I love grains. It’s rare to have a meal in our house without a grain as a side dish (the usual suspect is brown rice). I am always up for experimenting with different grains – bulgur, farro, and this week: wheat berries. Wheat berries are very similar to farro, but a little sweeter. They are kernels of wheat and actually have a high protein content (hear that protein loving husband?). When cooking wheat berries, I always stick with the hard berries since they maintain their chewy texture. They take a while to cook (about an hour), but are well worth it. Also, I bought these wheat berries from the Farmer’s Market so they are a mix of white and red berries, but there is no nutritional difference in the color.
This easy side dish has you cook your wheat berries and then add cherries, toasted walnuts, and green onions. The cherries add a tartness and the walnuts add a nice crunch. If you don’t have cherries, feel free to use cranberries instead. I usually make this side for dinner and then the next day I top it with some tofu for lunch. Enjoy!
Wheat Berry Salad
Makes 6 Servings
- 1 1/2 cups hard wheat berries
- 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/3 cup tart dried cherries, chopped
- 1 scallion, white and green parts, chopped
- 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley leaves
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- In a large pot combine the wheat berries and enough water to come 2 inches over the wheat berries. Bring to a boil and cook uncovered for 1 hour, or until tender. Drain and let cool (sometimes we eat ours warm).
- Meanwhile, in a medium dry skillet or toaster oven, toast the walnuts over medium-high heat until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes.
- In a large bowl, combine the wheat berries, walnuts, dried cherries, scallions, parsley, olive oil and lemon juice. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
Recipe adapted from Elie Krieger
If you are having trouble finding wheat berries, check your local farmer’s market or Amazon is a good bet as well.
Year 3 of the Turkey Day Recipe Round Up is here! Past posts are here and here (some great ideas in there). Yesterday Q and I tackled our grocery list and did our shopping before the madness begins this week.We LOVED spatchcocking our turkey last year and are going to be doing that again this year. I like traditional Thanksgiving dishes, but I also love doing things a little differently over here (green bean casserole with cream of mushroom soup is out, farro, mushroom and green bean salad is in). What are you guys making? Traditional or a little out of the ordinary? Here are some unique ideas for your Thanksgiving dinner this year:
Appetizer: Spinach Artichoke Dip with Pita Chips (I Wash You Dry)
Appetizer: Cherry Brandy Baked Brie (Taste of Home)
Biscuits: Feta and Sour Cream Scones (Joy the Baker)
Rolls: Parmesan Garlic Knots (White on Rice Couple)
Turkey: How to Spatchcock a Turkey (Martha Stewart)
Potatoes: Mixed Potato Gratin (What’s Gaby Cooking)
Side: Wild Rice Gratin (Pink Parsley)
Potato: Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecans and Coconut (Val Socal)
Stuffing: Sausage and Cornbread Stuffing (Food Network & Fork Knife Swoon)
*Just make sure to make your cornbread ahead of time so it has time to dry (I made mine today)
Pasta (a little different): Butternut Squash Pasta with Mushrooms (Running to the Kitchen)
Veggies: Roasted Mushroom and Green Bean Farro Salad (Closet Cook)
Veggie: Sweet and Spicy Roasted Carrots, Parsnips and Chickpeas (TheKitchn)
Cranberry Sauce: Crockpot Apple and Cranberry Sauce (Cookin’ Canuck)
Dessert: Frosted Apple Slab Pie (Tracey’s Culinary Adventures)
Dessert: Pumpkin Bundt Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting (Smells Like Home)
Dessert: Easy Caramel Apple Cake (Koko Likes)
Dessert: Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie with Chocolate Almond Bark and Toffee Sauce (Tracey’s Culinary Adventures)
Dessert: Salted Caramel Cheesecake (Joy the Baker)
I am a huge fan of farro. It is my favorite grain over all the others: brown rice, bulgur, quinoa. The nutty, rich flavor compliments pretty much any meal and I love that it can be spiced up or eaten plain. One of my favorite dishes is this Kale and Farro Salad: it is simple and I usually have all the ingredients on hand.
For this week’s farro dish, I was interested in making an easy one-pot side dish. This recipe is another one of those where you usually have all the ingredients on hand and it comes together quickly. Recently I have been using this 10-minute farro from Trader Joe’s and for this dish it was no exception.
For dinner, I baked out a few chicken breasts (375 degrees, salt and pepper and some lemon juice) and served it over the farro. And for lunch the next day I baked tofu in the toaster oven (350 degrees for 12 minutes, sesame seeds, salt and pepper) and popped that over the leftover farro.
The farro was absolutely delicious having been cooked with the chicken broth, onions and tomatoes. This dish is very simple, just be mindful of the amount of liquid you use for your farro. Because I used the TJ’s farro, I used around 2 cups of broth and it was perfect. The great thing about farro is that if you do use too much broth, the farro will eventually soak it up or you can always use a colander or a ladle to make sure your dish isn’t too soupy. Enjoy!
One Pot Farro with Tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, halved
- 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2-3 cups chicken stock (I used a little over 2, but follow the directions on your farro)
- 1 1/2 cups farro (I used this 10-minute farro from Trader Joe’s)
- 1 cup tomatoes (mix of homegrown I had around cheeries and heirlooms), cut into quarters
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Fresh basil, cut into strips
- In a medium skillet, heat one tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil begins to glisten, add the onions. Saute until they become translucent and begin to soften, around 5 minutes. Add the garlic, saute for another minute. Add the chicken stock and olive oil and bring to a boil. Add the farro, tomatoes, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Bring up to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer and stir occasionally.
- Cook until liquid is almost completely absorbed and the farro is cooked through and has a chewy bite. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
- To serve, sprinkle with fresh basil, Parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil.
Roughly adapted from The Daily Muse
When Q is gone, I take the easy road with cooking. I do the basics: quesadilla, burrito bowl, cereal, salad, sometimes just cheese and crackers and almost always some sort of pasta.
Last night I went the pasta route, but instead of just doing a simple pasta marinara, I decided to spice things up a little bit by including some spinach and feta from a filling I made for chicken earlier in the week. The result was fantastic! It made “simple” pasta turn into flavorful, filling and delicious pasta. And it was SO easy.
You could definitely substitute the frozen spinach for fresh spinach if you have it in the fridge (I did not). Also, you want to really drain the frozen spinach before using it. I use a colander and lots and lots of paper towels to do this.
Weeknight Spinach and Feta Pasta
- 1 box pasta of choice (penne, rotini, ziti are good beats)
- 1 tsp oil
- 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped green onions
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and juice squeezed out
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup Feta cheese
- 1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- Marinara sauce (canned or homemade)
- Parmesan cheese
- Cook pasta according to box, drain and set aside. Leave the pot where you cooked the pasta on the stove (this is where you will mix everything together).
- While you are cooking the pasta, start on the spinach mix. In a small sauté pan, heat oil until it glistens. Add yellow onion and green onions, saute for 3-5 minutes. Add garlic, saute for 1 minute. Add spinach, salt and pepper and cook another 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add feta and mozzarella cheese. Stir to mix.
- Add your drained pasta back to the original pot. Add the spinach and feta mixture to your liking (there may be a little extra). Add a few spoonfuls of marinara sauce until the pasta is covered evenly. Stir everything together. Serve topped with Parmesan cheese.