Wheat Berry and Pinto Bean Soup
I have some weird habits/likings. For today's discussion I would reveal one of those. I hate eating alone in a public place ! You will rarely (make it almost none) see me in a restaurant sitting alone and eating. I. HATE. THAT. I have no clue why, but that's how I am. If I am out, say for a meeting/appointment and I cant come back home on time for lunch/dinner - I would rather go hungry than go to a restaurant to either take out/eat! :) And one more - I love eating in a bowl! I don't care so much for sitting properly on a table with a plate. Gimme a bowl with food mixed in, one spoon and you will see me light up! So when I am not expected to sit and humor this 'god-knows-who-made-this' etiquette, you will find me happily doing some work with a small bowl and spoon by the side.
Wheat Berry and Pinto Bean Soup
Hence I find salad's (hearty one - no 'all the leaf you can eat' type salads for me!) and soups easily suited for this purpose. No wonder I am into soups a lot now. My mother is miles away to indulge me by cooking and I think I am too lazy to do indulging myself for myself(!!) Now that's lazy for you people! Last few days with lots of work and meetings going on, I hardly had time to cook a proper meal and we ended up eating quite a lot outside. I was pretty fed up. Thats when this soup came in handy. Wheat Berry takes care of the fiber and heartiness factor while Pinto beans gives massive protein to see me through the day without getting hungry soon. I have one of the best kitchen gadgets which is a boon for me and is something which is pretty commonplace in an Indian kitchen. Yes - Pressure Cooker. The best way to keep the nutrition intact and also cook in a jiffy. Ideally you have to soak wheat berry and Pinto bean separately and cook them for about 40 minutes for this soup. But I spent only about 20 minutes to cook them both. How? I will show you how :)
  • Cook time:
  • Prep time:
  • Serves: 2 people
  • 1/4 cup wheat berry (preferably soaked overnight) See How to cook Wheat Berry Here
  • 1/4 cup pinto beans (ditto as above. You can also use kidney beans,chickpeas etc)
  • 1 onion,chopped
  • 1 fennel, chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 1 large potato, chopped with skin
  • about 2 tbsp tomato paste (or you can use chopped 1-2 tomatoes)
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh cilantro to garnish

As I mentioned above, ideally you should have soaked the berries and beans and cooked seperately. You can cook wheat berries in any of the methods mentioned here. But since this soup was a sudden brainwave and I needed lunch in less than 30 minutes I placed them together in about 2-3 cups water and pressure cooked them together.

2. Yes together and it dint hurt at all. It took me about 20 minutes and I did the rest of the cooking simultaneously. At the end of it, all I had to do is to mix both together. Easy does it :) Dont drain the cooking liquid
3. Alternatively take a saucepan, heat 1 tsp of butter/oil, saute the onion, garlic, turmeric powder, bay leaf and fennel together with salt until soft.
4. Next add potatoes and cook for 3-4 minutes until slightly soft. Add the tomato paste and give it a quick stir.
5. Add about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of vegetable stock/water, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Add more if you dont have any cooking liquid left over from pinto and wheat berries.
Once it starts boiling, add the wheat berry and pinto beans - season to taste. Garnish with cilantro and serve hot all by itself or with a chunk of wheat bread. Heaven in a cup - This is what I call as an out and out my kind of lunch! Yum! Wheat Berry and Pinto Bean Soup

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By Chana on Jul 16, 2009

DK I am enjoying your vegan recipes and the wonderful food photos. A question please. What do you think about freezing left over beans? Do you freeze small portions of this wheatberry and bean soup? I, too, keep small portions of frozen green peas, but sometimes I have leftovers from a recipe i.e. wheatberries and pinto bean soup. I just purchased several small freezer containers and thought to learn what your experience has been with freezing beans in small portions for easy defrosting and reheating? Hey chana - thanks a bunch for your compliments. I am glad to note them :) They can be easily frozen. I have not used containers - but I use those small zip lock bags. I ladle the leftover soup into the bags - not to the brim but upto say little less than 3/4 th of the bag - make sure to remove excess air from the bag and seal it. These keep well for months. Later on you can reheat them whenever you want to njoy a warm bowl of soup. You can also use ice cube tray - but I dunno why I feel that it somehow feels more watery when I warm them again :) Hope this info was useful

By Shri on Jul 14, 2009

Great Recipe.I have to agree that Pressure cooker is a boon!

By Jayashree on Jul 13, 2009

Lovely pic. Me too hate eating alone at a restaurant.

By bergamot on Jul 12, 2009

That's a nice meal. Soul warming and filling after a long day at work :-)

By Pamela on Jul 12, 2009

I was checking out this recipe and it sounds awsome. I have never heard of wheat Berry's, they look and sound like Barley. Could I substitute Barley. I am in Melbourne Australia. Yes Pamela, you sure can. You can see my http://chefinyou.com/2009/01/wheat-berries-101/ post to know more about these berries. If not available any other wholegrain can be substituted too. Very hearty and delicious and yeah most importantly low fat!

By Sudha on Jul 11, 2009

Wow, that was a quick response DK!!! :)) I can't wait for the healthy scone recipe!! :) - DK

By Sudha on Jul 11, 2009

Hi DK, For all this time, I have been a silent admirer of your blog. The soup looks very nourishing. I tried your blueberry scone recipe this morning. Since I didn't have blueberries and had to have that scone :), I substituted them with frozen strawberries and chocolate chips. The strawberries thawed a lot quicker and it was a little messy to roll it. However, It was yum, yum, yum!!!! I can't stop eating them. Thanks for sharing an easy and great scone recipe. Next time I will try substituting AP four with half of white whole wheat flour. Keep up the great work. Thank you for your kind comments Sudha. I am glad you liked the scone. I have one healthy one coming soon :)

By Parita on Jul 11, 2009

Delicious and healthy soup! never tried wheat berries before, need to check if i can find them here, will definately be trying out this soup, thanks DK for sharing! looks hearty and perfect meal soup!

By Cynthia on Jul 10, 2009

Well, there are times when I just can't be bothered and would eat alone in a restaurant but that is always a meal during the day. I live alone and like you, I usually take my meal with a spoon, plop down on the floor on one of those oversized cushions and enjoy my meal. I think my dining table misses me :) I agree - since I work from home, I have my lunch alone - I do exactly the same sometimes except on those days I am hard pressed for that kind of relaxation...ah! Bliss!

By Nags on Jul 10, 2009

bean soup - slurp!

By Sig on Jul 10, 2009

Yeah, I hate eating alone in restaurants too... Especially at the places where I have to sit and order from a menu! Ordering at the counter and finding my own table to sit and eat in peace, I am okay with! But I can't stand being hungry, so I still do it when I don't have a choice, but first I go to a book store and buy a book to read. :)

By Sadhana on Jul 10, 2009

Nice cup of healthy soup. Beautiful clicks.

By chakhlere on Jul 10, 2009

Hey !! I am same like you. I hate eating alone in restaurants. Me too never do that. I am also great fan of salads of soups and Bowls!! Great resemblance. This soup sounds very healthy and nourishing. Great recipe.

By Madhuram on Jul 10, 2009

Dhivi I also prepare something similar but with barley though. I have not tried wheat berry yet. Like Ashwini has mentioned I put everything together in a vessel; barley, soaked beans, small shape whole grain pasta, frozen mixed vegetables, bay leaf, tomatoes, salt, pepper and any other seasoning, vegetable stock and put the vessel in the pc and leave it for just one whistle or two whistles maximum. It does not get mushy at all. May be if I use fresh veggies it will get mushy. yeah - depends on the type of vegetables too...The only frozen veggie I use is Peas thanks to non availability of fresh ones throughout the year. I dont like to cook veggies for long. In the method you mentioned, the wheat berry/barley and beans need at least 20-25 minutes to cook while the veggies in a pressure cooker will need max 5-10min. The extra time is not needed right? So for such things I saute the fresh veggies by the side - takes only 5-10 min max and combine them together.

By vineelasiva on Jul 10, 2009

Wow healthy soup i will try this.Its really very tempting soup.

By TheThoughtfulTrain on Jul 10, 2009

Thanks so much DK ... I will try this one. Will let you know how it came out too .. :-) BTW tried your Bisi Bele Bath - it was just awesome!! :-) glad to hear that :)

By Divya Vikram on Jul 10, 2009

That sounds like a healthy bowl of goodness. Havent cooked with wheatberries though. Should check that out.

By TheThoughtfulTrain on Jul 10, 2009

Lovely!! Need to try it some time. Can you think of an alternative for wheat berry? We dont like it so much. Another quick question - from the pix, I assume you put all the things for cooking in a vessel and put that in a pressure cooker. Is there something to it? I usually throw everything straight into the cooker. Thanks for the lovely recipe. Looks so tempting and the photos are awesome too!! :-) Thanks ashwini. There is a possibility of this soup making you start eating wheat berries, you never know ;) I cooked only the beans and wheat berries together in a pressure cooker. The rest of them I cooked separately since they dont need to be cooked as much as the berries. They will get too mushy for comfort. You can skip wheat berries totally. Try Quinoa, Barley, Millet or Kamut instead.