This hearty and flavorful grain dish could be a vegetarian supper, a stuffing for roasted squash, a Thanksgiving side dish, and much more. You can cook the wheatberries a day ahead if you like and reheat in the microwave. If you do decide to make the whole recipe at once, wait to cook the Brussels sprouts until the wheat berries have been cooking for at least 50 minutes. (Hard wheat berries range in cooking time from 65 to 90 minutes. Be sure not to buy wheat berries that say they’ve been parboiled.) Recipe copyright Susie Middleton, The Fresh & Green Table, (Chronicle Books, 2012)

Serves 3 to 4 as a main dish, 6 as a sidedish

  • 3/4 cup (winter or hard red) wheat berries
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in quarters lengthwise
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1/2 cup toasted chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


1. In a pasta pot, Dutch oven, or other large sauce pot, combine the wheat berries, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 10 to 12 cups of water (enough to cover the wheat berries by a few inches). Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer (it can be a rapid simmer or a low boil), and cook, partially covered, until the wheat berries are tender. Begin checking after 50 minutes, although this may take up to 90 minutes. (Most are usually done between 60 and 70 minutes. The berries should be pleasantly chewy. If you taste early and often, you’ll get a sense of what “done” feels like.)

2. Drain the berries very well in a colander. Shake the colander and tip it around to remove as much excess water as possible. Return the wheat berries to the pot, off the heat, and cover. They will stay warm for 10 to 15 minutes this way. (Or if making ahead, spread on a sheet pan, cool completely, and then refrigerate in a bowl, covered.)

3. Preheat the oven to 450°F. In a mixing bowl, toss the Brussels sprouts with the oil and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Arrange the sprouts in one layer in a 9×13 baking dish (they will be snug). Roast until brown and tender, about 18 to 22 minutes, stirring once if you like. If the sprouts finish ahead of the wheat berries, keep them in the pan, loosely covered with foil.

4. Combine the orange juice, the balsamic, the maple syrup, and the lemon zest in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat and reduce to a simmer. Cook, stirring, just for about 15 seconds. Take the pan off the heat and add the cold butter, one or two pieces at a time, whisking after each addition until the butter is melted and creamy. (Don’t reheat the mixture or the butter will break and the sauce will not be creamy.)

5. Combine the wheat berries, the Brussels sprouts, and the cranberries in a mixing bowl, season with 1/2 teaspoon more salt, and pour the sauce over them. Stir gently but thoroughly. Add half of the walnuts, half of the parsley and stir well again. Serve warm, garnished with the remaining walnuts and parsley.