Last week, while looking for a new Thanksgiving dish, I decided to make the Fruit and Nut Wheat Berry Salad from our Thanksgiving Meal Makeover article on www.clevelandclinic.org.
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I have to admit, before starting down this path, I had to answer two major questions. First of all, what is a wheat berry? And, where can you find them?
According to dictionary.com, the wheat berry is “the whole kernel of wheat, sometimes cracked or ground and used as a cereal or cooked food, or made into bread.”
Melissa Ohlson MS, RD, Nutrition Projects Coordinator from the Preventive Cardiology and Rehabilitation Program at Cleveland Clinic, says, “The wheat berry is a great source of health-promoting dietary fiber, providing six grams in a half-cup cooked portion. It’s also a good way to boost your plant protein intake. The same half-cup portion provides six grams of protein.” She adds, ”What I enjoy most about the wheat berry is its nutty flavor and crunchy consistency, which helps make me feel more satisfied after the meal.”
In my search to find the wheat berry, I went to our local grocery and was not sure if I should look in the health food section, the rice or beans sections. The grocery clerk helped me find it in the rice section, but it could be different at another store. I purchased a brand that said it took about an hour to cook. At Thanksgiving, my sister-in-law said that her brand requires soaking all night before cooking.
The recipe was great. Everyone enjoyed the wheat berry salad. It was similar to a hearty brown rice and had that nutty flavor. And the nuts and carrots in the recipe brought out the crunchy texture.
I enjoyed my first adventure with the wheat berry. The Food Network suggests using wheat berries in soups, salads, and even in cereal. I will be looking for more recipes and ways to use this nutritious and delicious new ingredient.
[Find more heart healthy recipes at www.clevelandclinic.org/HeartHealthyRecipes.]