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Course: Sides & Salads
Keyword: Entertaining, Healthy, Make-Ahead, Salads, Sides

Mushroom Wheat Berry Pilaf

ACTIVE TIME: 40 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 1 hour 40 minutes
Yield: 6 side servings
A quick cook in a pressure cooker ensures perfectly cooked wheat berries in this nutty, hearty, and healthy side dish.
Whole wheat kernels, or wheat "berries," are as whole grain as whole grain gets. This is wheat with all the great stuff that we generally strip away during processing intact.
Cooking pilaf-style brings out the grains' nutty flavor and chewy texture...and I mean chewy in the best possible way. The key is either very slow cooking, or a pressure cooker, my very favorite culinary time machine.
You can cook the wheat berries several days ahead of time and store in the refrigerator. Just bring them to room temperature to complete the dish.
This recipe originally appeared in Season 7 of Good Eats and in EveryDayCook.
Photo by Lynne Calamia
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  • 1 cup wheat berries
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided, plus more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups onion, chopped
  • 5 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 pound mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped lemon zest
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Specialized Hardware

6- to 8-quart pressure cooker
ACTIVE TIME: 40 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 1 hour 40 minutes
Yield: 6 side servings


  • Cook the wheat berries: Toast the wheat berries in a dry, heavy skillet over medium-high heat until the berries smell nutty, 5 to 6 minutes. Keep them moving as they cook.
  • Transfer the toasted berries to a pressure cooker, add the water and salt, attach the lid, and put over high heat until hissing begins and pressure indicator rises.
  • Lower heat to maintain a low hiss and full pressure, and cook for 45 minutes. Release the pressure using manufacturer's instructions or by running under cool water for a couple of minutes. The berries should have a toothy texture. Drain excess water, if necessary.
  • Compose the Pilaf: Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over low heat. Add the onions and salt, and sweat until soft, about 10 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and continue cooking for 5 minutes.
  • Add the butter to the pan and melt, followed by the mushrooms and soy sauce. Increase heat to medium and continue cooking until the mushrooms release their liquid, 5 to 10 more minutes.
  • Add the wine and chicken broth, and simmer 5 minutes.
  • Add the cooked wheat berries, thyme, rosemary, and lemon zest to heat through. Adjust salt to taste.
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