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There are always some kitchen staples that most people keep in their homes, and wheat berries are commonly found in a variety of different homes.
In fact, wheat berries have become a staple in salads, stews, pilafs, soups, and desserts. However, getting your hands on wheat berries is not always easy, which is why you might want to consider using a few alternatives.
Wheat Berries – What Is It?
For the most part, wheat berries are often confused with Farro since they have a similar appearance since both have a brownish and red color.
More importantly, wheat berries tend to have a nutty and earthy flavor with a chewier texture.
In addition, wheat berries are generally lighter, so you don’t have to worry about feeling heavy afterward. Some people often consume wheat berries with milk, honey, and cinnamon to make a wholesome breakfast.
Wheat Berries Substitute
Wheat berries are actually unprocessed wheat kennels. It can be cooked with different grains or can be cooked alone as well. Truth be told, wheat berries are extremely nutritious.
However, wheat berries have a generally longer soaking and cooking time.
If you can’t find wheat berries in your area or simply don’t want to go through the trouble of soaking them and making them ready for consumption, there are quite a few different alternatives that you can use.
1. Grain Barley
When it comes down to grain barley, people can use hulled as well as whole-grain barley. In case you use the hulled grain barley, you will be able to get minimal processing time since the outer hull is already removed.
All in all, grain barley tends to have a nutty taste while the texture is chewy. Grain barley can be used with nuts and fruits.
Also, it can be added to porridge, if that’s what you like. On top of everything, grain barley can replace wheat berries in casseroles and stir-fries, so it’s a fantastic option.
To begin with, bulgur is basically whole grain that is made from dried and cracked wheat. As far as the flavor is concerned, bulgur has a light and nutty flavor, along with a chewy texture.
The best thing about this substitute is that it can be bought in par-cooked form, which makes it extremely easy to add to the dishes.
On top of everything, you can also add bulgur to gazpacho, which makes it a fantastic substitute for wheat berries.
3. Rye Berries
As the name suggests, rye berries come from the rye plant and generally have the hulled whole grain form.
Most rye berries tend to have a high fiber count. Once cooked, rye berries will have a nutty flavor with a firm texture.
It’s great for replacing wheat berries in stews and soups. In addition, rye berries go fine with pilaf, tabouli, and risotto.
We love how rye berries can make a fulfilling breakfast (add cinnamon and grated apples for better flavor).
Lastly, it has sour and sweet undertones (slight tones), so it makes for a pretty good substitute in many other dishes where wheat berries would be the standard.
To begin with, kasha is found online or in specialty stores. Kasha is actually a cereal that is made from buckwheat groats. It is made by roasting, soaking, and cooking buckwheat groats.
The cooking process will add firm and gummy consistency, as well as a nutty flavor. However, if kasha is overcooked, it can become mushy, so keep an eye on the cooking time.
Kasha also goes great with a variety of different dishes, so it makes for a very viable substitute for wheat berries.
5. Triticale Berries
To illustrate, triticale berries are a cross between wheat and rye. The berries have a sweet taste profile with a nutty flavor.
Generally, triticale berries tend to be larger as compared to wheat berries but don’t compromise on the nutrients.
However, if you have to replace them with wheat berries, it might not be a promising choice because it has to be soaked overnight before cooking.
As far as flavor and texture are concerned, triticale berries will serve the purpose. They are a fairly viable alternative to wheat berries in most cases.
6. Oat Groats
The oat groats are a gluten-free and highly nutritious substitute for wheat berries. The oat groats can be made from hulling the oats. Before adding oat groats to stews and soups, you have to soak them overnight, as with most others on this list.
All in all, oat groats are great for your morning breakfast if you are fond of cereal. They are extremely nutritious and healthy and make for an excellent alternative to wheat berries.
7. Spelt Berries
The name surely suggests that it’s a fruit but spelt berries are actually whole kernels that are taken out from spelt grain. The spelt berries deliver a nutty flavor, just like wheat berries.
All in all, it makes a great substitute for wheat berries in rice-based recipes, stews, and soups. As far as the texture is concerned, it can be pretty tough, which makes it fine for risottos.
Another option that you can choose is quinoa. Widely available in almost every superstore, you can easily substitute wheat berries for quinoa. It’s also commonly used as a cereal, or you can have it as a breakfast meal.
It’s also a great choice for using in risotto, and you can also pair it up with different types of meats, or with a salad.
However, you have to boil the quinoa first (make sure you check the instructions on the back of the packet), and let it cool down before you decide to put some in a salad.
Another excellent alternative that you can consider in place of wheat berries is couscous. The ingredients are very similar to pasta, so they are going to be quite filling. Before you decide to add couscous to your dishes, make sure you first cook it.
Once you do, you can easily add it to a soup or stew, and it goes just as well with salads. You can always decide what quantity you want to use.
However, since it’s generally got a higher calorie content, it’s not always a direct substitute (make sure you don’t overdo it with the quantities).
Another viable substitute is Freekeh. Known commonly as farik, Freekeh makes it a great choice since it’s made primarily from durum wheat.
While it’s generally popular in Africa, Freekeh is now used in a variety of different cuisines around the globe.
When using it as a substitute for wheat berries, you will want to make sure that you add it in the same ratio. This way, you’ll have the same flavor that you wanted if you were going to use wheat berries.
Another option that you can consider is Sorghum. It’s a commonly found grain and it’s really easy to cultivate. It’s made just the same way as wheat berry, so it’s an ideal substitute for use in soups or stews.
It’s got a mild, nutty flavor, just like wheat berries. For instance, when you add it to a salad, you can expect the same earthly taste that you’d expect from wheat berries, making it an excellent choice.
Last but not the least, you have rice. If you don’t want to consume any gluten, then rice is probably your best bet. Rice is a great choice because it doesn’t contain any gluten and more importantly, it goes well with a variety of different recipes.
Rice works well in soups, salads, stews, and of course, risotto. However, rice is quite different from wheat berries, so it’s not really going to taste as good as wheat berries.
These are just some of the best substitutes that you can find for wheat berries. If you are looking for viable alternatives to wheat berries. Of course, not all of these will go well as that depends on the kind of recipe you’re making.
Make sure you choose the substitute carefully based on the taste and the kind of flavor you want from the recipe.