What Do You Do with Wheat Berries?
When I came across wheat berries my local farmers market recently, I immediately began thinking about the perfect recipe. Wheat berries are the whole, unprocessed kernels of wheat and contain all three parts of the grain: bran, germ and endosperm. Unlike refined grains, which are processed to remove the bran and germ, wheat berries are packed with fiber, protein and B vitamins.
Even if you don't know it, you've likely eaten wheat berries before: whole-wheat flour is the ground form of wheat berries, while cracked wheat is wheat berries broken into tiny pieces.
How to Cook Wheat Berries
When cooked, wheat berries are chewy and nutty, making them great to include in salads, pilafs and breakfast cereals. Cooked wheat berries also are featured in many recipes for meatless burgers.
To prepare wheat berries, place one cup of wheat berries and four cups of water in a large pot. Bring the water to boil, remove it from heat, cover it and place it in the refrigerator to soak overnight. The next day, drain the wheat berries, add four more cups of water and simmer for 45 to 60 minutes. You will end up with 2½ cups of cooked wheat berries. A serving of cooked wheat berries equals ½ cup, and contains about 150 calories, 6 grams protein and 6 grams fiber.
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 ounce sliced steak, cooked
- ⅓ cup grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- ½ teaspoon grainy mustard
- ½ cup spinach leaves
- ⅓ cup apple slices
- ¼ cup cooked wheat berries
- Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the cooked steak and tomatoes and heat for 3 minutes.
- Stir in vinegar and mustard. Cook for 1 minute.
- Place spinach in a salad bowl. Serve steak mixture over greens. Top with cooked wheat berries and garnish with apple slices. Serves 1.
Cindy Gay, RD, LD, serves as historian for the West Virginia Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, teaches in the lifelong learning program and conducts farmers market demonstrations. She blogs at Cindy's Health Meals and is enjoying planning meals for two instead of meals for 1,000. Connect with her on Twitter and Pinterest.
(Photo: Cindy Gay, RD, LD)