A post dedicated to “The Big Bang Theory” fans…๐Ÿ˜‰

Wheat berries are an amazing ingredient. You can use them for breakfast, desserts, salads, risotto-type dishes, you can add them to soups and stews.ย  Since I am always searching for side dishes to incorporate in our menu, wheat berries are a great alternative to give some rest to the usual suspects: rice, pasta, and couscous.ย  The other day I was feeling adventurous, and decided to create my own recipe for them.ย  Problems started right away.ย  A search on my cookbooks and online sources left me surprised (and quite puzzled) at the many different methods used to cook the grain.ย  Some people swear you must soak them overnight. Some insist you need a pressure cooker. I threw caution to the wind, didn’t soak them, didn’t invite the pressure cooker to play, but simply cooked them in salted water as if preparing pasta.ย  It took a little over 1 hour to get them the way I wanted: tender but not mushy.ย  After that, I incorporated them with two veggies I adore, and… side dish mission accomplished!

(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

1 cup wheat berries
1 medium butternut squash, cut in medium dice
olive oil
salt and pepper
smoked paprika
1 large celery stalk, cut in slices

Heat the oven to 420F.

Cook the wheat berries in plenty of salted water until al dente (depending on the brand, it might take from 1 to 2 hours).ย  When cooked to your taste, drain, and reserve.ย  If not using immediately,ย add just a little drizzle of olive oil to prevent the grains from sticking too much. Can be prepared a couple of days ahead.

While the wheat berries are cooking, place the diced butternut squash in a bowl, and drizzle olive oil just enough to lightly coat the pieces. Season the squash with salt, pepper, and smoked paprika.ย  Add them in a single layer over a rimmed baking dish.ย  Roast in the hot oven until cooked, and the edges start to brown (25 to 35 minutes).

Mix the cooked wheat berries with the roasted squash, add the raw celery, incorporate everything together gently.ย ย  Adjust seasoning, and serve.


to print the recipe, click here

We both loved this recipe!ย  Roasted butternut squash has a special place in my heart, and now stores in our neck of the woods carry those cute little bags with the cut veggie, so I often cave and bring those home to make my life easier.

We are also quite fond of raw celery. In this recipe, it gave the needed “crunch factor” to oppose the chewiness and softness of the wheat and squash.ย  The squash, when roasted, tastes a little sweet, so the smoked paprika and the celery help cut through that.

We enjoyed this dish with grilled pork tenderloin, but of course it goes well with all sorts of main dishes, standing also on its own if you add a hearty salad.

Hope you try it!

ONE YEAR AGO: Curried Zucchini Soup

TWO YEARS AGO: Roasted Onion and Asiago Cheese Miche (an outstanding bread!)

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  1. “Our whole kitchen stove was in a hot, dense state….”

    I’ve always associated whole wheat berries with my mom’s demonic attemts to get us to eat horrific “health food” in the 70’s and 80’s. I still can’t stand the smell of carob, soy flour, or even vegetarians themselves. And wheat berries were a big part of that entire stupid Earth Mother, post-hippy hippy, “fight The Man and his evil “flavored” foods!”, shapeless linen ankle-length skirts and unkempt hair, movement. And unshaved pits. WHY THE UNSHAVED PITS?!

    Anyway, I was, as you can see, slightly traumatized. The sight of wheat berries now brings to mind memories of patchouli and filthy, unwashed ankles.

    Buuuutttt…..yours looks pretty good. Maybe if I get drunk enough (safe bet) I’ll get over my ingrained (get it?) revulsion and give something like this a try.

    As long as I don’t have to drink soy milk and sing Joan Baez songs.


  2. What a good idea Sally, I don’t come across wheat berry posts very often but they are great to work with because they are unprocessed kernels that contain all three native parts of the grain (germ, bran, endosperm). Thanks for the cooking tips – I’m not one to labour more than necessary in the kitchen so just as happy to see you do away with the pressure cooker, soaking, etc. etc. Your dish looks great Sally!


    • I don’t mind using the pressure cooker, but I was very afraid of over-cooking the grain. Because there was such a variation in the timing of all recipes, I thought it was safer to just cook and taste from time to time.


  3. I love the title. “Transmorgification” is such an awesome word! This looks like a fantastic side and I too adore butternut squash. I can’t get enough of it. I haven’t used wheat berries before, but they sound right up my alley – and I’m all for not using the pressure cooker!


    • I hope you have a chance to try them, either in this recipe or some other preparation – salads work well too, now that warmer weather is knocking at the door…


  4. I had a recipe with wheat berries in it last summer and it took me quite a few phone calls to find it! I absolutely love cooking and eating them… they have a yummy nuttiness and just the right amount of “chew”! Love “transmogrification” … had to figure that one out!!


    • Hummmm…. do you like roasted carrots? I played with that theme a while ago, and loved them, it could work. Of course, I’ve got the ‘orange color’ in my mind when I suggest carrots…
      Roasted cauliflower bits… that would be awesome! Even eggplant could work too


    • Oh, don’t let Dangerspouse scare you away… he is “almost” harmless… ๐Ÿ˜‰
      If you cannot find wheat berries, I made a version of this dish using Israeli couscous and it turned out delicious, but it will be a slightly heavier meal


  5. That looks delicious, Sally! And on the point of BBT, I thought of you last week and wished you could have been around to hear the dinner conversation at our place…you have no idea how handy it would be to have a scientist here to field Small Man’s questions!๐Ÿ™‚


    • Now you got me curious… was it about cloning stuff? ๐Ÿ˜‰
      I still think one day Small Man should come and spend some time in our lab, he would have fun, last week one of our grad students had some green fluorescent bacteria around – pretty cool!


  6. My only experience of using these is in a bread (of course) but I do remember cooking them for ages, and tasting them every so often until they were what I considered soft enough to then withstand being incorporated in a dough and baked. I suspect that the time they take to cook to an acceptable tenderness varies from variety to variety and on how old they are and so on. Your dish looks very pretty though and I adore butternut squash too๐Ÿ™‚


  7. Pingback: Day 5: It’s all Wheat Berries and Green Juice « My Bikram Yoga Life

  8. Pingback: Day 5: It’s all Wheat Berries and Green Juice :: My Bikram Yoga Life

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