In most of the recipes I’ve come across, wheat berries are utilized in savory side dishes, including salads and pilafs. They also appear in soups and breads. Wanting to feature them in a sweet breakfast dish, I came up with this recipe.
Though little known and barely-used in “mainstream” recipes, hard wheat berries seem to have a solid following in the whole foods marketplace, and it’s easy to see why. Incredibly chewy and somewhat nutty, they provide a fun and unconventional alternative to typical whole-grain offerings. One serving (1/4 cup dry) contains just 150 calories but offers 6 grams of protein (12% DV), 6 grams of dietary fiber (24% DV), and 8% DV of iron with no sodium or cholesterol.*
Don’t be put off by the cooking time required for wheat berries. By preparing some on the weekend, you can enjoy them in several different recipes over the course of the following week. I use a rice cooker but have included a simple stovetop method here.
Combine 3 1/2 cups of water, 1 cup of hard wheat berries and 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for an hour or until tender. Drain and serve immediately or set aside to cool. Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to five days.
Wheat Berry Breakfast
Makes 1 serving
1/2 cup cooked wheat berries (see instructions above)
1 tablespoon crushed walnuts
1 tablespoon dried cherries or cranberries
1/2 tablespoon brown sugar or honey (omit if using flavored yogurt)
dollop of nonfat yogurt, optional
Stir together all ingredients except yogurt in a microwave-safe bowl. (Excessive heat kills active yogurt cultures, destroying some of its health benefits.)
Microwave to preferred temperature.
Add yogurt, if desired, and serve. (If omitting the yogurt, use a splash of milk or water instead.)
* Based upon a 2,000-calorie diet for adults and children ages four years or older. Nutritional info is based upon that for Bob’s Red Mill hard red wheat berries.
© Liesl K. Bohan | SavvyBaker.com