An Extra Cup of Wheat Berries
It's funny how new recipes get developed. The other day I was cleaning my refrigerator (a rare occurrence) and I came across some organic wheat berries in a brown paper bag. These were evidently left over from my Hearty Vegan Bean Chili with Wheat Berries recipe I posted in February. I realized that it was unlikely that I would ever think of cooking these unless they were more "visible" so I put them in a large glass jar. Unfortunately, the jar wasn't big enough so I had an extra cup of wheat berries on my hands. So I soaked them overnight which gave me some time to figure out what to do with them. The next morning I cooked them up and set them aside and headed out to the market to look for other ingredients. I found some beautiful fresh asparagus and some other veggies which all ended up in this dish. Other than the time it takes to cook wheat berries, the dish cooks up in minutes. You can always cook wheat berries in advance and freeze them for use later. But you'd better put them in a glass jar or who knows how long they will stay in your refrigerator before you notice that they are there!
Try Making This with Pasta or Other Grains
If you don't have the time to make wheat berries, substitute orzo pasta, couscous, quinoa or brown rice for the wheat berries.
Vegan Wheat Berries with Asparagus, Mushrooms and Bell Pepper
[makes 8 servings]
1 cup dry wheat berries, soaked overnight
1/2 to 1 teaspoon sea salt
1 bunch fresh asparagus
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/3 pound crimini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
5 medium scallions, sliced (the bulbs and lower stem)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper to taste (optional)
After soaking the wheat berries overnight, rinse them well and cook in 3 1/2 cups of water and 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of sea salt. After bringing to a boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours or until they reach the desired texture. Drain and set aside.
To clean asparagus, snap off the bottom ends and soak in a bowl of water. Shake the asparagus under the water to clean, changing the water until there is no sand in the bottom. Cut of the entire tip of the asparagus intact and then cut the rest of the spear in small, half inch slices. Set aside
Heat oil in a not stick 5 quart dutch oven. Sauté the mushrooms until they release liquid, stirring continually for several minutes. Add red bell pepper, scallions and asparagus and cook for a few minutes until the veggies are "crisp tender". Add soy sauce and wheat berries and stir until heated. Shut off the heat, stir in the lemon juice, top with freshly ground black pepper and serve.
Per serving: 118.2 calories, 2.0 g fat, 0.3 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 4.0 g protein, 12.8 g carbohydrates and 2.8 g of fiber.