I don't remember how long ago it was, a month? Nearly two, maybe? Whenever it was, Taylor and I went to this place called Earth House Cafe one night to meet up with a few of his friends and watch live music. It was a Friday night, open mic night, and it was beyond fun! Not only was the music really interesting, but it turns out the Earth House Cafe has a vegetarian, and for the most part vegan, friendly kitchen!
No, I'm not a vegetarian, but often vegetarian options are my top food choices. That night I got what was called a wheat berry pita taco. It was a pita filled with a generous layer of hummus and this mixture that was some sort of wheat berry salad. Sounds a little odd, I know, but it was delicious! Taylor was a little less than thrilled... after all the closest he got to meat was a fried egg, and he didn't touch the wheat berry salad that was piled next to his sandwich, but where I'm a happy camper with cuisine generally he's not I guess.
Anyway, I decided wheat berries were an ingredient I'd have to play with. They look almost like rice, and cook in much the same way, but the grains are a little bigger, darker in color, and have a chewier texture and nuttier taste. Unfortunately I couldn't find a recipe that I thought was comparable to what they serve at Earth House and instead opted for a soup recipe that sounded promising.
I found the recipe for Cumin-Scented Wheat Berry and Lentil Soup in a Google search that took me to EatingWell.com. Cumin is one of my all time favorite spices, so I figured, why not?
It turns out that Cumin-Scented Wheat Berry and Lentil Soup is really not that great. I mean, it was ok. I'll eat it, but my whole family sat around the dinner table making fun of my recipe (not the first time, won't be the last, I'll live to cook another day). Even though I tried desperately to defend it, truth be told it's a little bland... fortunately I cooked too many wheat berries! I had leftover wheat berries after assembling my soup so I decided to take advantage of the left over "berries" and use them to make breakfast Tuesday, another option I'd read about.
This time I decided to screw the whole recipe route and free-style based on what I'd read, which is generally a lot more interesting. I'm not going to lie to you, it was delicious. I took a half cup of plain yogurt mixed with a little bit of dark honey and put it on the side of my wheat berries. Then I added about 1/2 a tablespoon of flaxseeds and a diced apricot. I'm officially adding this to my list of favorite breakfast items, it's delicious, filling, and healthy!
I like to call it a "Breakfast Bowl" because you can throw in basically whatever sounds delicious. At the time and apricot sounded like a good addition and flax seeds make everything better. It's really popular to use berries, though, so you could really mix in whatever kind of fruit you favor. I'm a plain yogurt fan, but you don't have to use that either. If you're really an oatmeal fan you can just mix them into hot oatmeal for a heartier breakfast cause you can eat 'em warm, too!
The wheat berries are those things on the right, they kinda look like Smacks cereal... I soaked them in water overnight (which I actually read numerous places you DON'T have to do) and then simmered them for an hour the next day. Like I said, I made more than I really needed for the soup and ended up having plenty left over after breakfast, too. I just popped the leftovers in the freezer and supposedly they'll keep until I want to defrost them for another morning.
I found these wheat berries at Whole Foods and I'm sure you could get them at any grocery store along those lines. I know some of the stuff I put on here is a little too health food oriented or exotic for some of you, but try these, they're really picky-palate friendly and can be used in so many ways!