Vegetarian Wheat Berry Stew

by Pamela

Vegetarian Wheat Berry Stew

This wheat berry stew, along with a hunk of crusty bread, is the perfect dinner to enjoy on these cold and blustery nights. Got the dinner but no side dishes? This wheat berry stew can pull double duty as one of your hearty side dishes too.

It’s January and we’re all trying to eat a little better, a little lighter, but it’s ridonkulously cold and icky out there and the only thing we want to eat is something that’s heavy, warm, and comforting. Are you with me? Today’s post is something I think you’re really going to like because it checks off all of those boxes (not the icky box though). And it tastes ridiculously good.

Wheat Berry Stew for a Healthy Side DIsh

Wheat berry stew sounds a little like some back to nature twigs and pebbles snack, I know, but I promise you it’s some really delicious, rib sticking food. The wheat berries, because they’re whole grain, actually stay with you for a while. The garbanzo beans give your mouth another texture to work on that tells your brain you’re not just eating bird food. And the seasonings in this recipe will knock your socks off. They aren’t anything you haven’t already had, you’ve just probably not had them together like this before.

To make things really easy, this wheat berry stew is a one pot meal. I made and served the whole thing up in my 12″ cast iron skillet. (More health points for adding a little iron to our diets.)

We inhaled this wheat berry stew down as a main course one night, along with a glass of red wine, but there’s no reason to eliminate it from your side dishes repertoire. As far as side dishes go….this one could actually steal the thunder of your main course. 😉

Cast Iron Skillet Wheat Berry Stew

This stew is really rich, so to brighten the flavors I hit it with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a sprinkle of freshly chopped Italian parsley. But before I do that, I drizzle each dish with some really good extra virgin olive oil. Not just a bottle of evoo from Costco…a really good extra virgin olive oil. I used Il Fiorello oil from Napa, California. This extra virgin olive oil has a deep rich color and flavor that adds a whole other dimension to the wheat berry stew. This rich olive oil gives the dish more of a Mediterranean flavor. Olive oils like Il Fiorello aren’t just for dressing salads. Think of these better extra virgin olive oils as a finishing oil. Much like using a good sea salt as a finishing salt.

You could also use spelt, farro, or barley instead of the wheat berry in this recipe. Any one of those grains would work really well. You may just have to adjust your cooking times a little bit.

Vegetarian Wheat Berry Stew
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This vegetarian wheat berry stew is a hearty meatless Monday dinner or as one of your go to side dishes that's fragrant and filling.
Author:
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • For Spice Mixture
  • 1 Tablespoon Black Peppercorns
  • 1 Tablespoon Allspice Berries
  • ½ Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • ¼ Teaspoon Nutmeg
  • For Wheat Berry Stew
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Yellow Onion (sliced thin)
  • 3 Cloves Garlic (grated)
  • Kosher Salt
  • 1 Cup Wheat Berries (soaked in water overnight)
  • 5 Cups Vegetable Stock (separated)
  • 1 15 Ounce Can Garbanzo Beans (drained)
  • Il Fiorello Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Handful Parsley (chopped)
  • 1 Lemon
Instructions
  1. For Spice Mixture
  2. Place the first two spices into a spice grinder and grind until fine. Add in remaining two spices and stir to blend then set aside.
  3. For Wheat Berry Stew
  4. Heat olive oil in a large cast iron skillet, over medium heat, until hot.
  5. Once oil is hot, add onions and garlic to pan and cook until onions are soft (about 7-8 minutes).
  6. Add some salt to onions along with 1 tablespoon of seasoning mixture. Stir and cook for 2 minutes.
  7. Drain wheat berries and add to hot pan along with 4 cups of stock and give everything a good stir.
  8. Let cook for 25 minutes.
  9. Add garbanzo beans to pan and stir to combine.
  10. Cook for another 25 minutes but watch your liquid levels. When the pan starts to run dry, add 1 cup of vegetable stock. You're done cooking when that cup has been absorbed.
  11. Remove pan from heat and spoon into bowls.
  12. Drizzle with Il Fiorello olive oil, add a squirt of lemon and top with a dusting of chopped parsley.
  13. Serve
Notes
You could also use spelt, farro, or barley in this recipe and you wouldn't have to soak it overnight. Your cooking times might change though.

 

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2 comments

Maureen | Orgasmic Chef January 10, 2015 at 6:19 pm

It looks good so I’m willing to be convinced that in addition to being good FOR me that it’s good tasting. I trust you. 🙂

Pamela January 11, 2015 at 9:26 am

Maureen, it is quite delicious. It’s very filling and no meat in this one. Perfect for your healthier meal planning that you’re doing now. 😉

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