Oct 8

Sandwich Wrap with Wheat Berry Spread—Whole Grains Get a Makeover

in ad-free, Blender Recipes, Book Reviews, Food Is Medicine, Main Course, October Unprocessed, Sauces & Condiments, Vegan, Vegetarian

Sandwich Wrap with Wheat Berry Spread

Today, as the next post in my Food Is Medicine series, I’m tackling the topic of whole grains, with the aid of an amazing recipe for sandwich wraps that features a wheat berry spread that will knock your socks off!

Food Is Medicine

It’s also the perfect time to mention October Unprocessed, a challenge issued by my friend Andrew, author of Eating Rules, to give up eating processed foods for the entire month of October.  Andrew describes the challenge as “an exercise in awareness,” and goes on to say that “[i]f an entire month is too much of a commitment, that’s okay.  Maybe it’s only a week?  Maybe just a day?  Sign the pledge, and indicate your support!”  Learning to utilize whole grains in cooking is an important step in reducing the amount of processed foods we consume.

October Unprocessed 2012

Grains are an important staple in a healthy diet.  The American Heart Association explains that whole grains are good sources of dietary fiber, and many other nutrients, such as B vitamins, Folate, Iron, Magnesium, and Selenium.  All of these nutrients are important for maintaining or improving health.  Actually incorporating something into your diet is a wholly different issue, however, than knowing that you should eat something because it’s good for you.  If you ask someone to name some whole grains and a variety of ways that they could incorporate them into their daily diet, whole grains may start to sound a bit boring and difficult to use.  Bread is likely to come up, as well as brown rice, or something made with oats, but then the conversation begin to taper off.  I think one of the big problems with incorporating whole grains into our diets on a consistent basis is a lack of ideas on how to use them.  Call me crazy, but I don’t want to eat something all the time just because it’s good for me.  I want to find ways of enjoying the food I put into my body.

Wheat Berries

Thankfully, my favorite cookbook writing duo recently came to my rescue, breaking down my mental block against grains.  Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough’s newest book, GRAIN MAINS: 101 Surprising and Satisfying Whole Grain Recipes for Every Meal of the Day, teaches you how to not only incorporate whole grains into your cooking, but also how to make them the stars of the meal with those you serve coming back for more.

GRAIN MAINS by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough

The book is a made up of main courses in three different categories: 1) breakfast fare, 2) salads and dishes that can be made ahead, and 3) hot meals that are best for supper of dinner parties.  Bruce and Mark provide incredible amounts of guidance throughout the book, from cooking tips to nutritional information.  One of the best parts about this book, for me, was that once I started reading the titles of the recipes in each chapter, I couldn’t stop, and by the time I was done flipping through the book for the first time, I was starving.  That’s always a good sign.  Breakfast Polenta Cake with Kamut Crunch Topping? Yes please.  Spanish-Inspired Black Barley Salad with Chickpeas, Dates, and Toasted Almonds? Pass me a spoon!  Moroccan-Inspired Barley Couscous? Swoon!

Since that first flip through I’ve made lots of recipes from the book and am wondering how I could have ever been so bored by whole grains.  After reading the book, here are the top 4 reasons why I think you should reconsider whole grains:

  1. Whole grains help keep you healthy: They can help lower blood cholesterol levels, reduce your risk of coronary disease, can help fight gum disease, and deliver a whole host of nutrients into your system that help your body function, like iron, which is used to carry oxygen in the blood.
  2. Whole grains are good for weight control: As Bruce and Mark write, because of all of the fiber in whole grains, “you feel full and content—and are thus encouraged to eat less.  All that fiber exits your stomach at a crawl, about four calories per minute.  You not only feel sated more quickly; you also feel sated longer.”
  3. Whole grains are affordable.
  4. Whole grains are delicious!  And if you don’t believe me, you should pick up a copy of GRAIN MAINS and learn for yourself just how amazing whole grains can be if you’re armed with the right knowledge.  To help you out, I’m giving away two copies of the book! (Giveaway details can be found after the recipe below.)

Wheat Berry Spread Sandwich Wrap

To give you a taste of why the book is so incredible, I’m sharing the recipe for one of my favorite things I’ve made out of the book yet—sandwich wraps with a wheat berry spread.  I love a good sandwich wrap, but these take the cake.  The spread is a wheat berry and black-eyed pea hummus that is so good that if you ask me how much of it I ate straight out of the bowl with a spoon, I may have to plead the Fifth rather than incriminating myself by admitting the truth.

Ingredients for wraps with wheat berry spread
In addition to the spread, the wraps are layered with all kinds of delicious, yet “good for you,” ingredients, like tomato and avocado.  These wraps are perfect for a packed lunch, a roadtrip, a picnic, or just because.

Assembling a wheat berry spread sandwich wrap

Print This Recipe Print This Recipe

Sandwich Wrap with Wheat Berry Spread

Recipe from Grain Mains, by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough, reprinted with permission

Makes 4 servings

For the Wheat Berry Spread:
1/2 cup wheat berries, preferably hard red wheat berries
1 can (15 ounces) black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 garlic clove, minced or put through a garlic press
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

4 large thin flatbreads, lefse, whole wheat tortillas, or other breadish vehicles suitable for a wrap sandwich
About 1 1/2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
1 large tomato, very thinly sliced
1 large avocado, thinly sliced
Up to 8 pickled jalapeno rings (optional)
Up to 1 cup radish, sunflower, or other sprouts (optional)

1. Cook the wheat berries: Soak the wheat berries in a big bowl of cool water for at least 8 and up to 16 hours. Drain the wheat berries in a fine-mesh sieve or small-holed colander set in the sink. Pour the grains into a large saucepan, cover with water by several inches, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until tender but with a little chew, about 1 hour. Drain thoroughly in that sieve or colander, shaking the sieve or colander to get rid of excess moisture.

2. Make the Wheat Berry Spread: Place the cooked wheat berries in a large food processor. Add the black-eyed peas, lemon juice, tahini, oil, cumin, garlic, salt, and pepper. Process until fairly pasty, scraping down the inside of the bowl once or twice to make sure all the wheat berries take a death spiral. The mixture won’t get as smooth as hummu, but close.

3. To make a wrap: Lay a flatbread or tortilla on your work surface, then spread it with a rounded 1/2 cup of the wheat berry spread. Top with some lettuce, tomatoes, and avocado, as well as jalapeno rings and sprouts (if using). Roll it up and dig in!


GRAIN MAINS Book Giveaway!

Two lucky readers will receive a copy of GRAIN MAINS: 101 Surprising and Satisfying Whole Grain Recipes for Every Meal of the Day, by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough, courtesy of Rodale Books.

To enter: Leave a comment below!

Contest rules: The contest will close Sunday, October 14th, 2012 at 11:00 pm EST. The contest is open to residents of the US. The winners will be chosen randomly via random.org and notified by email. Winners will have 48 hours to respond before another winner is chosen.

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Cassie Mitchell October 8, 2012 at 2:46 am

Wow! I am going to try this asap. I love doing unconventional things with foods I normally would not eat. I may have to add this to book wish list. I do use a lot of whole grains but primarily to make my own flours oats, rice, wheat, anything really but this recipe actually fits into where I have been thinking a lot lately in my creative kitchen adventures…


Fuji Nana October 8, 2012 at 5:17 am

This looks amazing. We have been going through a hummus kick lately, and this is right down our alley. It’s going to be our dinner tonight!


charj October 8, 2012 at 7:24 am

The book looks interesting but practical. Anxious to check it out.


Amber October 8, 2012 at 7:54 am

This wheat berry spread looks delicious! I love cooking with whole grain, that book looks amazing!


Jill October 8, 2012 at 9:55 am

I’ve never tried wheat berries but would be willing to give them a shot in a wrap like that!


Christine October 8, 2012 at 10:50 am

Those look delicious, especially with the sprouts!


Chrissy October 8, 2012 at 11:18 am

Looks sooooo good.


Kristi October 8, 2012 at 11:41 am

YUMMY! I can’t wait to try this once I find out what wheat berries are and where I can find them. I hope I win!


LiztheChef October 8, 2012 at 8:06 pm

OK, perfect post of 2012…right here. And I know you and so admire you, dear Rachael.


Patty October 9, 2012 at 7:47 am

Brilliant! Making wheat berries in to a hummus of sorts! Can’t wait to try this.
Thanks for the post. And the give away, fingers crossed!



Eileen October 9, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Well, does this ever look delicious??? Yes it does. I was intrigued by the name “wheat berry spread” and figured it was going to be sweet ~ kind of like jam, preserves, or jelly. When I realized it was much more nutritious than what I was tasting in my mind I was already hooked and ready to try these. I love the title of the wrap, I love how beautiful it looks, and I love the fact that it is posted here, ready for me to forward on to other family and friends AND make for my dinner! Thanks Rachael. :-)


Ruth October 9, 2012 at 4:56 pm

This looks great! I use a lot of whole grains so I’d like to look through the cookbook.


Tai October 9, 2012 at 7:44 pm

Yay! I’m dieting for weightloss and whole grains are perfect for filling up and adding healthiness to any meal, but my menu choices are getting a little droll. This would be perfect!


Mark Scarbrough October 10, 2012 at 3:44 am

Wow, thanks so much for taking a look at our book! I cannot tell you how much that food represents the way we eat every day. And I’d make you that Spanish barley salad any day of the week.



Rose October 10, 2012 at 7:31 am

I thought I knew most concepts, but this is wonderful. I am a huge proponent of a diet based much more on grains and beans, and I would greatly cherish this book and make all the recipes and tell everyone about it. For people who want to go “green,” and for people who want to take better care of their health, here is a key to unlock the door.


Jo-Anne October 10, 2012 at 10:04 am

I am a sucker for wholefood cookbooks. Bruce’s & Mark’s book is now on my library list. Thanks for sharing, Rachael!


Amanda October 10, 2012 at 10:27 am

Everyone has been going on and on about this book. I’d love to win a copy before I make sure it’s on my Christmas wishlist.


Marie October 10, 2012 at 11:04 am

I’d love to get my hands on this cookbook!


Dannye October 10, 2012 at 1:24 pm

I heard about this book earlier and looks like a great kick start to healthier eating, along with your blog. How long will the cooked wheatberries stay fresh? thanks.


Fuji Papa October 11, 2012 at 6:49 am

Your Mom made some of this for us and we have been enjoying wraps with this hummus for two straight evenings. It is wonderful. She put in one less tablespoon of olive oil and it still tastes great, with a little less fat.


beth neugarten October 11, 2012 at 10:12 am

looks amazing


Candace October 12, 2012 at 4:42 am

I know nothing about wheat berries, but I’m a big fan of black-eyed peas and any flavor hummus. Looks like I have something new to try this weekend. Thanks, as always.


suzanne October 12, 2012 at 3:25 pm

That looks delish! I will have to go food shopping this weekend! Thanks for the chance to win!!


Margie Orr October 29, 2012 at 8:41 am

That wrap looks so good. Anxious to try the cookbook. Have been on a dairy-free, plant-based diet for almost two months. Have lost weight and feel great. Love it!


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