Whole new way to go

Kamut wheat berry and bean stew. Photo: Gregor Richardson
Kamut wheat berry and bean stew. Photo: Gregor Richardson
There's strength in diversity and it could be all yours, writes Hagar Ozri. 

Eating a wide range of foods is really important for our wellbeing, so be adventurous and try something new often.

Stock the pantry with a range of whole grains, beans and nuts so when inspiration comes, you have all the ingredients to create a hearty nutritious meal.

Adding wholefoods into your daily diet is greatly beneficial: they help your body to get rid of toxins, help build healthy tissue and provide fuel full of sustenance and flavour.

Shopping for whole foods is easy. Most supermarkets have them in the dry goods or the organic aisle. Health food stores and ``specialty'' or international grocery stores also stock them. Better yet, check out your local farmers market or community food co-ops for affordable, quality wholefoods.

Cooking whole grains and beans requires some time in the kitchen. Always soak them overnight and cook them well; a pressure cooker is great to cut down the cooking time.

Kamut wheat berry and bean stew 

Here is an example of how simple it is to try a different grain.

This is a great warming dish for winter, flavourful and hearty. Any wholegrain can be used in place of the kamut, and any beans instead of the pinto beans.

Serve in bowls with your choice of a salad, or reduce the liquid at the end and serve as a salad, at room temperature, with lots of chopped fresh parsley and mint and red onion, with hummus and a crusty sourdough loaf.

1 Tbsp olive oil

1½ cups wheat berries, soaked overnight and drained

¾ cup pinto beans, picked over and rinsed, soaked overnight in plenty of water, drained and rinsed.

2 ribs celery, chopped

2 large carrots, cut into wheels

½kg potatoes, scrubbed and diced

250g mushrooms, quartered

2 cups water

2 tsp dried leaf oregano

2 bay leaves

a pinch of cayenne pepper


(A mixture that adds flavour to the dish)

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

2 large cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped

2 large onions, peeled and finely chopped

1 bay leaf

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp black pepper, plus more to taste

1½ tsp salt, plus more to taste


Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large pot and fry for 2 minutes on medium heat; the bay leaves, carrots and celery and stir, then the potatoes, mushrooms, beans, wheat-berries, cayenne and oregano. Top up with water (watch out for sputtering oil) and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium and simmer for 1 hour, checking regularly and skimming the foam that forms on top. Alternatively, cook in a pressure cooker for 20 minutes.

For the sofrito

Fry the onion and garlic in a skillet and saute for about 5 minutes until soft. Add bay leaf, cumin, black pepper and salt, and cook for 2 minutes more.

Add the sofrito to the wheat berries and beans.

Lower to a simmer and cook, covered, adding more water if necessary to create a stew consistency, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened and cooked through. Remove bay leaves and season with salt and pepper, if needed.

To serve, add a squeeze of lemon and chopped fresh herbs (parsley, coriander and mint are a few I like).


We had a great crop of chilli this harvest. This chilli is great for added heat to any dish. It is high in vitaminC, which makes a great supplement for the winter months.

Makes one small jar, which will keep in the fridge for at least a couple of weeks.

1 bunch coriander (optional)

½ bunch flat-leaf parsley (optional)

5 large red chillies

zest and juice of 2 limes or lemons (optional)

3 Tbsp olive oil

½ tsp cumin seeds, toasted and crushed

½ tsp caraway seeds, toasted and crushed

1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed

½ tsp salt or more to taste


Heat the oven to 220degC. Put the fresh chillies on a small baking tray and roast for 10 minutes, until soft and the skin is blistering.

Remove, tip into a small bowl and cover. When cool, peel the chilies and discard their skin, then put the flesh and seeds in the small bowl of a food processor. Add the fresh coriander and parsley, if using, and pulse to chop the herbs.

Add cumin, caraway, garlic, oil, an eighth of a teaspoon of salt and the zest and juice of the limes (if using).

Blitz to a smooth paste (you may need to scrape down the bowl a few times). Transfer to a clean jar, seal and refrigerate.

Pumpkin pie 

This is a simple recipe with no dairy or eggs. It is a very nutritious sweet treat for a casual weekday, but it is fancy enough that you can call on it if you need to impress a vegan celebrity.

Serves 6


1¾ cups of cooked mashed pumpkin

¾ cup full-fat coconut milk (the kind in a can, shaken well before measuring)

¼ cup tapioca flour

¼ cup maple syrup and ¼ cup soft brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground cardamom

½ tsp salt


½ cup rolled oats

½ cup dates, pitted, chopped

½ cup almonds, roasted and chopped

¼ cup almond butter

¼ cup maple syrup

2 Tbsp chocolate chips, dairy-free (optional)

2 Tbsp hemp seeds (optional)

2 Tbsp pumpkin seeds (optional)

2 Tbsp raisins (optional)


Heat oven to 170degC, place oats on a baking sheet and toast for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Meanwhile, place dates in a food processor and pulse until broken down into a dough-like consistency.

Remove oats from oven and place them in a large bowl with almonds, dates, and any optional ingredients.

Melt almond butter and maple syrup in a saucepan over low heat, then stir into oat mixture bowl.

Oil a pie dish and press crust ingredients at the base and sides, pour the filling mixture on top and bake for 30 minutes or longer until pie mixture is set.


For more

Healing foods workshop. Saturday, July 27, 11am at AYU, 7 Crawford St, Dunedin. Tickets are $45 and available from hagarozri.co.nz

Radio show. Catch Hagar on her radio show Sustainable Gastronomy at OAR 104.5 FM Dunedin. Interviews, recipes, cafe reviews, food politics and more! Fortnightly on Tuesdays at 10am or online oar.org.nz/event/sustainable-gastronomy




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