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Recipe | Lemony Wheat Berries with Roasted Brussels Sprouts (+ Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Wheat Berries!)

Lemony Wheat Berries with Roasted Brussels Sprouts Recipe

Lemony Wheat Berries with Roasted Brussels Sprouts
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.

Wheat Berries

Okay, so what are wheat berries?

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.

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!

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.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Shallots & Walnuts

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.

So are we excited about whole grains this year?! (I’ll pretend you said yes!)

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Lemony Wheat Berries with Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Lemony Wheat Berries with Roasted Brussels Sprouts Recipe

A delicious way to eat whole grains! Wheat berries tossed with roasted brussels sprouts, shallots, walnuts and a lemon vinaigrette.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 4 as main dish, 6 as side dish

Ingredients

  • 1 cup red wheat berries
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 lb brussel sprouts, trimmed and quartered
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 cup walnut pieces
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  3. 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!).
  4. 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.

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106 Comments

  • Reply
    Amber @ Slim Pickin's Kitchen
    January 5, 2013 at 11:04 pm

    I’ve never had wheat berries, but I want to try them now! I’m sure I’d love them. As for resolutions, I totally didn’t make any that I didn’t think I’d keep! I usually always end up slacking off it I set my standards too high!

  • Reply
    Katie
    January 5, 2013 at 11:25 pm

    I’ve been looking for some recipes with brussels sprouts in them. I’ve been buying them a lot lately.

  • Reply
    Shell Fruscione
    January 5, 2013 at 11:31 pm

    I had totally never heard of wheat berries- thanks for the info! &I’m the opposite about fruits & veggies- I could eat fruit all.day.long but hate *most* veggies. lol

  • Reply
    Wanda
    January 5, 2013 at 11:36 pm

    This is really the most I have heard about wheat berries ever. This recipe looks very wholesome and healthy, and I look forward to trying it out.

  • Reply
    Julie
    January 6, 2013 at 10:39 am

    I haven’t heard of wheat berries either. I have a few brussels in the fridge, so if I can get my hands on the ingredient I shall certainly try your recipe. Love lemon with brussels sprouts. I don’t make New Years resolutions either!

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      January 7, 2013 at 2:57 pm

      If you can’t find wheat berries, someone made this with wild rice instead and she said it worked out well!

      • Reply
        Julie
        January 8, 2013 at 4:02 am

        Thanks for the tip!

  • Reply
    Rachel
    January 6, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    Yum. I have never had wheat berries but I love brussel sprouts. They are my favorite veggies ever!

  • Reply
    Jenn @therebelchick
    January 6, 2013 at 8:09 pm

    I’ll be honest, I’m a little afraid to try those wheat berry things, but I would 100% eat the sprouts out of this. LOL

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      January 7, 2013 at 2:52 pm

      Ha! Well yeah, if you don’t like chewy, grainy things, you might want to stick to the sprouts. 🙂

  • Reply
    Lynne @ CookandBeMerry
    January 6, 2013 at 8:40 pm

    I saw your beautiful photograph on FoodGawker and had to come and see. I want to grab a fork and dig right into this dish. Those caramelized brussels sprouts are making my mouth water. Happy new year!

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      January 7, 2013 at 2:50 pm

      Thanks for stopping by! 😀 And Happy New Year to you too!

  • Reply
    Bridget @ The Road Not Processed
    January 6, 2013 at 11:44 pm

    I love wheat berries! Especially the chewy texture as well. I am craving brussel sprouts right now, this combo looks delicious!!

  • Reply
    Genevieve
    January 7, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    Don’t worry, I’m sure you have plenty of readers (including me!) who are excited to see more recipes using grains from you this year! I’ve only tried wheat berries once and wasn’t very fond of them, but it might have been the recipe’s fault…I guess I should give them another chance! I’m sure that adding brussels sprouts, walnuts, lemon and shallots would make them taste good!

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      January 8, 2013 at 7:43 pm

      Yeah, sometimes when you try things once, it’s hard to know whether you really don’t like them or whether it was just a bad recipe!

  • Reply
    Kate
    January 8, 2013 at 10:06 am

    I’ve been in love with wheatberries for so long now; they freeze beautifully, so you can cook up a HUGE batch and then portion them in to bags and keep them frozen for as long as it takes to eat them up. Makes it simple to toss in soup, make a salad or add them to a pilaf.

    This dish looks perfect for me. I am the only brussels sprouts eater in our family, which makes me think ‘Too bad for them!’ because all this amazing goodness is only going in my own belly. Ah well…..

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      January 8, 2013 at 7:12 pm

      Thank you for the tip on freezing! I’ve been doing more freezer cooking lately, so I’m definitely going to use it. 🙂

    • Reply
      Rebeccah Harrington
      February 24, 2013 at 8:57 am

      I was just wondering if it freezes well, thanks for the tip! And I am the only Brussels Sprouts eater in my family too… I picked some up at the store and saw my husband cringe as he placed them on the cashier’s belt 🙂

  • Reply
    Lauren
    January 9, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    This looks AMAZING! Can’t wait to try it!

  • Reply
    JulieD
    January 10, 2013 at 12:00 am

    I love everything about this, I need to try it…just starting to like brussel sprouts!

  • Reply
    Tara
    January 10, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    One of my goals this year is to eat meatless for the month of January, thus spurring healthier eating habits going forward. This recipe will be perfect on the side of some baked salmon! Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      January 10, 2013 at 8:28 pm

      Good luck with your goal–I hope you enjoy the recipe! 🙂

  • Reply
    Sofia
    January 11, 2013 at 1:48 am

    I make something similar but with green lentils and goat cheese, so yummy!

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      January 11, 2013 at 8:08 pm

      I love green lentils! 🙂

  • Reply
    Caitlin
    January 11, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    I love wheat berries, but unfortunately they cap my fiber intake and my gut doesn’t love them. This looks wonderful.

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      January 11, 2013 at 7:38 pm

      Aw, I’m sorry you can’t eat them! I’ve heard from people who made this with couscous and wild rice, so maybe you could sub in another grain?

    • Reply
      LindaJean
      February 16, 2013 at 11:25 am

      You might want to try soaking the wheat berries overnight. I have read that the process of soaking and then cooking makes grains and legumes more digestible. It has something to do with breaking down undigestible enzymes.

  • Reply
    Candace
    January 12, 2013 at 9:17 pm

    This looks fantastic!

  • Reply
    Jen
    February 13, 2013 at 1:29 am

    I made this tonight and loved it! This is my first time eating/cooking wheat berries and i am hooked! i love the texture and flavor. I made only a couple modifications: I added lemon zest, salt, pepper and a bit of maple syrup to the roasting brussel sprouts and also added a touch of maple to the oil/lemon vinaigrette for the whole mixture thing. ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS! thank you!!

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      February 13, 2013 at 9:25 am

      Thanks for your comment–I’m glad to hear it turned out well! 🙂

    • Reply
      Rebeccah Harrington
      February 24, 2013 at 9:06 am

      What a great idea with the maple syrup, I am going to add that when I try this recipe!

  • Reply
    Shannon
    February 19, 2013 at 12:49 am

    Brussel sprouts are the only vegetable in existence that I don’t like, but I just bought wheat berries for the first time. Could you suggest any alternative to the roasted brussel sprouts? Like would roasted broccoli or cauliflower work (I have no idea what wheat berries taste like and what will compliment them).

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      February 24, 2013 at 4:49 pm

      Sorry for the delay in getting back to you–I was out of town for a few days. Roasted cauliflower or broccoli would both work really well in this. Asparagus would be good too!

  • Reply
    Jen
    March 11, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    I love wheat berries and was happy to see this savory recipe! Loved it. The brussels sprouts were so tasty roasted; the shallots added amazing depth of flavor; and the lemon was a perfect accent. Will be making this again. Soon.

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      March 13, 2013 at 3:33 pm

      Thanks for your comment–I’m so glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

  • Reply
    Gayla
    July 2, 2013 at 10:58 pm

    Does anyone know how this stores as leftovers ?

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      July 5, 2013 at 4:15 pm

      Roasted Brussels sprouts are always better when you eat them right away, but other than that, there’s no reason that this wouldn’t keep for a few days.

  • Reply
    Anna {Herbivore Triathlete}
    October 26, 2013 at 10:13 am

    I am hoping to finally get around to making this recipe this weekend! I’ve got 5 Brussels Sprouts plants I need to harvest!

  • Reply
    Anna {Herbivore Triathlete}
    October 27, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    I made this for dinner tonight and it was delicious. I only had pecans so used those instead of walnuts. Very filling, didn’t even need anything else with it. Thanks for a great recipe Kiersten!

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      October 27, 2013 at 7:04 pm

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

  • Reply
    Cathryn
    October 29, 2013 at 9:59 pm

    I made this tonight and it was GORGEOUS!!! I used farro as I didn’t have wheatberries and it worked perfectly. I’m working through your recipes at the moment and they’re all turning out brilliantly, but this was brilliant! Thanks.

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      October 30, 2013 at 8:08 pm

      I substitute farro for wheat berries (and vice versa!) all the time too. 🙂 I’m glad you liked the recipe!

  • Reply
    Christie - Food Done Light
    October 31, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    I have had wheatberries in my pantry for a while and have yet to use them. This would be a great recipe. It’s gorgeous and we love brussels sprouts.

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      November 2, 2013 at 8:43 pm

      Wheat berries are great in salads and even soups too. So many possibilities! 🙂

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