Are you tired of eating the same ol’ crap? Cereal is boring, and it leaves much to be desired (even if it’s frosted and has marshmallows). Eggs are great and come in many forms (frittatas, scrambles, soufflés), but even they get boring every day. Plus, variety is key to a healthy diet… and brain. Too much monotony and you’ll go crazy.
So, with that said, I’d like to introduce you to the Fruit and Wheat Berry Breakfast Bowl. It’s a new arrival to my own breakfast menu, and I’m a big fan.
This is an excellent substitute if you like oatmeal. But, unlike packaged oatmeals that come packed with sugar and low on nutrients, this is all homemade… yet still simple to make. So, you can control the amount of sugar, and increase your fiber which reduces your body’s absorption of that sugar.
Filled with whole grains, probiotics, fiber and antioxidant rich spices, you’d think it was just healthy for you. But, oh no, it’s so full of flavor, the Lucky Charms Leprechaun would weep with envy.
Note – Since the wheat berries take about 30-40 mins to cook, I recommend making them the night before. You can even cook an extra cup or two so you have them on hand for several breakfasts throughout the week.
What Makes this Wheat Berry Breakfast Bowl So Awesome?
To understand the full greatness of the wheat berry breakfast bowl, you have to introduce the entire cast, one by one. Yes, it’s a full ensemble performance, so without further ado, here they are.
To start off with, wheat berries are a whole grain. That means they’re completely intact wheat kernels, kind of like brown rice. If you ground them up, they’d eventually turn into whole wheat flour (not gluten free).
And, why do you want whole grains anyway? Since it is unprocessed, the wheat kernel is left intact to include all three parts: the wheat germ, bran, and endosperm. That means fewer nutrients are stripped away. So, whole grains, and wheat berries in particular are higher in protein, fiber and other micronutrients. They’re also part of a heart healthy diet, due to their high fiber content, which may help lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
For more whole grain breakfast ideas, check out my overnight oatmeal recipe.
Okay, enough of the health benefits. How do they taste?
Wheat berries are far more interesting and nutritious than that whole wheat bread or brown rice you tell yourself you should eat. They have a nutty flavor that perfectly accents the taste of the following several ingredients.
Did I mention that wheat berries are SUPER cheap? Look for them in the bulk bins.
Cinnamon & Nutmeg
When I was 10 I ate cinnamon toast every day after school. I still love it today. The prominence of cinnamon takes me back to my childhood, and the nutmeg adds an extra punch of awesome.
From a health standpoint, cinnamon and nutmeg are full of antioxidants. Aside from that, some studies have shown cinnamon can help reduce LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, and may help reduce insulin resistance, thus helping to prevent or manage type 2 diabetes.
Fruit (Fresh or Frozen)
Who doesn’t like fruit? It’s also full of fiber and nutrients. As usual, it’s the star of the show in this dish. In the following recipe, I used apples and blueberries because that’s what I had in my fridge. But, I’m inviting you to improvise. I’ve also done strawberries, you could try peaches.
To save some extra dough, look for frozen fruit rather than buying it fresh.
Last but not least, we have greek yogurt. The following recipe uses a regular greek yogurt, which is added at the end to top off the flavor with a rich creamy profile that accents the cinnamon and nutmeg.
If you’re not familiar with Greek Yogurt, it’s made from regular yogurt. So, you can actually make it at home using normal yogurt. But, Greek Yogurt is created when traditional yogurt is strained. The end product is a thicker, tangier yogurt with less of the liquid whey.
If you’re lactose intolerant, you may find greek yogurt easier to digest. It’s also full of protein, calcium, pottasium, B-12 and probiotics (the happy bugs that live in your belly).
As far as brand goes, I prefer Greek Gods plain traditional yogurt, which is higher in fat. However, if you’re trying to watch your cholesterol, you can opt for the nonfat version, which has 0 g saturated fat.
Bam! Now, let’s do this!
Here’s what you’ll need.
- 1 cup of wheat berries
- 3 cups of water
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1/2 an apple
- 1 cup of frozen blueberries (thawed)
- 2 tsp of cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp of nutmeg
- 1 tbsp of maple syrup or honey (optional)
- 1 1/2 – 2 cups of greek yogurt
So, this recipe is super simple and easy to do. The most challenging part starts with cooking the wheat berries. But, that’s only challenging because you’ve probably never cooked them before.
How to Cook Wheat Berries
Can you cook rice? If so, then you can cook wheat berries. The main difference is the water to grain ratio. In this case, you’ll use 3 cups of water to 1 cup of wheat berries.
- Start out by tossing 1 cup of wheat berries into a pot.
- Then add 3 cups of water and a pinch of salt
- Cover the pot and bring the water to a boil
- Once the water begins boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer
- Let the wheat berries cook for approximately 30 minutes
- Test the wheat berries for doneness
- If not done, continue cooking and testing every 5 minutes
- Add water, if necessary
- When done, drain the remaining water
When they’re done, the wheat berries should be firm and chewy, but not hard. Make sure to check the water periodically so you don’t run out of water and burn the kernels.
After the wheat berries are done:
- Drain the wheat berries and set aside in a separate bowl
- Chop up 1/2 an apple and mix with wheat berries
- Stir in 1 cup of de-thawed blueberries
- Stir in 2 tsp of cinnamon and 1/2 tsp of nutmeg
- Stir in 1 tbsp of honey or maple syrup of desired (optional)
- Split wheat berry breakfast mix into serving bowls
- Serve with a hefty spoonful of yogurt.
That’s all there is to it. I hope you try it out, and let me know what you think.
I also like to think about future modifications to recipes. Here are a few things I might try in future iterations of this recipe.
- Trade the yogurt for warm almond milk
- Add in chopped mint
- Add almonds, flax or chia
If you’re feeling adventurous, try these out and let me know how they go.
Have any other ideas? Let me know in the comments.
This recipe was inspired by the following recipe, published on the Food & Nutrition website: Sweet Wheat Berry Breakfast.