Ever heard of wheat berries? At Bob’s Red Mill, we love these tiny morsels! They’re packed with flavor and nutrition and offer a creative way to incorporate a plethora of vitamins and minerals into your daily routine.
Wheat berries are a wholesome and delicious grain that doesn’t quite get the attention it deserves. So, we’ve decided to put together a guide that will take you into the world of this wonderful ancient grain. Let’s get to it!
What Are Wheat Berries?
Though the term may at first conjure visions of something like a blueberry or a cranberry, wheat berries are actually grain. They’re often confused with other grains like farro and spelt (which are also varieties of wheat).
Wheat berries are chewy in texture and nutty and slightly earthy in flavor. They can be red or white (the color of the wheat) and you can use them in the same way that you’d use many other grains. You might notice that they’re labeled winter or spring, which is the season in which they are grown. Some folks grind their wheat berries for a homemade flour, while others use them in salads or soups. You can even add water to the berries to grow wheat sprouts!
Are Wheat Berries Healthy?
Yes! Wheat berries are the entire edible part of wheat kernels: the germ, the bran and the endosperm. There is no outer shell and you can eat the whole thing! Because the whole wheat kernel is left, none of its nutrients are stripped away. Wheat berries are filled with fiber, protein and iron. Cook them for your breakfast cereal, toss them into your stews or add them to your salads.
How Can Wheat Berries Be Used?
- use them in salads
- add them to soups
- mix them with dried fruit
- make breakfast porridge
- serve with mushrooms
- enjoy them plain with olive oil, sea salt and black pepper
- throw them in chili
- use them in breads
- add them to a burrito or burrito bowl
Wheat berries can be used in everything from chilis to soups, but two of our favorite ways to enjoy them are in salads and baked goods. Here are some fun wheat berry recipes to start experimenting with.
What Berry Salad Recipes
Experiment with any one of these salads for a delicious way to enjoy wheat berries.
I Love You Wheat Berry Salad
This I Love You Wheat Berry Salad is a fan favorite. As the author notes, you can do whatever you’d like with it! Add nuts, edamame or fresh veggies. Chopped greens like spinach work wonderfully, too. This is a great dish for a protein boost before or after a workout and can also be eaten as a full entree. It tastes yummy alongside fresh grilled fish, chicken, lamb or any meat of your choosing.
Spring Rhubarb, Herb and Wheat Berry Salad
This Spring Rhubarb, Herb and Wheat Berry Salad is vibrant in color and simple to throw together. Ingredients include things like Hard Red Spring Wheat Berries, slivered almonds, rhubarb and strawberries. As a final touch, this can be topped with crumbled cheese and a bit of honey for sweetness.
Wheat Berry Salad with Apples and Cranberries
This Wheat Berry Salad with Apples and Cranberries is a true treat. Chew Out Loud makes her salad with a fantastic mix of whole wheat berries, apple, orange, dried cranberries, thinly sliced green onion, baby kale leaves and toasted pecans. She brings the dish together with a bright homemade dressing made from extra virgin olive oil, pure honey, apple cider vinegar, freshly squeezed lemon juice, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Whatever time of day you decide to indulge in this salad, we’re sure you’ll love it! In fact, you might want to make a big one and invite over a friend or two for a chat and a bite!
Mediterranean Wheat Berry Salad
When it comes to wheat berry salads, this Mediterranean Wheat Berry Salad from Minimalist Baker is a creative showstopper. It’s hearty, customizable year-round and only needs 10 ingredients to throw it together (this includes the simple Greek dressing, too). With wheat berries, baby tomatoes, kalamata olives, red onion, leeks and a pinch of salt, we’re in salad heaven with this dish. Plus, the dressing is made with red wine vinegar, dried oregano, garlic, and good olive oil and rounds out the flavors and textures just perfectly.
Arugula, Carrot and Chickpea Salad with Wheat Berries
This Arugula, Carrot and Chickpea Salad with Wheat Berries from Cookie + Kate is both bold and balanced. We love how Kate combines wheat berries with chickpeas, carrots, feta and arugula with her homemade lemony dressing. Bring this dish to a springtime potluck to introduce your friends to the wonder of the wheat berry!
Wheat Berry Baked Goods
Our other favorite way to get our wheat berry fix is through baked goods (of course). From pies to breads, here are some of our wheat berry baked good staples.
Italian Easter Pie
This Italian Easter Pie is so much fun! It’s made with Hard Red Wheat Berries, salt, water, prepared pie shell, granulated sugar, eggs, cornstarch, ground cinnamon, salt, ricotta cheese, orange zest, candied orange peel, vanilla extract and orange flower water. Once it’s baked and cooled, sit back and relish in your lovely (and nutritious) slice of pie. We recommend serving it alongside a piping hot beverage for an added piece of food bliss.
Wheat Berry Whole Wheat Bread
If you’re looking for a simple go-to recipe for wheat berry bread, try this Wheat Berry Whole Wheat Bread. It’s made with ingredients like Whole Wheat Flour, Unbleached White All-Purpose Flour, Hard Red Wheat Berries, yeast and egg, and is easy to throw together. It makes good sandwiches and tastes excellent on its own, too!
Sprouted Whole Wheat Bread
This Sprouted Whole Wheat Bread has such a wonderful taste and texture. It incorporates ingredients like molasses, wheat germ, oats, 100% stone ground whole wheat flour and Hard Red Wheat Berries and was actually a Malheur County Fair winner (that’s how good it is). Add pumpkin or sunflower seeds if you want a bit of extra texture and flavor. Serve this bread alongside your main course for something that tastes good and feels good.
Organic Energy Bars with Fruit
Wheat berries are a great choice when you’re making energy bars, too. These Organic Energy Bars with Fruit can be eaten for breakfast or snack and are made with a bunch of nutritious ingredients, like Organic Hard Red Wheat Berries, Organic Kamut Berries, Organic Regular Rolled Oats, Pumpkin Seeds, Premium Shelled Sunflower Seeds, chopped walnuts and more.
After you remove them from the oven, use a pizza cutter to easily cut them into bars. Allow the bars to cook, package them separately, place them in the fridge and eat as desired! These are a fun way to introduce kids to wheat berries, too.
From Easter pies to chickpea salads, experimenting with wheat berries in your breakfasts, lunches, snacks and dinners is the perfect way to get more protein, fiber and vitamins in your diet. Plus, with its nutty and robust taste, the flavor will surprise and excite you as you start to explore it!
Do you already cook or bake with wheat berries? If so, share some of your tips and tricks for wheat berry recipes with us in the comments below. We’d love to hear what you create with this fabulously nutritious ancient grain.
From all of us at Bob’s Red Mill, thanks for reading! We hope our guide has inspired a newfound love for one of our favorite (and lesser-known) grains.