wheat berries

I am not aware of having ever previously eaten a wheat berry before this last week, despite a past that includes 10 years of vegetarian eating and an interest in healthy grains. The April issue of EatingWell® Magazine had a very nice piece about wheat berries with a number of recipes. Since the foodie and I are experimental types when it comes to food, we decided to try them out. We headed over to the Henry’s in University City where we were happy to discover that they are quite affordable, at around 50 cents a pound that day. Henry’s is one of our favorite haunts for extra produce (when we need something in addition to our CSA bounty) and bulk ingredients, so we were disturbed to hear of its parent company’s recent buy out by Whole Foods. I truly hope they will leave a good thing alone!(Hooray that this didn’t happen!)

Wheat berries are very hearty, with a chewy texture, and a slightly nutty flavor. They turn out to be delicious in a salad with a citrus vinaigrette as well as a wonderful addition to chili. The foodie whipped up the following delectable chili based on the EatingWell® recipe, and I ate it up voraciously (as is frequently the case with his yummy cooking!). I hope to be seeing more of these little grains very soon.

Wheat Berry Chili with Black Beans
Adapted from EatingWell® Magazine, April 2007

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp chili powder
1½ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp oregano
1½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground pepper
4 cups black beans
4 cups diced tomatoes
1-2 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
2 cups vegetable broth
2 tsp brown sugar
2 cups wheat berries
Avocado for garnish
cooked rice to serve chili over

Cooking wheat berries:

After sorting through 2 cups of uncooked wheat berries and removing any stones, rinse well under cool running water, and place in a large pot with 7 cups of water and 1 tsp salt.

Bring wheat berries to a boil over high heat, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Drain and rinse.

Heat oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat. Sauté onions, garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, ½ tsp salt and pepper until onions are translucent.

Add beans, tomatoes, chipotle pepper, broth, and brown sugar, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes.

Stir in two cups of the cooked wheat berries and cook for another 5 minutes.

Serve over rice and garnish with diced avocado.

Reader Feedback

14 Responses to “wheat berries”

  • berthastrik says:

    hi there

    I am glad to find this place


  • Andrea Hodos says:

    LOVE this recipe! I’ve taken to making it and serving it over Trader’s Joe’s polenta instead of over rice — the combo of the wheat berries with the corn is lovely.

  • Daniel says:

    Sounds delicious! There is a traditional Ukrainian dish that is eaten on Christmas eve that is made with cooked wheat berries, a bit of honey and a couple of teaspoons of poppy seeds. Just mix it with a couple of tablespoons of hot water. Absolutely delicious.

  • Charles says:

    I’m switching over to a mainly vegan diet and this is great to have in my arsenal of good healthy foods. It has a bit of a nutty flavor to it. I bought a wheatberry salad at my local natural foods store. Ingredients: Wheatberrier, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, dried cranberrier, parsley, brown sugar, water, canola and olive oils, toasted sesame oil, salt, pepper. Very good.

  • John says:

    I make my own energy bars. One of the ingredients is the cereal Grape Nuts. I would like to eliminate the Grape Nut cereal and substitute wheatberries. The Grape Nut cereal gives the bars the right mouth feel and texture. Could I use wheatberries UNCOOKED so I get the same result????

    Any help you can pass along would be appreciated



  • Marcy says:

    I made this with fire roasted tomatoes and added some of the adobo to taste (I like it spicy)it was excellent. My family and I had never eaten wheat berries, and we all loved this recipe. Thanks.

  • patsy whiddon says:

    I am a family and consumer science intern at a high school in Arkansas, we are preparing some dif. grain salads for our nutrition & wellness class and also for our foods & nutrition class. We chose wheat berry to make a salad with and are planning on serving it to our students next week. It is nice to have such good information to share with our students about new foods most of them have never tried before, I was a chef for over 20 years before I decided on teaching and have been exposed to a lot of foods these students have never heard of. Thanks for the recipes/information!

  • AnnieOKIee says:

    Hi Folks, I googled hoping to find a baked wheat berries recipe we used to make in the early ’70’s. It was sooooo good but did have a lot of cheddar cheeze = kind of like mac and cheeze but with wheat berries!

  • Orion says:

    Yes i use a combination of (in equal parts) wheat berries, green lentils, and adzuki beans to make the “meat” for my tacos. For taco seasoning i just use a commercial brand(old el paso) It’s delicious and i dont miss meat at all.

  • Barbara says:

    Interesting theme have mentioned. With pleasure I shall support.
    And in general, good blog

  • CC says:

    I too was lured to Henry’s, but in PB, to buy wheat berries from the April issue of eating well. I made the first recipe the Lentil soup tonight. It looks like the photos so I have high hope.

  • eater says:

    Jenny – I hope the folks you talked to were right. I’d hate to see them messing with a good thing!

    Susan – This is actually the female half of the food geek couple, Eliza, posting. I am realizing now that we haven’t made it very clear about which one of us is posting. Maybe I’ll work in some color difference or something. 🙂
    I’m not vegetarian any more, but Jef and I still eat quite a bit of vegetarian fare, and I still tend to prefer eating mostly vegetarian. Your wheat berry breakfast sounds absolutely heavenly! I’ll definitely have to try that.

  • Susan from Food Blogga says:

    Hi Jef! I too am a vegetarian who used to live in San Diego (now in LA) and went to Henry’s all the time. I adore wheatberries–for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I can’t wait to try your recipe–adobo, beans, oregano. It doesn’t get much better than that! One of my favorite breakfasts is warm wheatberries with maple syrup, a bit of butter, and toasted pecans. Yum!

  • Jenny says:

    Wow, that looks delicious. I’m also holding my breath about henry’s. The people there said that not much would change for the moment, apart from the staff structure. Lets hope henry’s stays nice and cheap and cheerful!!

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