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Fabulous wheat berry recipes.........?

A few weeks ago I had a dish that included wheat berries at a local fancy restaurant where I live outside of Boston and it was one of the holiest meal experiences I have had. The waiter said we don't find them much here because they are local to Italy (or something... I was a bit woozy with food joy). I was wondering, if I happened to procure some, if anyone could suggest how to fix them up right?

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  1. cooking them is easy - you actually don't have to soak them overnight, though some people do it anyway. just rinse the grains well, and bring a pot of broth, stock, or salted water to a boil. add the wheat berries to the boiling liquid, lower the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until they reach the consistency/doneness you like. this can take anywhere from 45 - 90 minutes depending on your preference, so start testing them after 45 minutes. when done, drain well, and proceed with your preferred recipe.

    in terms of the volume of cooking liquid, use a ratio of 3 or 4 parts water to 1 part wheat berries. so for each cup of wheat berries, you'll need 3-4 cups of cooking liquid.

    as far as recipes go, you can add them to your favorite oatmeal preparation (or other hot cereal grains) for texture and additional nutrients. they're also great in lentil or vegetable soup, or combine with your favorite veggies and vinaigrette or sauce as a cold or warm salad.

    sweet & tangy Curried Wheat Berry Salad was always one of my favorites when i could still eat them. here's a recipe:
    i'd toast the almonds, use currants or dried cranberries instead of raisins, fold in a teaspoon of lemon or lime zest, and add a pinch of cayenne.

    7 Replies
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

      The curried wheat berry salad sounds great. I'm going to try that one.

      Here's another wheat berry salad I like, wheat berry waldorf salad:


      1. re: karykat

        it's delicious! i miss wheat berries. sigh. but i'm glad this thread came up to remind me about that dish - i need to make it with quinoa instead.

      2. re: goodhealthgourmet

        I just made this curried wheat berry salad tody for a BBQ potluck (and then didn't go so we got to keep it all)! :) (fiendish grin)

        It's really yummy! I don't even like curry flavor and this was gooooood. So good that i think I will def have a bellyache later from so many wheat berries! Easy to boot...I used dried crans instead of raisins but otherwise followed the directions.

        Thanks GHG!

        1. re: amyamelia

          well i'm not so happy about the idea of your impending tummy ache, but i'm glad you enjoyed it!

          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            Oh GHG you are too sweet. The bellyache never appeared in full form, though certainly not because I exercised any restraint. Perhaps it was the overnight soak of the berries that helped in that department. Love this recipe and will make it again for another potluck (hope to actually make it to this one)!

        2. I love wheatberries! I cook them like GHG says below- very hard to burn a pot of wheatberries.

          Made some recently with shredded sauteed kale and carmelized onions with some feta cheese. A friend makes it like tabbouleh- tons of chopped fresh parsley, cucumbers, colorful peppers, and chopped tomato. Her love it warm or cold.

          They're not so hard to find- you just have to know where to look. I drove myself nuts looking for wheatberries in Whole Foods, until a super-nice employee told me they're not always packaged as 'wheatberries.' Arrowhead Mills (clear package with blue trim) calls them "whole grain wheat." I've seen them in regular supermarkets too- not only the fancy/gourmet ones.

          Here's the link- http://www.arrowheadmills.com/product...

          1 Reply
          1. re: cheesecake17

            My local WF has wheat berries in bulk, but I get mine for about 40 cents a pound from a co-op.

            1. Bob's Red Mill sells wheat berries in 2 lb bags - cheap and delicious. They may have been serving farro at the restaurant, which could explain the "local to Italy" part - you can get farro, a relative of wheat berries, here - but it's tougher to find and much more expensive. You can also try whole spelt - similar to wheat berries.

              1. You could cook them like barley for a wheat berry pilaf. Or you could make a loaf of Amy Schreiber's amazing Coarse-Grained Whole Wheat with Toasted Walnuts. It's a yeast bread baked from a starter and risen overnight in the fridge but it's MORE than well worth the time and effort. It's one of my very favorite breads of all time and space.

                Here's a recipe from a blog written in German. Blessedly, the recipe is in English. Just keep in mind that tasse/tassen is cup/s, teel is teaspoon and essl. is tablespoons. http://chaosqueenskitchen.twoday.net/...

                If you want an easier bread, use any whole or mixed grain bread and knead in soaked and cooked wheat berries.

                1. Memily: are you sure it was Wheat Berries you had and not Farro? Farro is native to Italy.


                  1. Yes, are you sure you didn't have farro? Even so, farro's easy enough to find around Boston - most Whole Foods seem to carry it.

                    If it was wheat berries, this is timely - I just made this nice wheat berry salad this week - topped with cumin-dusted chicken - and it was delicious (good leftover too - had the last of the salad today for lunch): http://www.semisweetonline.com/2010/0...



                    1. I made wheat berries for the first time last weekend, using this recipe for Zesty Wheat Berry-Black Bean Chili from Eating Well magazine. http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/zes.... Yummy! (Next time, though, I would only use one chipotle pepper; it was a bit spicy for me.) I cooked the wheat berries in my pressure cooker, which was very easy and quicker than boiling on the stove.

                      1. I make a wheat berry salad that dates back to a time before Gourmet/BA put their recipes on the web, so I can't link you to it. But basically, you cooked the wheat berries, and also some pearled barley (but often I used 100% wheat berries) Then toss them with halved cherry tomatos, chopped purple onion, fresh corn cut off the cob, cubed mozzerella, and basil. Toss w/ a garlic-balsamic vinaigrette.

                        This dish got rave reviews from everyone, including some ...shall we say...sheltered and traditional eaters.

                        1. I'm so glad to find this post. A while ago, I bought a bag of some sort of grain from a local middle eastern market. Due to language barriers, I could only get so much information from the counterman, but he did confirm that it was wheat, and that I should long-cook it and it's "good for anything!" It was called "LOBAS" and I've been completely unable to find anything by that name online. Cross-referencing with photos of wheat berries online, I've become relatively convinced that lobas = wheat berries. Glad to have some idea of what to do with them!

                          1. I, too, love wheat berries and I make a simple salad, varying the ingredients according to what I have on hand. Basically, you just cook and cool the wheat berries, add good extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and chopped parsley. After that you can add what you like. I often use chopped bell peppers, corn kernels, tomatoes (when they're in season), and grated carrot, but I'm sure many other veggies would be good, too.

                            1. I cook them together with lentils (French lentils)--the cooking time is about the same (30 or so minutes). Use this as a base for salad. I add onions, tomatoes, herbs--whatever I have in the house. I've added steamed cauliflower with curry, cooked chicken and Middle Eastern spices. Wheat berries are a great chewy base for a grain salad and they are very versatile.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: nofunlatte

                                Glad that I found this thread. Was making wheat berry salad with chopped fruits and it didn't do much for me. However, I certainly enjoy a nice savoury salad.

                              2. I used to toast them and soak them a bit to use in super-high-fiber bread for my ex.

                                1. I came up with this great recipe recently that might fit your bill. I made it with farro, but it can be made with barley or wheat berries. Let me know if you make it!

                                  Fruity Nutty Farro Salad

                                  2 c. farro
                                  6 c. water
                                  ½ c. freshly squeezed orange juice
                                  2 T. balsamic vinegar
                                  1 T. red wine vinegar
                                  ½ t. Dijon mustard
                                  ½ c. extra virgin olive oil
                                  2/3 c. sliced almonds or roughly chopped pistachios, toasted
                                  2-3 scallions (depending on size), sliced
                                  2/3 c. dried whole cherries, preferably unsweetened
                                  1/3 c. chopped flat-leaf parsley
                                  Salt and black pepper to taste

                                  Toast the nuts and set aside. Soak the farro in a bowl of water for 30 minutes, then drain and place in a medium saucepan with water to cover by 1 inch. Cook until tender but still quite chewy, anywhere from 25 to 45 minutes depending on the brand of farro. Drain well and put in a serving bowl.

                                  In a separate bowl, mix the orange juice, vinegars and mustard, then slowly whisk in the olive oil. Pour over the warm farro and stir to combine. Let cool for 20 minutes or more, then add the remaining ingredients. Season to taste, but be cautious with the salt as it can overwhelm the delicate sweetness of this dish. Add a bit of extra balsamic vinegar if needed to balance the flavors.

                                  Photo, etc. here: http://whatwouldcathyeat.com/2010/08/...

                                  1. I've been making a feta wheat berry salad from Gourmet (sob, miss the mag!) for years. It calls for cumin, olives, red onions and is scrumptious!

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: NYchowcook

                                      My epi favorite is


                                      I've been making it since it came out in the mag, 1994. I noticed one of the reviewers commenting on how they couldn't believe such an old recipe was any good ;-)

                                    2. I love wheat berries. I find they work best with a citrus dressing. I like tossing them with dried cranberries, almonds, carrots, sometimes apples or kohlrabi, with spinach in a lemon/orange dressing.

                                      1. The Italian Easter "grain pie" (pizza di grano) is made with wheat berry. Definitely worth considering.