A delicious way to eat whole grains! Wheat berries are tossed with roasted brussels sprouts, shallots, walnuts and a lemon vinaigrette. Yum.
Everything you ever wanted to know about wheat berries!
How to cook them, how to use them, and a recipe for a whole grain salad made with them.
Did you make any food-related resolutions this year?
I don't have resolutions—I have goals. (I like to pretend there's a difference and that somehow, goals are much more achievable.)
I want to eat less sugar. I'm trying to eat more fruit - I've always liked veggies more than fruit, and sometimes it's a struggle to get myself to eat it. (Unless it's in pie form. But I'm cutting down on sugar, remember?) And I want to eat more grains.
Yes, grains! Delicious, nutritious whole grains. So you might see some more grains around here this year. And if you don't see more grains around here, it means that I'm a big failure.
I guess grains aren't the most exciting thing to see on a food blog, are they? I mean, if I told you that you'd be seeing more Rolos on Oh My Veggies this year, you'd probably be pretty jazzed. But instead, I'm telling you to be on the lookout for… bulgur! Barley! Wheat Berries! Ooooh.
Okay, so what are wheat berries?
Wheat berries are the little kernels that grow on wheat plants. When they're milled, they make flour. But they can also be eaten whole, similar to rice, quinoa, and other grains. They're high in fiber and also protein and iron, which makes them very vegetarian-friendly!
I discovered wheat berries by accident last year. I needed farro for a recipe and it was crazy expensive. Sitting next to the farro were bags of wheat berries—much cheaper.
So I figured, "These look almost the same. Let's go with wheat berries!" And guess what? They are pretty similar and I've used wheat berries in place of farro in a few recipes.
What do wheat berries taste like?
They have a whole wheat-y taste—a little bit nutty and earthy. If you like other whole grains, you will probably enjoy wheat berries. But more than the taste, my favorite thing about wheat berries is the texture. They're chewy! (Unless you overcook them. Don't do that!)
How do you cook wheat berries?
My package of wheat berries says to soak them overnight, but I found out by accident (and then confirmed online) that that's not necessary.
To make four servings, combine a cup of wheat berries with three cups of water, stock, or broth. (I really like cooking wheat berries in broth!) In a large pot, bring it to a boil, reduce heat to low, and then simmer, covered, for about 50 minutes. Drain off any excess liquid.
What can you do with wheat berries?
You can add them to salads or soups! Use them instead of rice or other grains! They're great when tossed with a simple vinaigrette, salt and pepper, and roasted vegetables. Just about any vegetable will work, so this is a great way to use what's in season.
In this recipe, I've roasted brussel sprouts with shallots and walnuts and added them to a batch of wheat berries. I used a light lemon vinaigrette, but one made with vinegar and oil would work just as well. You can serve this as a side dish, but it's also filling enough that it can be served as a healthy meal.
Here are a few more delicious recipes featuring wheat berries:
- Nectarine and Avocado Salad with Wheat Berries
- Kale Salad with Wheat Berries and Citrus Maple Vinaigrette
- Summer Wheat Berry Salad
So are we excited about whole grains this year?! (I'll pretend you said yes!)
- 1 cup red wheat berries
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 1 lb brussel sprouts trimmed and quartered
- 1 shallot large, chopped
- 2 tbsp olive oil divided
- ¼ cup walnut pieces
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- zest from 1 lemon
- salt and pepper to taste
- Combine wheat berries and vegetable broth in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and cook until tender, about 50 minutes. Drain off excess liquid. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- While wheat berries are cooking, start brussel sprouts. Toss brussel sprouts, shallots, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large bowl. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 15–20 minutes or until browned, stirring halfway through cooking time. Remove from oven and stir in walnut pieces (they will toast on the hot baking sheet!).
- Whisk together lemon juice, zest, remaining oil, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add wheat berries and roasted vegetables; toss to combine, then serve.
Tried this twice including for thanksgiving this year. I decided to contribute only veggie dishes this year to the family thanksgiving meal. I absolutely love this recipe and prefer the nutty earthy flavor over farro or even quinoa. Thanks for the recipe.
Kiersten Frase says
I'm so glad you enjoy the recipe! 🙂
To be honest, I was skeptical about this one...but I love roasted brussels sprouts. So glad I tried it! This was sooooooo delicious!! Thanks for the recipe!
Kiersten Frase says
Ha! Well, I'm glad it was a good surprise and not a bad one. 😀
This is so amazingly delicious! Keep in mind, folks, there are no herbs or spices in this recipe (well, s&p, of course), but you will be blown away by the brilliant blend of flavors in every bite. My husband gives this a 12 out of 10. Not sure how I can beat that. Thanks for a wonderful addition to my recipe repertoire!
Kiersten Frase says
Woo hoo! Thanks so much for your comment--I'm happy to hear you and your husband enjoyed the recipe!
As I sit here eating the leftovers for breakfast, I had to comment. This recipe was so delicious. My entire family, a 9 year old and 6 year old included, loved this salad. I did add some feta to mine because I can never say no to cheese ;-P
Kiersten Frase says
I'm so happy to hear that! It's always a little victory when you get kids to eat Brussels sprouts. 🙂
Loved this recipe! Made it for my husband and we devoured it. Simple yet such good flavors. Will definitely be adding this to our meal rotation.
Kiersten Frase says
Thank you for your comment--I'm happy to hear the recipe was a hit!
I found your recipe for wheat berries and loved the recipes. I was searching for wheat berry recipes after reading the book "Healing with Whole Foods" by Pitchford. The book teaches that before milling, the berries are a great source of selenium and magnesium and in whole food form gluten is not a problem. (pg 8-9). The book also explains why we need to use Brown Rice as a source of vitamins and minerals. It has made me really start to change my diet, and thank you for the recipes.
This recipe was absolutely delicious and simple to make. I did not have wheat berry, so I improvised with barley. It turned out great! Thank you.
Are you able to tell me where I may purchase wheatberries please?
Dana Raidt says
Hi Jillian, Wheatberries are often available in the natural foods or grain aisles of the supermarket - sometimes you can find them in bulk at natural foods stores. Or you can get them via online retailers like Amazon. Hope that helps!
Jen Salt says
Just made this for dinner and it was awesome! I added some pomegranate seeds for a little more color (and because I had a half of one I needed to use up!). I had wheat berries that were pre-steamed so they only took 15 minutes to cook, making this a very quick meal. Not sure how that changes the nutrition of them, but tasted great!
I bought some wheat berries a couple of months back because I'd never had them before and I'm always on the lookout for something new. They stayed in my cupboard until today when I decided to do something with them. I found this recipe and WOW! This was so amazing and flavorful! When I'd told my husband earlier in the day what I was going to cook for dinner he seemed disinterested and was asking if there was going to be anything else with it. I did add some roasted asparagus as well as they looked super nice at the store today. My husband and I loved this dish immensely. He asked to have it again in the near future. Thank you for such a simple, flavorful, and healthy meal! Phenomenal ...
Thank you so much for your comment! Sometimes the simplest dishes are the best, aren't they? 🙂 And the best thing about this is that you can switch out the Brussels sprouts with whatever is in season!
Nandi Claasen says
I did say yes!!! I love wheat berries but never know what to do with them. This is such a tasty idea - and so versatile! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
Love wheat berries and brussels sprouts. Great combo!! What would you serve with this??
Katie Trant says
Hi Jessica, this would be great with some protein on the side, like some baked tofu for example.
Barbara Johnson says
I was a bit skeptical about all the glowing reviews of this recipe. Not one single review that included anything remotely negative. This was my first time making anything with wheatberries and mine didn't turn out as well. I am not a novice at cooking. First, the berries need to be cooked for about an hour. I am still cooking them and they are still very very chewy. We are pros at brussel sprouts but I quartered them as directed in the recipe. Big mistake. The oven temp at 425 is too hot for quarters and the beautiful shallots are wasted and burned, along with the sprouts after 15-20 minutes. And the sprouts weren't even cooked through. The dressing should be 1-1/2 times the amount stated as it isn't enough to dress a whole pound of berries plus sprouts. Depending on whether my husband likes it as a side dish, I will make this again but definitely fidgeting with it the next time.
Correction. I see the cook on the berries is 50 minutes at least according to the recipe. Finally they are starting to soften. But my comment on the brussels stands.
Brian C says
Just made this tonight... my family of very picky eaters gobbled up the entire batch. Fantastic recipe! Thank you so much!
mah mah says
This is one of my favorite recipes. So exceptionally delicious and satisfying. Wheat berries, where have you been all my life? So nutritious, way cheaper and more sustainable than quinoa, locally produced. And yes, wheat berries have some substance to the bite. Don't expect them to soften to the texture of over-steamed veggies or quinoa and rice.
American obsessed about protein? Grains (like wheat berries) + legumes (like beans, peas, lentils, alfalfa, etc) = a complete protein. So there are so many ways to combine these without the conventional protein options. And they have so many health benefits individually.
Made this tonight to serve along side baked chicken thighs. Oh my, it is sooo good! We added feta to it. Even the cold leftovers are good!
I made this back in December, my first encounter with wheat berries and it was fabulous. I cooked it exactly as the recipe called for. I had some leftovers so I froze two individual servings. I just pulled one of them out of the freezer, put a couple tablespoons of broth, microwaved for two minutes. Could it be possible that it’s better now than it was originally? Still fabulous!