Recipe Source: 101 Cookbooks
This is a recipe I’ve had bookmarked for months, so I finally decided to give it a spin. I think it will become a regular breakfast for me. If you’ve never heard of wheat berries, I can tell you that they’re extremely good for you. They’re the whole wheat kernel, with their fibrous outer shell still intact. Besides being an excellent source of fiber, they are high in protein, iron, vitamin E and magnesium. Before you can eat them, it’s necessary to give them a long soak or boil them with a little salt. The texture will always be a little chewy, and the flavor is slightly nutty. You can use wheat berries as you would quinoa or couscous… I’ve usually seen them used in salads, so this is a creative and unique recipe.
As the maker of any diet will tell you, one of the keys to success in eating healthy is making sure you don’t get bored. So I like that this dish is infinitely variable. For the sake of the blog, I decided to go all out and follow the recipe, using sauteed pears and cranberries mixed with maple yogurt, dried currants and dates, chopped pecans and crystallized ginger.
Instead of sweetening plain Greek yogurt with maple, you could try honey, a few drops of vanilla or almond extract, or use regular plain yogurt for a thinner consistency, or flavored yogurt. You can add spices like cinnamon and nutmeg or cardamom, and any combination of dried/fresh fruits and nuts.
For the San Diegans reading, I buy wheat berries in bulk at Henry’s. They are dark brown and look a bit like rice. They can probably be found at most health food stores.
RECIPE – Wheat Berry Breakfast Bowl
1 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup maple syrup
scant tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil
scant tablespoon of butter
2 firm pears, cored and chopped into 1/4-inch THIN bite-sized slices
1/2 cup fresh cranberries
3 cups cooked wheat berries* (or any plump, whole grain will do – farro, barley, oat groats, etc.)
1/2 cup toasted pecans
1/2 cup assorted dried fruits, chopped (I used equal portions of dried persimmons, dates, and crystallized ginger)
Whisk the yogurt and maple syrup together and set aside.
In a large skillet over medium-hight heat, sauté the pear slices in the olive oil and butter for about five minute, or until they get a bit golden. Keep an eye on them though, because they can burn in a flash. Toward the very end, stir in the cranberries and cook for another minute or so – just until the cranberries soften up a bit and a few of them begin to split open. Add the wheat berries to the skillet and toss gently.
Turn out onto a platter, or serve in individual bowls ladled with a generous amount of the maple yogurt, and sprinkled with plenty of pecans and dried fruit. For those of you who prefer a bit more sweetness, serve with more maple syrup on the side.
*To cook wheat berries: Combine 2 cups wheat berries, 5 cups water, and 1 teaspoon salt in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, covered, until plump and chewy (and a few of the berries split open), about an hour or so. The berries will stay al dente, and the only way to be sure they’re done is to taste a few. Drain and set aside.