An easy recipe for simple Instant Pot wheat berries! Wheat berries are high fiber and nutrient rich.
One summer home from college I dated someone from a health nut family, and they always had wheat berries! I completely forgot about them until recently, and it’s been so fun to stumble back on them… and this time in the Instant Pot!
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Instant Pot Wheat Berries
Instant Pot wheat berries are a breeze to make! Usually you would need to boil and then simmer for an hour, or boil your wheat berries and then let them soak overnight, BUT Instant Pot wheat berries take only 35 minutes of cook time! It makes a big batch, which I like to keep on hand for easy breakfasts, a salad topping, or you can even make them into a savory side dish.
What are Wheat Berries?
But first, what are wheat berries? Wheat berries are whole wheat kernels before any processing has occurred. (For my Plan Your Plate tribe, you would count wheat berries as your high fiber starch at a meal, or source of fiber at a snack.) At harvest, wheat berries are very hard and cannot be eaten as-is. Whole wheat flour is made by grinding wheat berries. Wheat berries become soft with boiling and soaking (or how we’ll make it today in the Instant Pot!). Cooked wheat berries have a nice, nutty flavor and chewy texture, similar to farro.
Types of Wheat Berries
There are different types of wheat berries, and they are correlated exactly with what type of wheat they come from.
- Red wheat berries come from red wheat kernels and white wheat berries come from white wheat kernels.
- Hard wheat berries have a higher protein and gluten content (usually used for breads) compared to soft wheat berries (usually used for pastries and baked goods).
- Winter and spring wheat berries vary when they are planted and sown, greatly, depending on climate and location.
Honestly, I had zero idea what to choose the first time I made wheat berries, so I went with soft because it sounded… um… softer?! But, it doesn’t really matter what type you get. You can use either hard or soft wheat berries for Instant Pot wheat berries. I found wheat berries in the bulk sections at Central Market and Sprouts. You may be able to find wheat berries by Bob’s Red Mill in the baking aisle. Any variety and color will work fine for this Instant Pot wheat berries recipe.
Nutritional Value of Wheat Berries
This whole grain is a nutrient powerhouse. One serving of red hard wheat berries (1/4 cup uncooked wheat berries = a little over 1/2 c cooked) clocks in at just 150 calories and boasts 6 g fiber plus 6 g of protein and just under 10% (8%, 14 mg) of your daily iron needs.
How to Serve Wheat Berries
Wheat berries need some sort of flavor added to or with them. I wouldn’t suggest eating them plain like you would brown rice. Although if you do eat them plain, they have a mild taste! They are by no means bad by themselves, I just think they need a little pizzazz.
My favorite ways to serve Instant Pot cooked wheat berries:
- Mixed with Greek yogurt, cinnamon, honey and fresh fruit at breakfast or a snack
- Topped with milk (I like Fairlife fat-free) as a cereal, with honey and fresh fruit at breakfast
- As a high fiber, whole grain topping on a salad (similar to adding quinoa as a bulky topping)
I personally haven’t done a ton of savory applications with wheat berries yet, but that’s next on my list to try! I’m thinking of a savory side dish of warm wheat berries with mushrooms and parmesan!
Until then, let’s jump to our recipe!