- Recipe: Cooked Wheat Berries
- Writer: Lizzie Green
- Content-Type: Food Blog
Discover the secret of cooking wheat berries precisely each time! This chewy, nutty whole grain tastes great in bowls, salads, soups, and other dishes.
When I was a resident in Austin, I frequently purchased wheat berries from our grocery store’s bulk bins. When we relocated to Chicago, though, I was unable to locate them anywhere – not in quantity, not packaged, nothing.
Last but not least, I discovered a nearby wheat farmer selling organic wheat berries at our farmers’ market this fall.
I knew I had to get some since I adore combining this earthy whole grain with autumnal items like squash, kale, and dried cranberries.
Since then, I’ve been crazily adding wheat berry to salads and other side dishes! I don’t believe they receive nearly enough attention given how tasty they are.
They taste sweet and nutty and have a nice chewy texture. They are also loaded with nutrients.
The wheat we frequently consume as wheat flour and wheat bread is in this least processed, whole grain form.
(If you wanted, you could even use them to grind your own flour!) In any event, wheat berries have a high protein level and are loaded with iron, dietary fiber, and vitamins due to the whole wheat kernel.
I strongly advise giving it a try if you’ve never cooked with them before.
Cooking Wheat Berries
Although cooking wheat berry is simple, the amount of time required depends on the kind you choose.
The two sorts of Red Spring Wheat Berries that I frequently see on the market are Soft and Hard. I prepare them both using the following technique:
- In a medium saucepan, bring at least 3 cups of water to a boil.
- Reduce the heat, then stir in 1 cup of washed wheat berries.
- Simmer the meat for a while, periodically checking for doneness. I begin checking after 25 minutes and keep doing so every 15 to 20 minutes. Hard wheat berries can take up to 90 minutes to cook, whilst soft ones can be prepared in as little as 30 minutes. Keep the grains boiling patiently until they are cooked through.
- Drain any extra water from the wheat berries after they are soft. They can be eaten straight immediately or kept in the refrigerator for up to 4 days if they are kept in an airtight container.
Note: Pearled wheat berries can occasionally be purchased offline and online. The wheat kernel’s outer bran layer is removed during the pearling process. While it significantly reduces the cooking time, it also wipes away many of the grain’s nutrients. Start checking your pearled wheat berries earlier, after only 15 minutes on the stove, if you have any.
The variety of uses for wheat berries will surprise you if you’re new to cooking with them. As they are both varieties of wheat, they often work well in any dish that calls for farro. In Farmhouse Farro Salad, Pomegranate Salad, or the Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts, swap them out for the farro. In any case, these are my preferred applications for them:
- Stews & Soups. Cooked grains can be added to any broth-based vegetable soup, or dry grains can be simmered until tender in soups and stews.
- A salad. Along with the Strawberry Salad with Toasted Hazelnuts and the Delicata Squash Salad in my first cookbook, they taste great in this autumnal Wheat Berry Salad. They’d also make a beautiful addition to salads like this one with pears, butternut squash, or strawberries.
- In bowls for grains. I adore using them as the foundation for filling grain bowls! You can try other combinations, but lately, I’ve been enjoying them with hard-boiled eggs, sautéed beet greens, and lemon vinaigrette. They combine well with proteins like roasted chickpeas and French green lentils, and you have a wide variety of veggies to choose from. They go well with roasted butternut squash, roasted beets, fennel that has been sliced, asparagus, sautéed mushrooms, and kale in particular. To elevate your bowl, drizzle it with a flavorful dressing, such as tahini sauce, green goddess dressing, Italian dressing, or apple cider vinegar dressing.
Cooking Wheat Berries
|Cooking Time: 30 minutes to 25 minutes
Wheat berries are fantastic! This chewy, nutty whole grain tastes great in bowls, salads, soups, and other dishes.
- 1 cup dry wheat berries
- 3 cups water, more as needed
- Water should be heated up in a pot.
- Add the washed wheat berries to the saucepan. For soft wheat berries, simmer for 25 to 40 minutes; for hard wheat berries, simmer for 45 to 90 minutes, or until the berries are tender. Your wheat berries will determine the timing. If extra water is required, add it. Drain.