and I lose all sense of who I am or what is going on. I just run.  It’s kind of like euphoria or what I imagine being on heroin must feel like.  A runner’s high. Literally.

And then I also ate this salad after the 20 mile run. With an avocado mixed in.  Yup.  An avocado.  A whole avocado.  Gotta eat back those calories somehow!  Which is also proof that this salad is totally versatile.  Whatever veggies you have, just throw em in!  And then relish in how many vitamins and minerals you’ve practically injected into your body.  Yeah, you’re virtuous.  And you know it.


What is your favorite way to stay on track during lunch?  Feel free to write about it on your blog and link up here, or leave a message in the comments!


And check out what the other Eat.Live.Be-ers eat for lunch every day!


Back on Track Wheat Berry and Chickpea Salad
Serves 6, adapted from Oh She Glows

1 cup dry wheat berries, cooked and drained
2 cups chickpeas (or any bean of your choice!)
1 zucchini, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 cup fresh parsley, diced
4 scallions, diced
Arugula/spinach/spring greens
salt and pepper to taste

2 tbsp olive oil
3 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp tamari or soy saucce
2 tbsp lemon juice

1. In a medium bowl, soak the raw wheat berries overnight in cold water.  The next day, drain them and cook them in a medium-sized pot, covered in three inches of salted water.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium, simmering for 1 hour.  Drain and cool.

2. In a large bowl, mix together the diced veggies (zucchini, bell pepper, tomatoes, garlic, parsley, scallions).  Add in beans and stir.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients.  Set aside.

4. When the wheat berries are ready, drain and rinse and then stir into salad.  Add the dressing just before serving and toss well.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve on a bed of greens of your choice!

I am submitting this to:
Meatless Mondays hosted by Chaya of Sweet and Savory
Maniac Meatless Mondays hosted by Rebecca Jean of Midnight Maniac
Souper Sundays hosted by Deb of Kahakai Kitchen
The Hearth and Soul Blog Hop


You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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108 Responses to Back on Track Wheat Berries and Chickpea Salad…Eat.Live.Be. for a Better 2011!

  1. sofia says:

    i hear ya on breakfast – i eat one of three things every AM, and it’s nothing fancy or cooked (boiling oatmeal doesn’t count!), even on weekends. but this – this looks lovely. i never cook wheat berries but they have such a delightful texture and taste. and anything with red pepper and chick pea has gotta be good. mmmmmm.

  2. Claudie says:

    I love the colors in this salad! And the chickpeas 🙂
    I agree with you — lunch is so important, because it can really break your nutrition on some days… I always try to keep it “healthy” later in the day even if I do mess up during lunch, but it is, in fact, much harder. And not just because I know I already messed up, but also because, physically, I have a stronger desire for bad foods. Anytime my stomach is filled with too much or not so great food, it requires more. It also makes me more tired, which then leads to more “energetic” choices… In other words: bad, bad, bad, all over the place.
    My favorite and most effective way to stay on track is to plan my lunch around some task which requires me to be outside. So I eat my lunch and, before I decide to go for a second portion, I go out and do my task. This way, I can stop myself from eating too much and have enough time to really decide if I’m still hungry or not.
    The other tricks: just eating great tasting healthy food 🙂 this one always keeps me away from the great tasting UNhealthy choices heh.

  3. I love everything you have in this salad, it looks delicious! I’m with you, lunch is my favorite meal, not a breakfast fan, same as you, same every day! but for me, there’s something to be said for an occasional unhealthy breakfast at the diner 🙂

  4. Oh I love chickpeas. I use them whenever I can. You know my son actually LOVES when I pan-fry chickpeas over the stove. I sprinkle them with salt or sometimes sugar and cinnamon and he just digs right in! I just bought some truffle salt though so I am excited to pair it with chickpeas in my next dish! Love this. So healthy and flavorful!

  5. I think breakfast is one of the three most important meals of the day:) Breakfast fuels the morning part of the journey and you need more meals to continue the rest of the journey!

  6. Shannon says:

    Glad to hear you had such a great run! And as much as I need to eat breakfast to get my day off to a good start, I look forward to lunch much more. And since it’s usually a salad of some sort, this recipe is a keeper.

  7. Little Inbox says:

    Salad, salad…I need this as I’m lack of veggie intakes now a days.

  8. I’m impressed you didn’t eat the entire kitchen after that 20 mile run! Good for you! The salad looks awesome. I’d love one for lunch.

    I’m with you, breakfast is always the same, nothing tempting or bad. I usually just eat leftovers for lunch, I try not to eat too many though. New yummy food is usually for dinner here. I so look forward to lunch leftovers though. I made awesome sloppy joes last night and totally can’t wait to have one for lunch. 🙂

  9. jenna laughs says:

    This is so beautiful, Joanne! Every picture is bursting with fresh, beautiful vegetables. It makes me want to be a better person. I know you understand what I mean.

  10. I’m awful at bouncing back, too! I totally give up on a day if I eat one “bad” thing. This looks delicious and healthy — in contrast to my deep fried cake batter cookie dough post (cough cough) 😉

  11. Lauren says:

    i love huge salads like this! i’ve never added wheat berries, so i need to make some to have on hand. and i’d definitely add the avocado — it makes everything better.

    p.s. “rabble-rouser”… amazing.

  12. Unfortinately lunch is usually leftovers at work so dinner had to have been the rock star.

  13. Pam says:

    I totally agree with you, lunch makes it or breaks it for me. I also wanted to thank you for your kind comments about Scrappycat.

  14. This is just so beautiful I can hardly take it! I like to have salads like this around ALL the time because when they are accessible, I will EAT them! I would eat a bowl for breakfast, lunch AND/OR Dinner! YUM!

  15. janet says:

    I am totally loving this gorgeous, healthy, tasty salad! Veggies, greens, whole grains.. love it! It has been a while since I’ve made wheatberries, but I hopefully my kernels are still good. I will have to investigate.

    Btw, congrats on rocking your 20km! You go girl!!

  16. Joanne says:

    I feel healthier just looking at this salad. It looks amazing and would make a dinner for me. Add a slice or two of bread, a plate of this, and I’d be good to go.

  17. I make a similar salad, but I usually use jarred roasted peppers (carried at Costco) and I also like to add some olives or a few crushed capers for a bit of zing.
    And I’m going to have to disagree with you on this one. For me, lunch is almost always a Kashi Go Lean protein bar. Sure, I love real food for lunch. But what I love even more is not having to think about what I’m eating. Dinner is a different story. And breakfast and lunch over the weekends are different too. But for most of the week, I go the easy lazy route for lunch. 🙂

  18. MM says:

    I agree with everything you said about lunch v. breakfast. I love this type of dish for lunch and often make cous cous salads, bulgar salads, etc. Am always looking for more ideas. Thanks!

  19. Raina says:

    I am like you; when I eat bad, it kind of sends me down a bad eating track, but when I start eating healthy, I feel better and continue eating healthy and feeling better.

    Your salad looks great….just the thing my body needs:)

  20. This is a gorgeous looking salad which makes me feel like always eating healthy lunches! The colours are fantastic! I absolutely hate having breakfast but I try to eat oat porridge and fruits. If I fail to do so, I will have croissants in the office and then, will keep on with unhealthy lunch and dinner 🙁

  21. Mary says:

    Joanne, this is a wonderful salad. I’ve bookmarked it for future use. Have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  22. Amy says:

    So basically I shouldn’t feel bad about the bowl of cocoa pebbles I just ate for breakfast, because at lunch time I can eat a healthy salad. Got it.

    Dude. 20 miles. 20 MILES. 20. MILES. When you run like that, you can stand to eat a greasy grilled cheese for lunch. Or at least, TWO avocados.

  23. Katerina says:

    Joanne this salad is so vivid, I thought if I stretched my hand i would be able to touch it! Beautiful pictures and the salad is stunning!

  24. I love how you made this salad so mouthwatering. I’m actually salivating now. Thx for the new salad recipe. I eat some sort of salad every day for lunch, usually tuna, black bean fiesta or market salad.
    It’s true that it’s hard to get back on track after eating something icky. I do the same thing so I agree, lunch is very important to keep you feeling all kinds of good for the rest of the day!

  25. Julie says:

    I’ve never been a big fan of chickpeas, but you make them look downright palatable. And that’s saying a lot 🙂

  26. Kalyn says:

    This looks like a great lunch! And I do know what you mean about how lunch sets the tone for the rest of the day!

  27. Miriam says:

    I know!!! Every morning I am the perfect eating angel. I have 3 servings of raw fruit and a raw vegan shake of some type. That’s right, I am a raw vegan for breakfast and it has totally changed my life! Now when lunch comes? Yea, I need a plan… I’ll get right on it!
    Great salad! I’ve copied it off to try soon, looking forward to it! :), Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

  28. That Girl says:

    I really wish I could find wheat berries! I am having the hardest time!

  29. RamblingTart says:

    I’ve been on a serious chickpea kick this month, Joanne, and this salad is making me crave them all over again. 🙂 I love legume salads of all kinds, and I’m so excited to try this one, especially after reading the dressing ingredients. YUM!! 🙂

  30. sweetlife says:

    OMG, now that’s a salad..I love the idea of mixing in an avocado, but then again I would mix avcado into, a perfect pick me up for my 5 mile walks, ha what a under achiever compared to your runs!!


  31. Karen says:

    I love garbanzos. This looks like a really good and healthy salad and I’ll have it with one whole avo, too!

  32. aipi says:

    A delightful salad! So delicious looking and fresh tasting..

    US Masala

  33. Megan says:

    This salad sounds phenomenal. I’m with you about lunch… lunch totally makes or breaks my day. Too many carbs and I just want to sleep… but if I don’t bring enough to eat, I’m irritated by my grumbling stomach for the rest of the day.

  34. Maria says:

    I love wheat berries, they are just so gorgeous in salads and this sounds just perfect!

  35. Looks amazing! You take some nice photos!

  36. sra says:

    Yep, this happens to me too. If I muck up one meal, the rest of the day’s gone for me – I tell myself that nothing can make it better and eat indiscriminately for the rest of the day, because as well all know, we can get off to a fresh start the next morning 😀

    I make an effort to make interesting things for lunch and stuff that I would enjoy as leftovers for dinner – unless I make that effort, I find myself eating unsuitable stuff. But today was one of those days when I made stuff I really expected to like, with a lot of effort – and I ended up eating too much of it and it left me feeling sick so I made a mess of dinner too 🙁

  37. Suman Singh says:

    wow, salad looks so colorful and refreshing!

  38. Ada says:

    Awesome job on the 20-miler, that’s super impressive! The salad looks absolutely gorgeous and the dressing sounds delicious. I would never thought to mix soy sauce with balsamic, but I bet it adds that extra element of umami.

    You’re officially my hero for working the phrase “rabble-rouser” into a post;)

  39. Your blog and your meals are such an inspiration for me! When I grow up (OK, I’m 29) I wanna be just like you and prepare awesome lunches!

    Camila F.

  40. Swathi says:

    Colorful and healthy salad, I was planning make some bread with wheat berries, salad looks easy to put together.

  41. Big Dude says:

    I believe I’d be thin and in good shape if I ate as healthy as you do.

  42. Congratulations on the run! I could eat this salad every day for lunch. Its a beauty!

  43. This looks so delicious! I have been on a chick pea kick lately. I have been soaking them overnight and cooking them the next day. Oh so good. So this salad is just right for me. Thanks so much for the recipe!

  44. Healthy and nutricious bowl of salad:)

  45. Pam says:

    It looks like a bowl of sunshine. I love every single ingredient… simply beautiful.

  46. You are one of those very few rare people who can make healthy food delicious and look gorgeous. I feel healthier just looking at this!

  47. Kristen says:

    I Adore wheatberries. That is a fabulous looking salad.

  48. Angel7 says:

    That salad looks incredibly colorful, and chock full of nutritional value!

    When it comes to eating healthy, it is all about training your mind and body to eat the wonderfully healthy food that we have at our discretion. If we make the right food choices, we are positively investing in our health.

  49. Angela says:

    Yum! Those peppers are so pretty…they make me yearn for the farmer’s market to open.

  50. Kevin says:

    Now that is my kind of salad! It is just packed with goodness and flavour!

  51. elly says:

    Your food always looks so pretty! 🙂 I’m like you in that I always eat the same thing for breakfast, too. This looks so delicious. I’ve only recently started liking chickpeas, but I love wheatberries so I know I’d really like this.

  52. Reeni says:

    Most of the time lunch for me revolves around a salad or a soup! I love everything in this one – except the wheat berries that I never had but need to try!

  53. Candace says:

    Now I know what to do with that bag of wheat berries that we have! We bought it for bread that my husband made before we moved and it moved with us to NH. He’s not baking in our makeshift kitchen so this salad is perfect! Thanks Joanne! It looks sooo good and healthy.

  54. Beautiful colors! …and without the chick peas I might have to gobble a burger after. Thank God for chick peas 😀

  55. Dana says:

    You and me and the chickpea. God, I love those things. Avocado too? Yes, please. I hear you with lunch. Breakfast I eat because I have to but I don’t really enjoy it and I eat the same three things over and over. Lunch I look forward to. I often eat it out because I am out and about and it is the way I try new restaurants in town. Much cheaper than dinner.

  56. I adore chickpeas, but I’m dying to play more with this. I’m adding this one to the list.

  57. I’d have to agree with you regarding the importance of one’s lunch decision. If I let’s say choose to forgo my brought healthy sack lunch and jump in with what everyone is ordering around the office, then the rest of the day seems to be a free pass even though that is totally idiotic.

  58. Laura says:

    this looks awesome! And spookily similar to my fallback easy, healthy lunch. I toss a can of chickpeas with diced cucumber, red bell pepper, red onion, cherry tomatoes, and cilantro, then drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil. And lots of salt. It’s delicious, and I always feel great when I make it. And yet so frequently I have cookies for lunch instead… weird…

  59. Tanvi says:

    I love the beautiful colors in this salad Joanne.Chickpeas and avocados are a yum combination.I seldom go in for brunch , mostly a salad or poached eggs nad bread.This is certainly one of my favorites recipes to try out.Love it

  60. OH! Faith! YOu are singing my song with this dish! I used to eat wheat with everything when I was first married… it made the meat streeetch when I was on a tight budget, and was delicious in almost everything. I love it just boiled with honey – but it is so dense and a very little goes a long way. What a perfect flavourful protein in this hearty sparking salad. I can imagine the textures as I love the chewy burst from the wheat and the creamy nutty chick pea with the juicy crunch of the vegetables. This is definitely a winner.
    I am truly inspired.

  61. Allison says:

    I eat with my eyes first and this salad is a visual delight.

  62. Danielle says:

    wow…check out that salad! Talk about loaded!

  63. What a gorgeous salad! Beautiful photo too- I love the colors. I do find that if I eat a good lunch I’m more likely to eat better the rest of the day. This would be a great choice!

  64. Barbara says:

    I just can’t wrap my head around a 20 mile run! I am really so impressed with your determination! When do you find time for cooking, school, running AND blogging?
    Anyway…I adore salads like this. Chock full of healthy goodies.

  65. Nicole, RD says:

    Wheat berries are so popular lately! Your post is the 3rd I’ve read this morning with a wheat berry recipe and I posted a Spanish Wheat Berry Salad yesterday. I am loving the stuff…and all the recipes 🙂

  66. Johanna GGG says:

    I agree that lunches are often the hardest meal to get right. Especially lunches that find me out of home – if I have to buy choices are so often disappointing, and if I take my lunch I often find that I don’t have time to prepare and eat something so boring I often feel like buying something rubbish.

    My solutions that seem to work are to make lots of soup and freeze it in small portions or to take a cheese sandwich and a small tin of baked beans to work.

    But you make me feel guilty because I meant to make muffins for lunch tomorrow and was too tired so I don’t look forward to lunch as I need to leave home early! If only had the energy to make your salad – looks wonderful

  67. Kim says:

    Yummy! And energizing too!!! Where do you get wheat berries? I’d love to test this one out!!!!

  68. Sanem says:

    Lunch is important here where I live, so I totally agree with you. This salad looks delicious and nutritious. Just what I need right now. 🙂

  69. Dawn says:

    Girl I’m speechless about this salad. There is a wheatberry one I get at Native Sun that I also want to remake (along with making this) so I MUST go get some wheatberries. I’m adding it to the list right now.

  70. You are so right about it being hard to get back on track once we mess up the first meal. Love this healthy salad. Chickpeas make salad so satisfying.

  71. Peggy says:

    See, breakfast is to me, what lunch is to you. I hardly ever have time for breakfast (although I’ve gotten better lately and had at least a granola bar in my mad rush out the door), but lunch, that’s different. I usually take my leftovers to work and watch as the coworkers oooh and ahh over my simple, but definitely homemade lunch. I bring it for the pure jealousy factor. And the fact that it’s way better than their $3 Big Mac. =)

    But this salad, I think this would make them uber jealous. And for that, I’m totally game.

  72. I agree that it is hard to find a healthy and interesting lunch! I love my breakfasts so there really is no issue there… but the same salad every day does not sound fun at all.

  73. This salad has all the great ingredients I truly love! Excellent combination!

  74. Stunning pictures! Great combo and looks healthy…..

  75. Ben says:

    Lunch is the new breakfast, love it! LOL. I agree, lunch is very important and if you mess it up your whole day goes down the drain. This salad looks just great!

  76. Lunch is the new breakfast? Yeah ok, I can see it. If this beautiful salad makes me run 20 miles count me in lol!!

    And yes, go get a cauliflower sandwich and let me know how it is!


  77. Thank you for running to raise money for colon cancer. You are the best, Joanne!

  78. Sanjeeta kk says:

    What a healthy platter! The salad looks so colorful and full of life.

  79. chrysta says:

    Absolutely gorgeous as always. I love the addition of the red bell pepper. Makes the dish pop and they happen to be a personal fav of mine!

  80. Julie says:

    girl that is a JAM PACKED bowl of goodness! i feel like chickpeas are so underrated and i wish i had the patience/time to play with them more. someday!

  81. tigerfish says:

    I have been on the salad-track recently…your salad looks vibrantly nutritious and healthy. I can try it!

  82. This is a gorgeous dish and your photos are incredible.

  83. You have COMPLETELY inspired me to try wheatberries, which I have never ever tried. Beautiful pictures, as always!! 🙂

  84. Lunch is usually my main meal…this is a fantastic salad, all those goodies 🙂

  85. Tammy says:

    Joanne, your photos are so lovely and uniquely rustic.
    This sounds wonderful. All those colors look so pretty and alluring. I’ve been trying to get into a more veggie based diet, so I will definately be saving this.


  86. Catherine says:

    Dear Joanne, This salad is right up my ally…would love to have this over some rice…Just beautiful…Blessings, Catherine

  87. daphne says:

    It’s my kind of salad Joanne! What not to love with beans and avocado?!

  88. Claudia says:

    I had salad last night too, only a Smoked Salmon Nicoise. Your salad looked really good. I love arugula.

  89. After a weekend of birthday celebrations and cake I need more of this in my life right now! What a delicious and healthy salad. The dressing sounds wonderful too.

    My way of making amends is some fruit and a handful of walnuts for lunch!

  90. A lovely healthy salad, I like the addition of zucchini here.

  91. Monet says:

    First, let me thank you for all your kind words and thoughts. They mean more to me than I can say. Secondly, this salad looks like a perfect way to celebrate the middle of the day. Delicious and healthy. Thanks for sharing, my dear friend. It feels good to return to the blogs I love after such a hard and trying week. Your words and photographs bring a smile to my face.

  92. Indie.Tea says:

    Lunch SHOULD be more important. Like you, I know what I’m having for breakfast (green tea, yogurt, a little fruit)…but lunch is exciting.
    The salad looks delicious.

  93. tinytearoom says:

    this is a gorgeous salad. I’d be quite happy to eat a bowl of this for lunch and not feel deprived or inadequate for the rest of the day.

    It is true. One thing always leads to another.

  94. The perfect fridge salad! Great colour and energy going on. Delicious!
    (And I am with you on compounding my gustatory sins..)

  95. Kerstin says:

    Congrats on your 20 miler – you’re so awesome!! This is the kind of meal I end up craving 🙂

  96. Cara says:

    ohgod, I know what you mean that lunch can be such a breaker! I’ve had full on anxiety attacks when I forget mine. What can I say other than my husband makes a really darn good wrap sandwich?

  97. Marisa says:

    This salad looks amazing! Love the bright colours.

  98. Natalie says:

    so glad you rocked your 20-miler!! love your description of lunch (I’m like you…I slip up and it’s all over :))

  99. Tracy says:

    I’ve never heard of wheat berries, but I’m pretty sure I have to try them. Love this colorful salad!

  100. Alea Milham says:

    I like that this can be partially made in advance and waiting in the fridge. I do well at lunch as long as I have something healthy waiting…other wise I just grab what ever is convenient. Thanks for sharing this great recipe with the Hearth and Soul Hop!

  101. Nutmeg Nanny says:

    Talk about a healthy and delicious salad! I’m always lost on what to eat for lunch. It’s horrible. I will literally pace around the house until I either make myself some eggs (cause it’s the only thing I have in the house) or drink some Metamucil and hope that keeps me full…haha.

  102. Martha (MM) says:

    What a wonderful salad! I’ll try to link up this weekend if it’s still open 🙂

  103. This looks and sounds delicious:)

  104. This looks totally like my kind of salad. Bean and grain salads are so satisfying and it has great color too. Thanks for sending it to Souper Sundays.

  105. Chris says:

    Based on the lunch I had today after my morning workout, I don’t feel qualified to answer your “how to stay on track” question 🙂 😉

  106. OMG Yum! Came back again for more, love your site. I’m referring it to a dear friend who is a Med student right now also!

  107. Anonymous says:

    This salad was amazing! Thanks for the great recipe.

  108. Yumm I have been staring at this salad for days thinking about making it. Awesome to hear that it fueled you so well! And I can definitely understand that once you eat something bad, it’s all over for the rest of the day so I can see your point about lunch!

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