Greek Wheat Berry Salad with Oregano Chicken and Halloumi Cheese Recipe

Throw some chicken atop a Caesar salad, maybe a little leftover beef from last night’s cookout, or chop some deli ham and turkey to sprinkle over greens. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. We are in the thick of salad season, and if your main-meal salad solutions are becoming all too familiar, you can step up your game with a bit of Greek inspiration. It may take a little more effort than sprinkling deli meat atop greens, but this is the way you get something more interesting in your salad bowl. And, you can make it ahead, pack it up and take it on a picnic to mix it up even more.

This salad is a fantastic medley of textures, from the pop of the wheat berries to the chewiness of the roasted halloumi cheese, notes Twin Cities chef and cookbook author Robin Asbell, who created this recipe for Real Food. Earthy oregano and perky lemon keep your palate excited as you savor each bite. Opa!

Greek Wheat Berry Salad with Oregano Chicken and Halloumi Cheese

Makes 6 Servings

1 cup wheat berries
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 pound chicken breast
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces halloumi cheese
1 pinch dried mint
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic, pressed
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups fresh spinach
1 medium carrot, shredded

1. In a small saucepan, combine wheat berries and 3 cups water and place over high heat. When it comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and partially cover. Cook 45 to 60 minutes, until berries are tender and some are splitting open. Drain and let cool.

2. Preheat oven to 400°F. Drizzle two rimmed sheet pans with 1 tablespoon oil each. Slice chicken in 14-inch strips then cut into 1-inch-long pieces. Place on a pan and add oregano, lemon zest, black pepper and salt. Toss to coat. Bake 20 minutes. Remove to a rack to cool.

3. Meanwhile, slice halloumi into 12-inch strips then cut into 1-inch-long pieces. On second pan, drizzle 1 tablespoon oil and spread over cheese. Add mint and toss to coat. Bake 15 minutes, until cheese is deeply browned on edges. Remove to a rack to cool.

4. In a cup, combine remaining oil, lemon juice, garlic and salt. In a large bowl, combine wheat berries, spinach and carrot. Drizzle over dressing and toss to coat. Add cheese and toss to mix. Transfer salad to a storage container, top with chicken and chill until ready to serve.

Nutrition info (per serving): CALORIES 457 (238 From Fat); FAT 27g (Sat. 9g); CHOL 80mg; SODIUM 713mg; CARB 26g; FIBER 4g; PROTEIN 29g

Mary Subialka is the editor of Real Food and Drinks magazines, covering the flavorful world of food, wine, and spirits. She rarely meets a chicken she doesn’t like, and hopes that her son, who used to eat beets and Indian food as a preschooler, will one day again think of real food as more than something you need to eat before dessert and be inspired by his younger brother, who is now into trying new foods.