- 1 cup uncooked wheat berries
- 2 cups hot water
- 4 cups water
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 4 cups sliced cremini mushrooms
- 1/2 cup sliced celery
- 1/2 cup sliced carrot
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 2 cups chopped Savoy cabbage*
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 (14.5-ounce) undrained and chopped can whole tomatoes**
- 1 (15-ounce) drained can black soy beans***
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2. Combine the wheat berries in a Dutch oven with 4 cups water and the sea salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes; remove the wheat berry mixture from the pan and set aside.
Note: I found this step to be, quite simply, annoying. It is very hard to remove the hot water and all those tiny grains of wheat berries to another bowl - as evinced by the rogue wheat berries still in the pan while I sauteed the onions in the next step - in particular because my Le Creuset Dutch oven is heavy and hard to upend over another bowl. Although I know it defeats the purpose of a "one pot meal," next time I would simmer the wheat berries in a separate pan, and add to the stew as directed below.
Behold the rogue wheat berries:
3. After removing the wheat berry mixture, heat the olive oil in the pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion; saute for 5 minutes. Add the cremini mushrooms, celery, carrot, and rosemary; saute for 5 minutes.
4. Return the wheat berry mixture to the pan, along with the reserved soaking liquid. Bring to a boil. Stir in the cabbage and black pepper. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes, lifting the lid to stir occasionally.
5. Add the canned tomatoes; simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the soy beans; return to a boil. Cook for a final 10 minutes, until the mixture thickens. Stir in the parsley at the end.
A quick side note, since I'm cooking with wheat berries tonight: I'm often asked if I'm gluten-free as well as vegan, an odd pairing in my mind because, quite simply - there are no animals in gluten. So the very easy answer is a resounding no - I am gluten-friendly, you could say. And a good thing too, because I love wheat berries (the hard grain of the wheat plant). If you are gluten-free for true allergy reasons, however, you could probably try this stew with a gluten-free grain such as millet.
*Don't forget that Savoy cabbage is the head with curly green leaves, in contrast to the smooth leaves of green cabbage; it has a slightly more mellow flavor and works well in this stew.
**I'm always perplexed when a recipe asks me to leave a can of whole tomatoes undrained, and yet chop them. To achieve this paradox, I add the undrained can to the stew, and break the tomatoes apart into smaller pieces directly in the pot. Because of the 1 teaspoon sea salt called for in this recipe, I recommend canned tomatoes that have no salt added, such as Bionaturae.
***As with the canned tomatoes, look for no-salt-added canned beans to keep down the sodium levels in this dish. Eden Foods is one great option, and a brand I recommend in general since the lining in their cans is BPA-free. If you can't find canned black soy beans, substitute canned regular black beans or even frozen shelled edamame in a pinch.
4 servings (1 and 1/2 cups), Calories 333
Incredibly earthy. I loved the slightly-chewy texture of the wheat berries, and the savory tomato flavor, which came through strongest of all the ingredients. Although the other veggies were quite yummy, the soup was a touch bland. I am definitely thinking cumin next time, and perhaps other spices as well.