With an influence coming from Persia, this Saffron and Orange Wheat Berries with Pomegranate gets an update for those watching their sugar levels. Packed with flavor, wheat berries are used instead of basmati rice and the result is heavenly.
I am a HUGE rice fan. Big time, and eating a bowl of steamed jasmine or basmati rice is no problem for me. On the other hand, with Dave being a Type 2 diabetic, he can only have white rice in quarter cup servings. I don’t know about you, but that would be torture for me! So I try and find us new grains to use to replace the go to white rice as a side dish.
White rice is high on the Glycemic Index. The Glycemic Index is a relative ranking of carbohydrates in foods according to how they affect blood glucose levels.
According to the University of Sydney, carbohydrates with a low GI value (55 or less) are more slowly digested, absorbed and metabolized and cause a lower and slower rise in blood glucose and, therefore insulin levels. So enter the wheat berry…
Did you know that an additional serving of white rice a week increases your chance of developing diabetes by 10%? Crazy! So I am keeping my intake down as well – for my health and because we always have each others backs. 🙂
One of my favorites are wheat berries. I love them, like in my Wheat Berry Grain Salad with Fresh Fruit, they are a perfect breakfast or snack. Wheat berries are similar in texture and flavor to barley if you’re familiar with that grain, with of course a different flavor. Here though we are going a little on the savory side. After I saw a recipe from Faith over at An Edible Mosaic, I had to put my spin on a dish she recently made with basmati rice. Check out her site, her photos and recipes are killer.
I love all the flavors and textures in this. From the chewy and healthy wheat berries scented with the savory spices of cumin, saffron and cinnamon to the vegetables all uniform and flavorful. Each bite is another pop of tangy pomegranate, cranberry, sweet raisins and the crunch from the pistachios and nutty pine nuts make this a memorable side dish that is as healthy as it it is bold in flavors. Enjoy!
- 1 cup wheat berries
- 2½ cups chicken broth
- ⅛ tsp saffron threads
- 1 orange, zest only
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ½ onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, mined
- 1 carrot, shredded
- ¼ tsp cumin
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup golden raisins
- ½ cup pine nuts, toasted
- ½ cup pomegranate arils
- ¼ cup cilantro leaves, chopped
- ¼ green peas (optional)
- ¼ pistachios, chopped (optional)
- In a medium sauce pan over medium heat toast the pine nuts until golden brown and fragrant. Set aside and toss with a pinch of kosher salt.
- Heat the oil in the same pan over medium heat and add the onion and garlic. Cook until translucent and then add the wheat berries and carrot. Cook for several minutes more, stirring occasionally. Next add a large strip of the orange zest, saffron, cumin, cinnamon, cranberries, raisins and half of the toasted pine nuts. Stirring and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Add the chicken broth, bring to a boil, cover with lid and cook on low for 15 minutes. Place the frozen peas in a small bowl and cover with hot water. Set aside.
- When done cooking, keep lid on and allow to rest and absorb any liquid for 10 minutes. Remove the large strip of orange zest. Fluff with fork and serve topped with fresh orange zest, pomegranate arils, cilantro, peas and pistachios.