As part of whole grains month, I set out to try some grains that I have wondered about in the past but hadn’t yet had the opportunity to try. One of the problems with trying new whole grains is that they are not always available at your local grocery store. Depending upon where you shop, grains like Teff, Millet, and Amaranth may or may not be available however you can usually find multiple wheat varieties. Because of this, I started out whole grains month by cooking up some wheat berries.
The picture above shows wheat berries before (left) and after (right) cooking. As you can see, they start out looking quite similar to brown rice in size and shape, but plump up quite a bit in cooking. They have a very pleasant nutty flavor and chewy texture, making them a great base for side dishes and salads (they can be used in place of cracked wheat for Tabbouleh too). Since I usually eat wheat berries in savory dishes, I decided to try them in place of quinoa or oatmeal for a hot breakfast cereal. As I have been doing with the quinoa, I was able to cook up a batch of wheat berries at night, portion it out and have speedy breakfasts the rest of the week. I have to say that I really liked this as a change of pace. The texture is chewy and made me really slow down and take time to throughly chew each bite and the flavor is reminiscent of fresh baked bread. Additionally, each serving has 6g of protein and 6g of fiber which, along with the soy milk and fruit I add make for a very filling and satisfying breakfast.
Next up for whole grains month; Teff and Millet and Amaranth – oh my!