Sundays are usually my food prep days. I like to go grocery shopping, wash and chop my veggies, and I will usually cook up a pot of grains. Normally I make quinoa, it’s easy, versatile and I enjoy it. That way I am ready to pack lunches and or make healthy dinners when I get home late from class or work. The other week I decided to try something different and instead of quinoa and I cooked up some wheat berries. Crazy, I know.
Wheat berries are not actually berries but in fact they are the entire wheat kernel and can be cooked just like any other grain. They are high in fiber and protein and other micronutrients. They have a mild flavor and a chewy texture; similar to quinoa you can add them to soups and salads, or cook them as a breakfast grain (like oatmeal).
A few online sites recommend soaking wheat berries before cooking them – I am not 100% positive if that is necessary. I did soak mine for a few hours just in case and I found that the cooking time was much less than what online instructions indicated. I cooked about a cup of dry wheat berries, which lasted me all week. I decided to use what I had to make a salad (I basically took what was left in my fridge and made it into something) – here is what I came up with:
Wheat Berry Salad
¼ cup wheat berries
½ cup shelled edamame
roasted red pepper
To cook the wheat berries you can either soak or not soak them for a few hours (soaking reduces cooking time). You need about a 1 to 3 ratio (I did 1 cup of wheat berries to 3 cups of water and this yields about 2.5 cups of cooked wheat berries). Bring the water to boil, add the wheat berries, lower the heat and let them simmer for 25-30 minutes. I would keep an eye on them though and give them a stir every now and then to make sure they don’t boil dry and aren’t getting mushy.
For the rest of the salad, I steamed the spinach for some texture variety, and chopped & tossed the veggies (see below).
(Between the edamame and the wheat berries this salad is pretty nutrient dense – the edamame has 9 g protein, 5 g fiber)
I mixed it with a little bit of olive oil and apple cider vinegar but you could use any salad dressing.
and that is pretty much the extent of my cooking skills!