Christina

Your New Favorite Grain: Wheat Berries. Plus, A Recipe For Sweet And Tart Wheat Berry Salad

This is post number three on my quest to broaden my culinary horizons this year. So far, I’m doing great (see how well non-resolutions work?). If you’ve been following along, so far I cooked with quinoa, miso paste and this week I tackled wheatberries. I have eaten them a few times at the Whole Foods Buffet but never attempted to make them at home myself. WOW, was I missing out!! These things are great! So come with me and let’s dive into this exciting and tasty grain together.

What’s a Wheatberry?

The term wheatberry or wheat berry refers to most of the wheat kernel (except for the hull) which consists of bran, germ and  endosperm. They are tan or slightly red in color and look similar to short grain brown rice and may be purchased as a hard or soft (more processed) grain.  Nutty in flavor with a slight chew to their texture, this tasty grain add a nice crunch to salads and even baked goods.

Why Are Wheatberries Good For Me?

Wheatberries are considered a true “whole grain” because  the entire wheat kernel is left intact and therefore none of the nutrients are stripped away. Just one cup of wheatberries has 300 calories and is packed with fiber, protein and iron. They are also loaded with vitamin E and magnesium.

How do I prepare Wheat Berries And Where Can I Find Them?

They are super easy to prepare. You boil them in salted water, similar to the way you would any other grain that will absorb the water, just like rice does. Once they are cooked you can feel free to use them the same way you’d use any other grain. I like to serve them “au naturale” as a side dish in lieu of brown rice, tossed with a vinaigrette as their own yummy salad or even steeped with some cinnamon and honey-spiked milk for a warm and comforting alternative to oatmeal in the morning. They are even delicious stirred into yogurt for a nice chewy contrast to the creaminess of the yogurt.

Wheat Berries can be found in any health-food store or in the natural foods section of your supermarket. I found mine at Shoprite! Look for the kind that cooks quickly, it will save you a ton of time.

Sweet And Tart Wheat Berry Salad

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup wheat berries (the kind that cooks in 15 minutes)
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large stalk celery, finely diced
  • 2 large scallions, finely diced
  • 1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 apple, peeled and diced small

Instructions:

1. Bring 3 cups of water and 1/4 teaspoon of salt to a boil in a medium sized pot. Stir in 1 cup of wheat berries. Stir, turn heat down to low and cover the pot. Coo for 15-18 minutes or until all of the water is absorbed and the wheat berries are slightly soft (they will be much chewier than your average brown rice, this is the correct texture). Remove the grains to a bowl and allow to cool while you make the dressing.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, lemon, salt, pepper and honey. Continue to whisk and stream in olive oil until dressing is emulsified and creamy. Add the remaining ingredients to the wheat berries and toss. Stir in vinaigrette and toss to coat. Salad can be made up to 3 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Enjoy!

Christina Stanley-Salerno is a mama, recipe developer, food stylist, photographer and blogger atTakeBackYourTable.com. She loves cooking for and with her family. Life is hectic, but Christina is passionate about mealtime because she believes that family meals are the glue that holds everyone together. Creating simple, quick and healthy meals is her specialty and her trick to keeping the family meal a reality, even on busy weeknights.

Follow her on Twitter @TakeBackTables

One Response to “Your New Favorite Grain: Wheat Berries. Plus, A Recipe For Sweet And Tart Wheat Berry Salad”

  1. Kerrie says:

    Made this last night for myself and my two-year-old girls — SO delicious, and perfect for quick lunches during the week!

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