Wheat Berry Breakfast Bowl

19 Oct

Recipe Source: 101 Cookbooks

Welcome to the last day of VegWeek! Errr… two weeks!

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.

wheat berries & fruit

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.

wheat berry breakfast bowl

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.

raw wheat berries

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.

Serves 4-6.

*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.

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6 Responses to “Wheat Berry Breakfast Bowl”

  1. Becky October 19, 2010 at 7:46 pm #

    sounds delicious! I admit, I’m a blog stalker of yours….haven’t posted yet. I have heard of wheat berries but haven’t used them yet, wanted to though! This looks so good I think I may have to make a version of this….think it will keep in the fridge for a few days?

  2. Jen October 19, 2010 at 8:12 pm #

    Oooh, my very own stalker! I’ve made the big-time now! 😉

    The wheat berries will keep for at least a week in the fridge after you’ve cooked them, maybe even two weeks. I’m not sure about the yogurt, it might get crusty? I’ve observed that… had to give it a good stir. And I’d worry about the dried fruits getting mushy. You could probably prep the wheat berries, yogurt/maple mixture and sauteed fruits in advance, but store them separately until you’re ready to combine. Good luck!

  3. Posky October 20, 2010 at 10:52 pm #

    This looked so damn good that I was forced to fix the closest thing to it that I could make.

    • Posky October 20, 2010 at 10:52 pm #

      It was a terrible failure.

  4. Jen October 21, 2010 at 9:02 pm #

    Sorry Posky! Better luck next time?

    I just cooked a new batch of wheat berries and couldn’t resist them while they were warm… just mixed with some applesauce, cinnamon & nutmeg this time – yummy and much simpler!

    BTW, my original post had a mistake, the wheat berries should be cooked with 1 tsp of salt, not 2… that was way too salty IMHO.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Wheat Berry Salad « Put a spork in it. - December 8, 2010

    […] the wheat berries, either using Ina’s method for a small batch below, or the method in my Wheat Berry Breakfast Bowl post for a large batch (these keep fine in the fridge for a week or two). Set aside, then saute red […]

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