Recipe: Wheat Berry-Black Bean Chili

It seems like it's been forever since I've posted on here. Sorry for the delay. The end of the semester was pretty rough for me, but, now that it's over and grades are in, I have lots of time to rest, relax, workout, and, most importantly, cook! Now, let's get to the good part: the food. This recipe is one of my favorites, especially when it's cold out. Chili can be a nutrient packed meal or a diet destroyer depending on how you make it. An emphasis on meat (usually grain-fed beef), too few vegetables, and loads of heavy toppings like sour cream and cheese can really throw off your healthy lifestyle, not to mention your digestion (you know what I'm talking about). In this recipe, beans and whole grains take a starring role along with some veggies, flavorful spices, and creamy avocado. I've adapted it from the original recipe to use dried beans instead of canned. The result is a less processed and lower sodium chili as well as fewer dollars spent at the cash register.

Wheat Berry-Black Bean Chili

adapted from


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 large yellow onion, chopped

1 large bell pepper, chopped (whatever color you like, organic if possible)

5 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 cups dried black beans

2 14-oz cans diced tomatoes (choose brands with BPA free linings such as Muir Glen or jarred varieties)

1-2 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced (freeze left-overs)

2 cups water or vegetable stock

1 cup wheat berries

Juice of 1 lime

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 avocado, diced


1. The night before, rinse dried black beans and cover with water. Allow beans to soak overnight in the refrigerator. The next day, drain beans and place in a pot covered with 2-inches of fresh water. Bring to a boil and skim off any foam that develops. Then, reduce heat to simmer, cover beans, and cook for 1 - 1.5 hours, or until beans are tender.

2. To cook wheat berries, rinse and then place in pot with 3 cups of water. Bring water to a boil,reduce heat to simmer, and cover. Cook for 1 hour, or until tender, and then drain away excess liquid.

3. Heat oil in a Dutch oven or soup pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper. Cook until tender, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.

4. Add beans, tomatoes, chipotle and water/broth. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to simmer, and cover. Cook for 25 minutes.

5. Stir in cooked wheat berries and heat through. Stir in lime juice. Serve with garnish of cilantro and avocado.

This chili is great as left-overs too, maybe even better, because all of the flavors and spices meld together. If you can't find canned chipotle in adobo, no need to fret. I've made it without many of times and it is still delicious.

What's your favorite food on a cold day?