The picture on the left is what cooked whole wheat looks like in its original form. The little grain pods are called wheat berries. They have a chewy texture and a rich, nutty flavor. But they look nothing like the “wheat” we’re used to seeing every day: the doughnuts, breads, pastas, and other products made from refined wheat flour.
Since the grain is in its original form, eating wheat berries instead of bread will give you better blood sugar control. It’s because of all that extra fiber. Get this, one slice of whole wheat bread has 2 grams of fiber. One serving of wheat berries? 6 grams! And we’re just getting started. Eating wheat berries instead of both white AND brown rice will give you more stable blood sugar readings. They’re even gentler on your blood glucose levels than potatoes.
The easiest way to get over your fear of cooking with wheat berries is to think of them as a better substitute for rice, pasta or breakfast granola. Then you can personalize by trying them in in some of your family’s favorite recipes.
Just like with rice, start by cooking up a large batch in your trusty crock pot. You’ll need:
Add everything to the crockpot and cook on high overnight (or 8 hours).
Cooked wheat berries can be refrigerated for up to a week if placed in an airtight container.
Once your wheat berries are cooked, you can use them in many ways. Here are my 3 favorites:
Layer the fruit, yogurt and granola in a bowl or cup, mix and enjoy.
Preheat oven at 400 degrees. Mix the walnuts and wheat berries in a bowl and spread out on non-stick cooking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until wheat berries are crunchy. Cool and store in an airtight container in refrigerator for up to a week.
Guilt free granola makes 8 servings. One serving is ¼ cup.
Cooking with wheat berries can be intimidating at first, but if you think of them as a substitute for rice, all sorts of options will open up. Options that can always be powered up more using beans, fruits, or veggies. Have you been inspired to try replacing rice with wheat berries in a family recipe but aren’t sure if it’ll taste right? Write your idea in the comments below and I’ll be sure to give you feedback and suggestions. You can find wheat berries in more progressive grocery stores such as Homeland, Kroger, Trader Joe’s or Stop & Shop. Health food stores will always have it on hand, although sometimes it may be called Faro or Spelt - the more ancient forms of the grain.