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wheat berries

Acorn Squash and Aduki Bean Winter Stew

I don’t yet possess my own pressure cooker, but I can confidently say it’d be a great investment.  My mom has one and puts it to use quite frequently to make one-pot dinners like this one.  While presumably this same meal could be whipped up in a slow-cooker (another item I have yet to own), the pressure cooker will have it ready 5 times as quickly.  But if you don’t have the former, than test out the slow-cooker method because this is a hearty winter meal worth making.

Chewy wheat berries, tenderized by the pressure cooker, cook alongside creamy acorn squash and meaty portobellos to create a filling vegan stew.  The dish is modestly seasoned, but the array of veggies supply more than an adequate amount of flavor all on their own.  So, not only do you have just one pot to clean, but you also have zero herbs/spices to prep.  Plus, this dish provides all the elements you need for a complete meal within one bowl.  Win.

Finish this protein + fiber + vitamin-packed dish with a pungent, quality olive oil and any garnishes of your choice.

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Garlic Shitake Kale Soup with Wheat Berries and Peas

With an array of different varieties of kale in the garden and more than enough leaves of each type waiting to be picked, it was time to start utilizing this green powerhouse in some recipes.

In my household, kale is eaten nearly everyday, sometimes even more than once a day if it’s the green of choice in the morning’s smoothie.  Typically we simply steam the vegetable and add a little olive oil, vinegar, and salt and pepper once it’s plated.  But sometimes this can just get plain old boring, and right about the time those thoughts started entering my head, I came across a kale soup recipe in one of my favorite go-to magazines, Vegetarian Times.

Including kale and ten cloves of garlic (yum), I knew this was a recipe I wanted to try.  I modified the magazine’s version and threw in a few extra ingredients I had on-hand.  The soup turned out wonderful, and served as a perfect light accompaniment to a half sandwich and later as a pre-dinner appetizer.

As the magazine mentions, in addition to antioxidant-fiber-filled greens, the recipe is composed of nothing but other nutrient-loaded ingredients as well.  Fibrous wheat berries as well as shitake mushrooms, containing eritadenine, “an amino acid that speeds up processing of cholesterol in the liver”, combine with the kale to make a tasty and super healthful treat.

Garlic and Kale Soup

Note:  Wheat berries need to be soaked overnight prior to making the following recipe.  If soaked and not used right away, simply drain and store in fridge.  They will last several days this way.

-1/2 cup of wheat berries
-2 Tbsp. olive oil
-5 oz. shitake mushrooms
-10 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
-1/4 cup brown rice vinegar
-4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
-15 0z. kale, stemmed and coarsely chopped
-1 cup fresh peas-2 cups water – (These are coming in season, so look for these in your garden or local farmer’s market.  The shelling is definitely worth the extra work!)
-Salt and pepper, to taste
-Tabasco sauce, to taste

Soak wheat berries in bowl of cold water overnight, filling bowl at least one inch above berries.  Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat.  Add mushrooms and season with salt and pepper.  Saute 10 minutes, or until beginning to brown.  Add sliced garlic and saute two minutes more.  Stir in vinegar, using it to scrape any brown bits stuck to the pan.  Simmer until vinegar is nearly evaporated.  Ddrain wheat berries and add to pan, along with vegetable broth and water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 30 minutes.  Add kale and cook for 5 minutes.  Add peas to pan and cook another 5 minutes, or until peas and kale are tender.  Stir in tabasco sauce to taste, and additional salt if needed.