Arugula, Carrot and Chickpea Salad with Wheat Berries

Arugula, carrot and chickpea salad with wheat berries by Cookie and Kate

The other day, I realized that I’ve posted a whole lot more salads than most other blogs. Hearty salads with grains or beans (or both, as is the case here) are terrific side dishes for family meals and easy potluck offerings. I’m also convinced that they are the ultimate single girl food. I can make a big bowl of salad and keep it in the fridge for ready-made meals or just stick a fork in it for a snack. Living alone, I can eat straight outta the bowl without an eyebrow raised. The single life is good, my friends, and the perks are many.

That trip to New York reminded me how much I love my quiet life with Cookie. Every moment of that trip was spent with others, others whose presence I enjoy very much, but I need ample alone time to feel like myself. Cookie understands this; she lounges around on the couch and comes by to say hi if I’ve spent too much time staring at this screen. Every day, our conversation goes something like this, “Cookie, have I told you how pretty you look today?” She wags her tail.

Salad with arugula, carrot, chickpea, feta and wheat berries

My travel companion kept commanding me to “pep up!” but the truth is, I’m not peppy all the time. I don’t like talking for the sake of talking. I might use exclamation points liberally in writing but I’m not bubbly in real life. My head is usually lost in the clouds and I get irritated when someone tries to bring me back down to earth. This introversion is an undeniable part of me but maybe, someday, I’ll find someone who understands and lets me float around in thought and never runs out of interesting ideas to share. Here’s to hoping he’ll like salads, too, because I’m not going to stop making them.

Thankfully, you all seem to enjoy salads almost as much as I do (I know Sarah does, at least!). I loosely adapted this one from two of my favorite recipe sources, Melissa Clark (Cook This Now) and America’s Test Kitchen (Healthy Family Cookbook). I knew it was going to be good, but the end result was leaps and bounds beyond my already high expectations.

If I had to pick one salad to eat for the rest of my life, it might be this one. A bold statement, I know, but it’s a statement befitting this unapologetically bold salad. It’s overflowing with spicy arugula, salty feta cheese, sweet and crunchy carrot ribbons, chewy wheat berries and earthy chickpeas, tossed in a bright, lemony olive oil vinaigrette.

Arugula, Carrot and Chickpea Salad with Wheat Berries
4.0 from 1 reviews
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 4
This bold salad can stand as a balanced meal.
Salad ingredients
  • 1 cup dried wheat berries (or spelt berries or farro, adjust cooking time accordingly)
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas or 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 4 carrots, sliced into ribbons using a vegetable peeler
  • ½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 4 to 6 cups arugula (if it's not baby arugula, you might want to give it a few chops to break it into smaller pieces)
Dressing ingredients
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 small lemon, juiced
  • ½ teaspoon ground sea salt or kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Cook the wheat berries: Since wheat berries take around an hour to cook, I like to make extra and freeze it for later. To cook the wheat berries, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Stir in the wheat berries and ½ teaspoon salt. Partially cover the pot with a lid and cook, stirring often, until the berries are tender but still a little chewy (about an hour). Drain the wheat berries and let them cool to room temperature (you can speed up the cooling process by pouring them onto a rimmed baking sheet or pouring them into a large bowl, stirring occasionally).
  2. In the meantime, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Transfer the cooled wheat berries to a big bowl. Add the chickpeas, carrots, feta cheese and arugula and toss to combine. Drizzle in the dressing and toss to coat. Serve immediately.
  • Recipe originally appeared on my Fresh Vegetarian column at Chesapeake Taste.
  • If you will not be serving this salad immediately or if you suspect you will have leftovers, I would keep the arugula separate from the rest of the salad until it's ready to be served. The dressing tends to wilt the arugula fairly quickly.

P.s. If you want a little peek into my rarely photographed, humble little kitchen, it’s on Houzz this week!


  1. says

    Yum, yum, yum…yes, please…keep up with the salad recipes! As a fellow introvert/online extrovert, I feel your pain. Luckily, I found my perfect match after a long time of perfectly-happy-alone-time. He’s a total social extrovert who keeps the chatter going when we’re amongst others so I can float and absorb, with occasional bump ins. And even better, I didn’t have to give up eating out of the salad bowl — we just have two forks now. :)

  2. says

    ME TOO.

    You’re blessed to realize this and be able to articulate it so well, Kate! Seriously! Just knowing this about yourself will serve you well in all your relationships. I feel like I’ve only come to understand this about myself recently and that, in a lot of ways, I’m still coming to understand it. For a lot of my life, I felt kind of guilty about being introverted or thoughtful, like it was decidedly NOT the preferable way to be and that I should hype myself and be ‘peppy’ like your traveling companion advised you. But the reality is that I am not like that. I can only be me, and since being me is all that I have to offer in this big, diverse world, I have to be that and accept it as OK.

    • says

      You’re so right, Shanna. I am what I am and you are what you are, and it’s ok to be quiet and thoughtful. You can’t force peppy!

  3. says

    a) IN LOVE with your white table, glass bowls, jade plants, natural light, etc. Seriously purty.

    b) This salad is making me weepy.

    c) Move here already!

    • says

      I’m trying, I’m trying! This summer has been too busy to pack up and move. I’m coming to visit mid-July, though—I’ll email you in advance this time. Let’s drink wine again!

  4. says

    This salad looks amazing – love all the textures you have going on here, especially since texture is one of the things I love most about salad.

    As a fellow introvert, I can totally relate. Thanks for sharing & the reminder that alone time is good, and being bubbly just for the sake of it probably isn’t.

  5. says

    I’m a salad fanatic too – I sometimes get self conscious that I post too many salads on my blog, too. Love this recipe – thanks for sharing. :)

  6. Sue J. says

    1. You are so pretty! (Visited the Houzz article) And of course Cookie is, too.
    2. Love your place. Very artfully done.
    3. You are single-handedly responsible for a shift towards the healthy in my cooking habits, since I found your blog and started subscribing.
    4. Being introverted/introspective and enjoying being alone is a wonderful thing, and is not necessarily counter-productive to finding a life partner. It took me a while to find the right man, but we are very happy 23 years later. If it is what you want, I wish the same for you.

    • says

      Thank you so much for your sweet and thoughtful comment, Sue. I’m delighted to hear that you’re eating more healthy food since finding my blog—you make all my hard work worthwhile. Glad to hear that you found the right one for you, I hope to find mine someday, too. Until then, I’m content just hanging out with Cookie and my friends. :)

  7. says

    This is exactly the type of meal I want to be eating now that it’s gotten hot out. Chickpeas, greens, and carrot–perfect. And I must say I would have a hard time not kicking anyone who told me to “pep up” in the shins. Forbearance!

  8. says

    I love the combination of flavours, colours and textures in this salad. Just perfect. And I know exactly what you mean about being an introvert. Although I love time with my friends and other people, I can’t do it for long. I wish I could but I never will be able to because I need to be able to disappear into myself relatively frequently. I spent far too long trying to be someone that I’m not in the past and now I just accept that that’s how I am!

    • says

      Hear, hear! I’m learning to accept these qualities about myself rather than trying to change them or pretend that I’m otherwise. There’s really nothing at all wrong with being introverted!

  9. says

    I love that big window right by your kitchen table! :) My boyfriend and I are moving in together (for real) next month. I’ve basically been living in his apartment while at the same time still sharing an apartment with a roommate (my bedroom there has become a storage over the past few months). I still have moments of panic attacks about not having MY own place anymore… there are days when I miss being single, like not having to worry about time and organizing schedules according to his and eating or not eating whenever I want to. This salad looks amazing and what boy would not love a salad like that? :) Kathryne, you are truly adorable! :)

    • says

      Thanks, Margarita! I think relationships are all about compromise and it sounds like you’ve found one worth compromising for. Best of luck!

  10. Karen says

    I have really enjoyed your blog for a while …. I swear Cookie was a cat? It wasn’t until this last post about your kitchen, that I peeked @ houzz and see that Cookie is a dog! Thank you for all your yummy salads and other recipes. I truly enjoy reading your posts and trying the recipes.

  11. says

    Aside from the salty/sweet blend of flavors, the colorization is phenomenal! I can’t wait to try this recipe. How does the lemon flavored dressing fair against the other ingredients? Is it the dominate flavor, or does it balance out the extreme saltiness of the feta cheese and spice of the arugula?

    • says

      Great question, Kyle. I’d say the bold lemon flavor rounds out the other bold flavors. This salad has a real kick to it.

  12. says

    I feel like I might have mentioned this to you at Veronica’s, but I miss living alone PRECISELY because of the quiet, much-needed alone time. I’m definitely the kinda gal who likes to decompress solo often. And salads like this one are the ultimate single girl food(/ultimate food in general in my opinion). Yum. And thanks for including one of my recipes in your salad roundup, lady :)

  13. says

    This looks great! Melissa Clark & America’s Test Kitchen are two of my favorite sources for advice & inspiration. Yum!

  14. says

    Funny, I felt very much the same way after I returned from New York. I love being around people, and am very much a people person, but alone time is so vital to recharge, re-energize, and balance. I love big salads, especially when Matt’s away and I’m living the single girl life. Also, after a gorge-fest in NYC, I NEED lots of salads. xo

  15. says

    The picture of the salad jumped at me on facebook, so beautiful!
    In my culture (I’m eastern European) personal space is not valued the same way as here, in North America. People like to spend most of their time doing things together. But after living in Canada for several years, when I visited my homeland for a few weeks I was really challenged. Seeing everyone (these are people I love and was very excited to see) made me so tired. At one point I had to lie and hide away in a park because I needed a few moments by myself to recharge. Looking at it right now I think it’s pretty funny how much I changed. I’m glad to see that I’m not the only one who spends a lot of time with the head in the clouds :)

  16. says

    I’m SO excited because I found your blog by accident today and everything looks SOOOO delicious! I love to cook and 95% of my diet is whole grains/fruits & veggies so this is RIGHT up my alley … yay for me! :) I will be trying a lot of these recipes this week … keep up the great work!

    • says

      Thank you, Holly, I’m happy you found my blog! Please let me know how the recipes turn out. I love feedback! Your portrait photography is beautiful, by the way.

      • says

        Me too, Kate! :) I’ve already made the chickpea salad and the banana oat pancakes and both were DEE-LISH!! Looking forward to more food exploration with your delicious recipes. Thank you for the sweet compliment as well. :)

      • says

        Ok, I made this salad for dinner tonight and it knocked my socks off! I added grape tomatoes because I had them on hand and it was the perfect addition. Loved the colors, textures and flavors … one of my favorite all-time recipes for sure!! Serious amounts of yummmm … thx, Kate!

  17. says

    All us single salad eating blog world gals! Somewhere there must be a bevy of understanding, salad crazy men just waiting for us :) This recipe looks absolutely delicious – I’ll just replace the wheat berries with brown rice (gluten free friendly) and I’ll be smiling all week long.

  18. says

    I’m reading a book called ‘Quiet: An Introvert’s Guide to Living in a World that Won’t Stop Talking’. It was given to me by a friend and fellow introvert, with the promise of ‘This will change your life.’ I’m hoping it just makes me feel better about covering my ears and backing away.

    And there is, quite frankly, nothing better in these warm days of early summer than a huge bowl of salad, grains and legumes, plunging a fork into, over and over again. Satiety comes, and it’s all good now that the loud crunching is over. I so totally get it.

  19. says

    I am a MAJOR introvert in some ways…I really can spend days on end with only myself and be perfectly content. I really NEED alone/me time and get cranky when I don’t get it.

    And…I adore salads. Especially wheatberry salads. The combination of ingredients in this sounds awesome! Definitely something I would love!

  20. Ann says

    Hello! I made this salad for dinner tonight with arugula from my CSA. Terrific recipe! I especially LOVED the dressing. Thanks!

  21. says

    Yum! That looks so delicious! I love salads too and definitely agree with you that living on by yourself is awesome. I often talk to my cat, who is my buddy and companion. He keeps me from going too crazy! Thanks for sharing!

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