Wheat Berry Breakfast Bowl Recipe

A perfect breakfast - thin slices of sautéed pears, ruby-hued cranberries, and plump, golden wheat berries are sweetened with generous dollops of maple-sweetened yogurt and finished with plenty of toasted pecans and a sprinkling of dried persimmons, ginger, and dates.

Wheat Berry Breakfast Bowl

This is better than milk and dry cereal, I promise. Thin slices of sautéed pears, ruby-hued cranberries, and plump, golden wheat berries are sweetened with generous dollops of maple-sweetened yogurt and finished with plenty of toasted pecans and a sprinkling of dried persimmons, ginger, and dates. You get just enough crunch from the pecans to play off the chewiness of the wheat berries, and just enough sweetness from the maple yogurt to play off the tart edge of the cranberries. While I've been enjoying individual-sized portions of this in my breakfast bowl, I imagine it would be quite stunning served on a platter family-style at the next brunch I attend.

Wheat Berry Breakfast Bowl

You can prep a good portion of this recipe a day or two before, if needed. Pre-cook the wheat berries, toast the pecans, make the maple yogurt and chop the dried fruit. That leaves just two things prior to serving - heating the wheat berries, and cooking the pears and cranberries. Also, for a slightly more decadent version do a maple-sweetened mascarpone in place of the yogurt. You can also experiment with other fruit depending on the season. I'm imagining that a cherry or berry version of this would be delicious. And play around with different nuts (or combination of nuts)...

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Wheat Berry Breakfast Bowl

I used red anjou pears here, but any firm, flavorful pear will do. Also, this recipe calls for wheat berries but don't get discouraged if you can't find them (check the bin section at Whole Foods Market or natural foods stores) - any plump, whole grain will do - farro, barley, oat groats, etc.

1 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup maple syrup

scan tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil
scant tablespoon of butter
2 firm pears, cored and chopped into 1/4-inch THIN bite-sized slices
1/2 cup fresh cranberries
3 cups cooked wheat berries* (see head notes for alternatives)
1/2 cup toasted pecans
1/2 cup assorted dried fruits, chopped (I used equal portions of dried persimmons, dates, and crystallized ginger)

Whisk the yogurt and maple syrup together and set aside.

In a large skillet over medium-hight heat, sauté the pear slices in the olive oil and butter for about five minute, or until they get a bit golden. Keep an eye on them though, because they can burn in a flash. Toward the very end, stir in the cranberries and cook for another minute or so - just until the cranberries soften up a bit and a few of them begin to split open. Add the wheat berries to the skillet and toss gently.

Turn out onto a platter, or serve in individual bowls ladled with a generous amount of the maple yogurt, and sprinkled with plenty of pecans and dried fruit. For those of you who prefer a bit more sweetness, serve with more maple syrup on the side.

Serves 4-6.

*To cook wheat berries: Combine 2 cups wheat berries, 6 cups water, and 2 teaspoons salt in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, covered, until plump and chewy (and a few of the berries split open), about an hour or so. The berries will stay al dente, and the only way to be sure they're done is to taste a few. Drain and set aside.

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Mmmm, this would be great with sprouted wheat. Higher protein and enzymes than the cooked version. Heidi’s recipes always give me great ideas of raw versions along with the cooked ones.
Soak 1 C wheat berries in 2 C room temp. pure water 8-10 hours, then keep in a jar out of direct light and rinse 3 times a day for 2-3 days.
Add all the ingredients without cooking any of them and the natural sweetness and nuttiness comes out. Cranberries are great blended raw in a blender with Maple syrup.


This is actually a modified version of the traditional Ukrainian dish, called kutia, which is served as the first of 12 courses on Christmas Eve. The difference is that kutia calls for honey, poppy seeds and tart apples (not olive oil, yogurt, pears). Funny thing is, like you, we often transform the leftover kutia into breakfast cereal over the next few days !
HS: That sounds like a great variation Alimar – thanks for sharing.


After devouring two half batches of the wheat berry salad from your cookbook I had to try this.
I haven’t had any luck finding cranberries, so just omitted them. Used cherries as one of my dried fruits to add the tartness the cranberries would have had. I am enjoying it now; what a great blend of flavors this is.


Made this over the weekend for overnight guests and it was fabulous. Making the wheat berries the day before made for super-quick preparation the next morning. I cooked down some frozen strawberries in lieu of the cranberries and added dried cherries, which turned out to be a great combination and gave the dish a beautiful jewel-like color. The greek yogurt-maple topping was a perfect complement. Another winner.


I usually cook a pot of steel cut oats early in the week and then take a scoop to work each day. I ran out of oats and just happened to come across this post…Ok, I can’t say I just happened upon it, I check the site all the time. I didn’t have the same ingredients but used the recipe as inspiration. Anyway, this is sure to become a new favorite…
I cooked a pot of wheat berries with some salt, cinnamon and vanilla. Then this morning I took a scoop to work and heated it up with half a banana and some peanut butter.
Delicious! A welcome change! Thanks!


this looks absolutely delicious! love wheatberries but have yet to eat them for breakfast – fabulous idea!!

the purcells

One of my resolutions for 2009 was to become a more all natural cook.

wheat berries

I am eating this right now. It is so so so good! I knew it would be as soon as I read the recipe, which is why I just had to try it out! My boyfriend and I love it 🙂
I used crystalized ginger, dried mango slices, and dried apricots for the fruit topping, and it is delicious. I am sure any combination of dried fruits would be divine though!
My cooked pears were not half as beautiful as yours, Heidi, but the complete product is so delicious!


Hi Heidi, What a treat for the kids! Your write-up and pics are most convincing. What alternative to maple sweetened yogurt would you suggest?


I made this dish on Sunday morning with pearled barley instead of wheat berries (shorter cooking time) and I used craisins instead of real cranberries and dry fruit. It was delicious. A perfect breakfast on a cold morning.
I had it again this morning…heated it up with some soy milk. Yum!


One of my resolutions for 2009 was to become a more all natural cook. I enjoy reading Heidi’s recipes and frequent 101 Cookbooks often…just haven’t put those recipes and concepts into action, yet.
So, here’s a newbie question (please don’t laugh)….where do you find wheat berries at the grocery? I have a Whole Food nearby and our chain grocery has a decent natural foods section. But I have no idea where to find wheat berries. Thanks to all for your help!
HS: Hi Alycurry. Have a look in the bin section at Whole Foods, if they don’t happen to carry the wheat berries at that particular location, go for something similar – barley, pearl barley, a plump whole grain rice, etc. Or ask someone who is also shopping in the bins what they might substitute 🙂


This sounds great! I have been working in the deli of an organic/local grocery store for a short while. I am being introduced to a lot of whole grains that I might not have tried if it wasn’t for my job, only for the fact that I haven’t been introduced to any of these ingredients until now. I fell in love with kamut and always keep it on hand. I can eat it just plain. I think this would be a good way to use it as well. Thank you for the idea!!!!!


I wonder what this would be like cold.


I love wheat berries! They just take so darn long to cook!


On this recipe, I substituted maple syrup for honey and used cherries. It worked out well.
I mixed the leftover wheatberries with Heidi’s Broccoli Crunch recipe – it was delicious!


Ahhh – just in time for me to have come back from rainbow with 2 pounds of them as an experiment. I may bring this recipe to brunch tomorrow.


While all the comments I read said it looked good, Ireally wonder how good it tastes. In india we don’t get cranberries, maple syrup and pecans.What of the follow8ing would you suggest as comparable substitutes ? – cherries, walnuts, raisins, cashew nuts, honey and caramelized sugar (golden syrup)

Joseph Ignatius

Sounds great. I even have most of the stuff in the house to make it!
BTW for those of your readers in the E Bay, Massa Organics sometimes sells wheat berries in the Berkeley Farmers Market. I just cook up a batch and make up recipes around them. For the current batch I threw some into a cooked pot of pinhead oats and ate little bowls of it all week with toasted walnuts, maple syrup and half and half. They also made a great addition to a simple soup made with cannellini beans, carrots, onions, flat-leaf parsley and stock. Thanks!


looks great! Can’t wait to try it…sans the maple (need to avoid the sugar/carbs) Wish there was some nutritional information.


i posted this morning that is was delish for my breakfast. so i had it again for lunch. and i’m wishing i had another bowl for snack……


This looks like a great way to use all the extra wheat berries I just bought for another of your recipes!


Heidi, I have been a lurker for some time now. I have never commented but I am so impressed with the quality you display here. I really love your site.


This is the most delicious breakfast I have ever eaten. The trick is not to eat 3 or 4 servings myself!

Kristina Elseth

i am eating my post run yummy bowl of goodness now. delish!!!!!!!!!! heavenly!!!!!


This looks beautiful and tasty…I will have to give it a try.
I finally bought SNC…found it in the Anthropologie store during a vacation to Miami. I got so excited that I actually shouted “Ooh, ooh, ooh, Heidi’s cookbook!!” across the store to my friend. I got the second to last copy…and when I strolled past again a few minutes later, the other was also gone. 🙂 Even if I were illiterate I would still look at it every day.

All for Veggies

Heidi, I sit at my computer going through your recipes just salivating at the pictures and ingredients listed. Every recipe looks amazing to me. I’ve never commented before. But this just looks too good. I will definitely be adding a few things to my shopping list so I can make this and see if my husband will eat it too! I always loved it when my mom cooked some wheat berries for breakfast growing up. She always just cooked them in a crock-pot overnight with honey and water. This looks like a perfect dish to sprinkle some flax seed over!


wheatberries are great: i’ve had them a couple times from restaurants but never made them myself. now, it has become at the top of my grocery list!
p.s. i also wanted to let you know, i added you to my blogroll =)


Does anyone out there happen to know what wheatberries are called in German? I just moved to Berlin and “wheatberry” is not in my dictionary… it looks delicious, though! Heidi, your photographs are always so beautiful.


mmm…now I know why I haven’t eaten the rest of the leftover wheat berries yet. And why I haven’t made it to the market yet: because I wouldn’t have picked up the cranberries I need for this! Thanks, I just ran out of breakfast bread, so it’s just in time.


Mmmm. I love the chewiness of whole wheat. The other ideas from comments are really great, too. Never tried dried persimmons or sauteed pears…


Hey Heidi,
I made your wheat berry salad and absolutely loved it. I definitely want to try this one as well.
I just had one question:
I shop at Rainbow Grocery and they have light and dark wheat berries. Which ones do you use for these recipes?
HS: Hi Ted, I believe the ones you see in the shot up above are hard winter wheat berries from Massa Organics. But I’ve also used soft wheat berries (from Rainbow) many times in the past.

Ted Grubb

Heidi, this is so timely for me! I had wheatberries with oat milk, banana and blueberries for breakfast yesterday. I actually sprouted my wheatberries instead of cooking them – lots of nutrition is released that way. Also it’s summer in Australia so I wanted to find a way to eat them cold. I love your flavor combinations here, lovely for a winter breakfast.


I LOOOVE wheatberries!! I am def. saving this recipe 🙂


Just when I started getting bored stiff of my breakfasts, your wheat berries picture popped up on my screen. It’s exactly what I needed – a little healthy inspiration. Looks wonderful. Thank you! By the way, I served your Broccoli Crunch Recipe the other night and it was amazing! Raving reviews.

Ellie from Kitchen Caravan

Okay… I made this with pearl barley, dried goji berries, dried cranberries and raw walnuts. About the only thing I stayed true to were the sauteed pears and the Greek yogurt with maple syrup! As I served it up for myself, I thought, “This is not going to be good.” To my surprise, it was delicious! Heidi, thanks for inspiring healthy eating!


Looks like my regular oatmeal breakfast is going to get a much-needed update…the yogurt and maple syrup sound so great. Warm from the inside out. Love it! Thanks for the ideas!


This looks great! I am looking for new breakfast ideas so this is perfect.


Better than milk and cereal? My God, it looks awesome!!!!


Globalveggie, Aletta Karsies van Eeden,
Thank you very much.


Thank you for your inspiration and dedication of food. I love what you do.
The breakfast bowl looks so delicious.
Thank you again.
God Bless you


I’m currently in the process of re-structuring my breakfast which requires too many ingredients: oats, milk, pumpkin puree, a banana, maple syrup, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice. I’m trying to expand my horizons and I’ve heard many good things about wheat berries. As soon as I can find them, I’ll give these a try, great looking recipe!


!!! oh, damn. i came THISCLOSE to buying wheat berries at the market the other day, too. if i only i had seen this before i went!


your photos always win me over immediately!


H. I am always inspired by you to try something alternative and you’ve made the wheatberries look so beautiful.

Angela@Spinach Tiger

yummy sounds like a great combination!!


The year I was at chef’s school I had to walk quite a long way and it was always snowy and cold that winter. I made a very similar breakfast mixture that I used to fuel my walks and I have to say, it was a tasty ritual!
I love the fruit in your version and thank you for reminding me of eating wheat berries for breakfast.

Dana McCauley

dried persimmon what a great idea!


Thank you! I was just looking through all my cookbooks for a wheatberry recipe for breakfast. I love them mixed with my brown rice with thai food – but wanted that crunch for breakfast to really wake me up. Thanks for all the recipes.


Jeez, I’ve never even heard of wheat berries! This kicks my idea of a healthy breakfast’s butt.


In New York City, I’ve had a great wheat berry salad with a vinaigrette-type dressing with dried cranberry and green onion, etc. It’s great. If you get some savory wheat berry inspirations, I’d love to try them!!


Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, and I wish I had eaten something like this earlier this morning! Everything you make is so impressive, your family is truely lucky to have someone like you in the kitchen.


Looks beautiful! I was experimenting with hot cereal this weekend (using millet, as we can’t do the wheat thing), maybe I’ll try out your flavor combo next weekend.


I like that you suggested barley as an alternative, as my pantry is full of it. I am, however, intrigued by wheatberries and I am going to start looking for them. Unfortunately, we don’t have a whole foods here in montreal.

dallas from BitchinKitchen

I’d forgotten about dried persimmons. How chewy they are, and subtly sweet! There’s a good persimmon cookie recipe I’d like to unearth. Now I’m wondering about the versatility of persimmons in cooking.

Liz @ OddKitchen

I was just wondering how I could work barley into a breakfast dish. Now I know!


I am so thrilled that you posted this recipe! I just made a double batch of Kamut and Spelt berries yesterday. I will definitely try this recipe tomorrow morning!!! (sans dried persimmons b/c I don’t have any, and with almonds instead of pecans since I am allergic)


I really like the recipes and they look so delicious. Thks for sharing it.


This looks absolutely DELICIOUS!!
I cannot wait to try it. I’m always trying to brainstorm yummy and creative breakfasts, so this is perfect!
P.S. I would love to see more of your breakfast recipes in the future!


Heidi, I LOVE your site!
I so appreciate creative, delectable food that remains healthy in its preparation. The way you present ideas works as an enormous springboard for me. Your asthetic sensibilities are very much appreciated here. Thank you!!!
I have been a loyal, local reader, but have never left a comment. Today I have a question for you. Would it work to use a rice cooker for the wheat berries and other like grains? I received one for Christmas with fuzzy logic cooking settings, but the directions leave a bit to be desired. So far all the different kinds of rice have come out perfect. Thanks, and really a big thanks for all the inspiration.

SF Annetta

to Ben from UK: The term wheatberry or wheat berry refers to the entire wheat kernel (except for the hull). So you can probably find it in many shops.

Aletta Karsies van Eeden

Oh wow! what a beautiful dish! With breakfast being the only meal I actually have time to prepare these days, new recipes are much appreciated! Thanks!

Organic Goodness

Anything with beautiful, natural colors like that is bound to be a good way to start the day. Looks too good to eat. Almost!

The Duo Dishes

Can you cook the wheat berries in a pressurized rice cooker? I have always sprouted my wheat berries so when I read your directions on cooking, it seems as if it might be quicker to stick in the cooker.


I love wheat berries and eat them any time of the day… but it never occurred to me to turn a bowl of them into something on the sweet side! I’ll be tinkering with this, for sure.


How do you do it, Heidi? I avoid wheatberries–I’m not sure why, but after reading your description, and see your photo, as usual I am thinking that I will be making this soon. Thanks and keep up the inspiring service and I would dare even say, “ministry” to us healthy wannabes.


We do something similar with spelt berries. We’ve found that they cook very nicely in a rice steamer. What you’ve done here looks gorgeous and a little decadent, more like what we often do with our oatmeal. The spelt berries are surprisingly good with just a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt.


Ben – in the UK, you should be able to buy wheatberries from Whole Foods in Kensington, London, most health food shops like Holland and Barrett, or the larger branches of Waitrose (the dried lentils and nuts section).


Thank you Heidi! I’ve had wheatberries in my fridge for about 5 months now, not knowing how to cook them. I’ve read you had to soak them overnight, rinse them, and all sorts of cooking times. I will trust your method of cooking and I will make them tonight! Finally!!


This sounds like pure sin! A reason to get up in the morning and dance.


There is a similar recipe to this that I enjoy often from the San Francisco Chronicle Cookbook, but your addition of some of my winter favorites makes this a truly special seasonal treat. I love the dried persimmons, which I tried for the first time a little while ago at the Ferry Building. Lovely!

Claudia at Weird Vegetables

Delicious! I do something similar with wheat berries & bananas, and I’m always playing around with quinoa breakfast bowls. Lovely recipe!
Kimberly @ Poor Girl Eats Well

Kimberly @ Poor Girl Eats Well

A wonderful idea for a late fall brunch!


Goodness! What a mouthwatering way to get your whole grains in the morning. For me it would require a special trip to the store to get everything listed, but it sounds well worth the trip.

Erin @ The Skinny Gourmet

This looks delicious! I keep wheat berries on hand for baking bread. Do you know which of these 3 kinds would work best for this recipe: hard white, soft white (pastry), or hard red? Thank you!

Busy Boys

This looks amazing. I’m going to try it with the spelt berries I have on hand.


I LOVE this idea!!!


Love wheat berries! This looks so delicious and hearty. A perfect way to start the day. Gorgeous recipe and photos.

The Diva on a Diet

I can not wait to try this! I bought a bag of wheat berries so long ago because I thought they were pretty but had no clue what to do with them.


I always make breakfast couscous but I never imagined making this. It looks so delicious! I can’t wait to make it. Thanks for the inspiration.

Eliza from Eliza Domestica

Those persimmons are so pretty!
I hope I can find some in London


This looks so good. I make wheat berries for breakfast with dried fruit, nuts and pomegranate seeds and my kids love it. I’m going to try this one this week. Yummy! I love this site. I just stumbled upon it and I have three or four of the recipe’s on it for this weeks menu.


This looks gorgeous — there is no better way to start the day that with such a yummy, healthy breakfast!

Nirvana's Kitchen

This looks gorgeous — there is no better way to start the day that with such a yummy, healthy breakfast!

Nirvana's Kitchen

I have been wanting to try wheat berries for breakfast for a while now. This recipe looks perfect!

Erica from Cooking for Seven

This looks delicious.
I would highly appreciate it if anyone in the UK could suggest where I could purchase these wonderful ‘wheat berries’!


Have you ever tried goji berries? They’re really delicious (taste a little in the direction of raisins). I can imagine that they would taste great in this recipe as well – maybe soaked for a short while in some water, or just dried as they come.
Looks like a delicious breakfast, and certainly much better than those Frosted Flakes and milk!!


Ohhh I would like it for my breackfast!


What a wonderful healthy breakfast recipe!


That looks beautiful!


This looks so delicious…the browns and reds against the white yogurt are gorgeous and so appetizing.
I might add some cinnamon to the yogurt + maple syrup.


I bet extra virgin raw coconut butter would be great in this….


This is so up my alley! I imagine it would be phenomenal with barley too.

Julie VR

This looks delicious – I only wish I had the ingredients here to make it for breakfast tomorrow!

Tabitha (From Single to Married)

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