Packed with earthy flavors, texture rich Smoky White Bean Kale and Wheat Berry Stew is quick to pull together with a long, slow simmer. Serve with the crustiest, seediest sourdough for a super cozy meal. This recipe is vegetarian + vegan.
Hearty, warming and super cozy, wheat berry stew is comforting and flavor packed. Subtle smoky flavors with chewy texture and vibrant flavors, this is a perfect stew to warm up with.
Ingredients For Wheat Berry Stew
This stew calls for wheat berries. They’re fiber rich with a chewy texture similar to barley. Find wheat berries in the bulk isle or online. Here’s what you’ll need to make this soup:
- Dry Cannellini Beans or Canned*
- Wheat Berries
- Olive Oil
- Smoky Paprika
- Veggie Broth
You’ll soak the beans (if using dry beans) and wheat berries overnight, so a bit of advance prep is needed.
How to Make Wheat Berry Stew
This stew is simple enough to make. With most of the cook time hands off, it’ll free you up for whipping up other things like a salad and/or dessert! If dry white beans are unavailable, canned can be subbed and added towards the end of cooking, just to warm through.
- First, heat oil on medium in a large soup pot or dutch oven to just shimmering. Add the leeks, carrots and celery and cook until softened.
- Second, stir in the garlic and paprika, then pour in the dry beans, wheat berries, broth, tomatoes and sprigs of thyme
- Next, bring the stew to a simmer, lid and cook on low for 1 hour and 20-30 minutes stirring a few times .
- Last, just a few minutes before the stew is finished, stir in the Kale and allow to wilt. Add a squeeze of lemon and cook for just a few minutes longer.
The soup’s ready when the beans and wheat berries are tender. Serve this wheat berry stew piping hot and with slabs of crusty bread for dippin’.
A Few Recipe Notes
- Most of the 1 hour 40 minutes to make this wheat berry stew is hands-off cooking time. Once the majority of the ingredients are added to the soup pot, it simmers away for about an hour and a half.
- To properly prepare dried beans and grains, they need to be soaked overnight. This is to improve their digestibility and nutrient absorption. However, I’ve prepared this stew with and without soaking, because I forgot or didn’t plan (almost always :/ ) , and achieved similar results.
- If dried cannellini beans are unavailable, use canned, but add them towards the end of cooking when the kale is added.
- Wheat berries are a slightly sweet, nutty and chewy whole grain. I love them so much, they’ve become a pantry staple. They add an earthy depth and heartiness to this stew. There are several varieties including hard red and hard white. I use hard white because that’s what I can find in the bulk bins, but either can be used (according to their package directions). Use the rest of your bag of wheat berries to make this Summer Garbanzo Salad.
- This wheat berry stew thickens as it cooks, so if a thinner stew is desired, add more broth or water towards the end of cooking.
Other Hearty Stews/Soups to Enjoy
- Lentil Mushroom Cabbage Roll Soup
- Slow Cooker Vegetarian Taco Soup
- Hoppin John Stew
- Moroccan Lentil Chickpea Stew
Smoky White Bean Kale and Wheat Berry Stew
- 1/2 C (125g) Dry Cannellini Beans* soaked overnight and rinsed
- 1/2 C (110g) Wheat Berries** (Hard White) soaked overnight and rinsed
- 2 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 C (145g) Leeks cut in half, lengthwise, and white and light green parts sliced thin (about 1 large)
- 1 C (110g) Carrots large dice
- 1 C (65g) Celery large dice
- 3 Large Cloves of Garlic minced
- 2 tsp Smoky Paprika
- 5 C (1.05kg) Vegetable Broth plus extra for thinning as needed (or water)
- 1 Can (411g) Diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes
- 4 Sprigs of Thyme
- 2 C (50g) Kale (I like Lacinato kale) or Swiss Chard chopped
- 1/4 C (6g) Parsley chopped
- 1 Lemon
- Heat oil on medium in a large soup pot or dutch oven to just shimmering. Add the leeks, carrots and celery and cook on medium-low stirring occasionally for 6-7 minutes or until softened. Stir in the garlic and paprika, just enough to coat the vegetables. Pour in the beans, wheat berries, broth, tomatoes and sprigs of thyme (the leaves will fall off during cooking and you'll fish out the stems later). Bring the stew to a simmer. Turn the heat to low and simmer with the lid on for 1 hour and 20-30 minutes stirring a few times and checking to see if more broth (or water) is needed as the stew will thicken towards the end of cooking. Adjust as needed with broth or water. The soup is ready when the beans are tender and the wheat berries are tender yet still chewy.
- Five minutes before removing the stew from the heat, stir in the kale. It will wilt down slightly. Just before serving, stir in the parsley and juice of 1/2 a lemon. Season with plenty of pepper and salt to taste. Serve with more parsley and lemon wedges.
- Store in a lidded container in the refrigerator for up to three days or in the freezer for up to two weeks. Thaw in the fridge overnight and gently reheat on the stove.
This is such a simple soup with great flavour! I used my instant pot to sauté and cook. Thank you!!! I will definitely be making this again!
Thank you for your note Teresa! Thank you for your tip about the IP! Super happy to hear.
I absolutely LOVE this soup! I just made it to bring to a friend recovering from surgery. It is the perfect healthy comfort food! I serve it with freshly grated parmesan and crusty bread.
Hii Elizabeth! Thank you for your note and rating! So happy to hear you’re enjoying the soup and yes to a nourishing soup for recovery. But oh my that parma and crusty bread – a must!
And almost a year later, I made this soup. I got tired of my not making soup because my kids don’t like it. It’s more efficient to make one dinner that everyone will eat. Tonight, they will get the choice of soup or leftover pizza. I know which one they will choose. I know which one I will choose too. Thanks for a yummy recipe.
Hi Foy! Thank you for your note and trying the recipe! I’d get tired too… and then I’d make soup! So happy you’re enjoying this hearty stew. Remember, it freezes easily too, so for those nights ahead when leftover pizza will be a choice, you can slide this right out of the freezer :) .
PLEASE tell me where you found that fabulous looking bread! We have combed the planet in search for bread like that. So far, Sweden wins. Just cant find bread like that in the U.S.!
We love wheat berries–trying this recipe tonight!
Hi Elaine! I lol when I read your note! So this seedy loaf came from a local baker, Screaming Banshee on Whidbey Island! Her loaves are over the top crusty and this one is chock full of seeds! We’ve one other sourdough baker on the island that I buy from too, when I’m not baking my own. I hope you enjoyed the stew… with some over the top crusty bread! :D
do you think you could use kamut instead of the wheat berries? both are chewy once cooked
Hey Charity! If you use kamut, be sure to adjust the cooking time so that the kamut cooks for about 30-40 minutes if pre-soaked (45-50 minutes if not soaked). I hope this helps.
Cheyanne @ No Spoon Necessary
Oh YAY!!! So fantastic they decided to rebuild the farm, Traci! Nothing like a story of tragic loss turned into a story of hope and inspiration! Gives me all the feels!!! AND yay for your chickadees! Sounds like there are a lot of new beginnings going on in your neck of the woods! Love this stew! So hearty and packed with flavor, yet light and healthy! I’m in need of some cozy eats right about now, so I’m thinking I need to whip up a big vat of this stew! Cheers, dear friend – to a beautiful Easter weekend! xoxoxo
We are so happy about the recent events, too Chey! As is the community. There’s so much chickadee drama going on around here… and there’s more coming up! I hope you enjoy the stew Chey! :D
This stew looks so healthy and delicious! I’m intrigued by the wheat berries, I’ll definitely have to try this one out!
Thank you Luci ! I hope you’ll give wheat berries a go!
Lynn | The Road to Honey
First off. . .I’m so happy to hear that they decided to re-build the farm. Farming is a dying art and we need to do everything possible to preserve the few farms that are left. Second, wowie-woo-woo with the new neighbors. How exciting! I wish my neighbors were this cute. And last (but certainly not least) the stew looks outstanding. Up until the last two days, it has been cold here too and this bowl of stew would be perfect to cuddle up to.
Me too, Lynn… that farm is such an important part of our food system here. I can’t imagine how it would be without their contributions to the community. We are relieved. Cute neighbors indeed! I can watch them out my window while enjoying a bowl of this cozy stew! :D
I love and adore hearty stews like this and you know how to make some of the best Traci. I absolutely love the smokiness you added to it, the wheat berry…Oh how I wish I could have some with that chunky bread.
So so good. Pinned.
Thank you Asha! And for your pin! :D
The Modern Proper
Such a simple, cozy, and healthy looking meal. I’ll be giving this a try soon.
Thank you Natalie and Holly! :D
This is such a beautiful stew, and so hearty! I would not mind a bowl of this with that sourdough bread! My family is not too fond of stews and hence I do not make them often.
So glad to know that you have neighbors now!!! :) Such a sweet thing to see everyday! :)
Thank you Amisha! No stew? Well, then, more for you, right? And it freezes with ease.
A cozy bowl of comfort is something I am always in the mood for, my friend! I have to find myself some wheat berries!!
Me too, Annie, no matter the time of year (save August!). Go get those wheat berries! :D
Geraldine | Green Valley Kitchen
So glad you are helping the local birds, Traci. I should look into what type of bird housing is needed in my neck of the woods. The birds here are going crazy – especially vocal are the resident mocking birds – they really do make a noisy racket starting early in the morning. Now on to this stew, love all the ingredients in here – especially the chewy wheat berries, white beans, fire roasted tomatoes and kale – this a hearty, good for you stew – the perfect dinner with a large glass of wine and some good crunchy bread. Hope you’re having a great weekend!
I’m curious too, Geraldine! There are so many species that rely on dead trees and unfortunately due to habitat loss, many are unable to find suitable nest sites. One reason for the CB Chickadee decline, for example. Oh those mocking birds! I do miss their antics… they are such lively birds. We don’t have them this far North. Yes to the wine! A bottle of red and a baguette and dinner is done!
Medha @ Whisk & Shout
I love wheatberries and I love white beans and I never would have thought to combine them like this! So delicious :) Pinning!
So much flavor in this stew, Medha.. and hearty! Yaaaas! Thank you for your pin my dear! xo
Laura | Tutti Dolci
This is such a cozy bowl of stew, just what I’m craving on this windy and rainy April day!
Perfect for these early spring days! Thank you Laura!
Mary Ann | The Beach House Kitchen
That’s such great news about Willowood Farm Traci! And about your new feathered friends! We are back to being chilly and rainy around here, so this stew is the perfect solution. I have always loved white beans! I have never tried wheat berries. I have to look next time I’m at the market! Thanks for sharing and have a great weekend!
Good news, hooray! I hope you’ll give wheat berries a go.. Even Rob loves them! :D
Abby @ Heart of a Baker
I’m so happy to hear the good news, and new feathered friends?! So fun! We still haven’t quite reached spring yet here, so I’m all in for this stew! xo
I’ll eat stew pretty much year round, but oh is it satisfying during the colder parts of the year!?
Beautiful! I love chickadees, yhey are my favorite!
Me too Deb.. so much. :D