The sneaky wheat berry is leading a bit of a double life. That’s because the wheat berry really isn’t a berry at all — it’s a hearty whole wheat kernel that resembles a stubby brown rice grain.
It has a nutty earthiness that lends itself well to both sweet and savory dishes. The wheat berry shines in pilafs and salads drizzled with tangy dressings and stands up well in soups, stews and chilis. It makes an equally delicious hot breakfast cereal when blended with a touch of milk, maple syrup, dash of cinnamon and dried fruits.
Because it’s a whole wheat kernel — raw and unprocessed, so nothing’s been stripped away — it’s brimming with nutrients. It can be cooked in boiling water, like most whole grains, toasted or sprouted, and is a good source of fiber, protein, iron, vitamins B and E and magnesium. It’s low in fat and sodium.
A recipe that makes a tasty side dish this time of year is Curried Wheat Berry Salad, from CVMC's Nutrition and Food Services staff. Dueling notes of heat and sweet strike a perfect balance and pair well with a variety of proteins.
Give this versatile salad a try and let us know what you think!
Curried Wheat Berry Salad
(Makes eight- 6 oz servings)
1 cup wheat berries
½ red pepper, diced small
½ green pepper, diced small
½ yellow pepper, diced small
½ orange pepper, diced small
½ bunch parsley, minced
¼ cup raisins
¼ cup almonds, toasted
1 Tbsp canola oil
2 Tbsp honey or agave
1 pinch curry powder
1 teaspoon each Salt and pepper
Tabasco, to taste
- Cover wheat berries in cool water. Bring water to boil and cook wheat berries until soft but not mushy, approximately 1 hour. Drain.
- Toast almonds in 325 degree oven until uniformly brown, approximately 10-15 minutes.
- Dice peppers and set aside.
- Wash, dry and chop parsley.
- Reserve almonds and raisins.
- Whisk together oil, , honey and curry powder, salt and pepper.
Toss together all ingredients in small batches, then into one large bowl. Taste, adjust salt and pepper if needed, and add Tabasco to taste. Garnish with almonds and raisins
Nutrition information per serving: 171 calories, 5g fat, 0.3g saturated fat, 295mg sodium, 28g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 5.5g protein.