Monday, August 23, 2010

Wheat Berries

Wheat berries are wheat kernels that have had the husk removed. They are the ultimate ‘whole wheat’ food and can be used in place of other grains in many recipes. Wheat berries have a great nutty taste and very good nutritional values, being low in fat and high in protein and fiber.

I am always looking for something new and a couple weeks ago it was wheat berries. There are only a few decent recipes out there for savory wheat berry dishes and several have flopped for me. The recipe that follows is very simple, but was a hit the first time I made it. My wife didn’t get a chance to try it as the kids finished it off before she even got home. Today I made a double batch so hopefully there will be leftovers.

Basic wheat berry preparation:
1 cup wheat berries (dry)
3 to 4 cups water
In a medium saucepan with tight fitting lid bring wheat berries and water to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until tender, about 40 to 45 minutes. Turn off heat, allow to cool about 20 minutes and drain. Yields about 3 cups.

Wheat Berry Salad with Feta Cheese
I don’t usually have cheese in my recipes, but in this one the feta cheese is used more like a spice for its saltiness and flavor. This has quickly become a favorite in our house.
1 cup wheat berries, prepared as above
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 oz. feta cheese, finely crumbled
1 tbs. olive oil
3 to 4 tbs. red wine vinegar
¾ tsp. dried oregano
¼ tsp. garlic salt
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Combine wheat berries, tomatoes and feta and set aside.
2. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over wheat berries. Chill. Makes 8 ½ cup servings. About 110 calories, 3 g. fat, 4 g. protein and 3 g. fiber per serving.

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