Around the same time, a few weeks ago, Sis and I both declared that we wanted to try to eat more vegetables. She said exactly that. I said I wanted to eat more salad. My quest morphed into trying to sneak more vegetables into every day dishes (along with eating more salad) once I realized there are a ton of ways to eat more vegetables (besides salad).
Right now I’m on an Asian food kick because it seems like you can sneak a lot of veggies into Asian food recipes and because Asian food is delicious and because Sis has a crazy amount of Asian food in her cupboards. Like crazy.
I know this because a few weeks ago I took an inventory of all her food so we could see what she had on hand and start using it (so she could buy other food). I can’t even tell you how many jumbo packages of rice I found. There were also several packages of different Asian noodles. She has two huge drawers dedicated nearly completely to Asian food items and then there are other areas of her kitchen that are spilling over with Asian food staples.
I commented on the inordinate amount of Asian food she had on hand one day because it was astonishing and comical at the same time. But it made sense to me once she took me to her local Korean grocery store, H-Mart. It’s huge, amazing and cheap and filled with mostly Asian food staples but also carries some American necessities as well.
Where I live in Long Beach Mexican grocery stores abound. They are amazing because the produce is so cheap. I often walk out of the store paying less than $10 with a huge bag of produce. The downside of the local Mexican grocery stores is that other items tend to be pricier than the regular chain store like Vons (Safeway) or Ralphs (Kroger). Noodles are irritatingly more expensive most often because noodles are almost always on sale at Vons or Ralphs. Dairy can also be pricey if not on sale.
I was delighted to find at H-Mart that American food prices were not exorbitantly-priced. I got a pint of half-and-half there that was only $1.29! I also got a pint of cherry tomatoes for $1.99, three bunches of cilantro for $1 and other cheap produce along with … about 6 packages of different types of Asian noodles. I just couldn’t help myself.
Back to the point – this dreamy/comforting/satisfying breakfast bowl we ate for dinner tonight.
It’s 100% vegan unless you add poached or soft boiled eggs to it, which we did. It contains healthy fats (olive oil + avocado) and fiber (wheat berries + avocado + tomato–10 cherry tomatoes = 2g fiber!). Both of these things add up to a nutritious and filling meal but it also contains other good stuff like protein, iron, calcium and potassium.
The originally recipe was (literally) ripped out of Shape Magazine. My version is modified slightly because the original recipe called for celery and I don’t happen to love celery. What’s great about this bowl is it’s totally customizable. You could add any of your favorite veggies like wilted spinach or roasted sweet potato. Sub hemp hearts or roasted pepitas for the chia seeds. Swap the red onion for minced shallot or add some garlic (or both!). If you felt so inclined you could add a healthy protein like shredded chicken or poached salmon.
I informed Sis that this breakfast bowl is almost like a guacamole wheat berry bowl in flavoring with the red onion, avocado and tomato and she agreed. We both agreed we would make this dish again.
- 1 ½ c. hard red wheat berries
- 2 T. ground coriander
- 1 tsp. ground cumin (or omit but use 3 T. ground coriander)
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- ½ medium-sized red onion, chopped fine
- 4 T. red wine vinegar (I used a mixture of red wine + sherry cooking wine)
- 3 T. olive oil
- 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
- ¼ c. fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 large avocado, cubed
- chia seeds (for garnish)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- poached or soft-boiled eggs (optional)
- Soak the wheat berries in a jar with plenty of fresh water overnight – make sure the berries are covered by an inch or so of water.
- The next day, combine the wheat berries, coriander, cumin (if using) and 1 teaspoon salt in a large saucepan. Add cold water to cover the wheat berries by 1 inch. Bring to a boil over high heat; cover the pot and reduce the heat to maintain a steady simmer (medium low; you’ll probably find “low” is too low.) Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, approximately 1 to 1 1/2 hours. (Mine took longer than an hour and a half but I didn’t have the water boiling enough at the beginning because I turned it from “high” to “low.”) You can start testing the berries around 1 hour if you’d like. The texture should be like an al dente noodle.
- Put the red onion, vinegar/sherry, and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Stir well and let sit for 5 minutes. Drain the wheat berries if there’s any water remaining in the saucepan, then add to the bowl. Stir well until the wheat berry mixture cools to room temperature.
- Add the tomatoes, chopped cilantro, and olive oil. Mix until ingredients are evenly coated in oil. Season to taste with salt, if necessary. (I salt everything and didn’t need to add additional salt.
- Spoon individual servings of the wheat berry mixture into 4 bowls.
- Top your bowl with chia seeds and cubed avocado if vegan; add an egg if vegetarian and you’re so inclined to eat eggs for breakfast. For meat eaters, add any form of protein your heart desires. (My heart desires bacon.) Garnish with whole cilantro leaves unless you’re one of those people who hate cilantro but then why are you eating this dish?
I’ve dubbed this a breakfast bowl (Sis’s suggestion) because of the egg but don’t let that stop you from eating this bowl morning, noon and night–with or without egg.