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Shelled Wheat with Mushrooms and Feta

Adapted from Ottolenghi: Simple

Course Entree
Cuisine Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, vegetarian
Keyword balsamic, feta cheese, mushrooms


  • 1 lb shelled wheat
  • 4 cups vegetable stock (you can also use chicken but it will no longer be vegetarian)
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 T extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 t wild mountain cumin seeds, divided
  • 4 smaller onions, sliced (or use 2 large onions)
  • 1 T minced garlic
  • 1.5 lbs sliced crimini mushrooms
  • 6 oz beech mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1 pinch dried thyme
  • 1 sweet bell pepper, diced
  • 2 T medium quality balsamic (not the cheap stuff but also not extremely expensive)
  • 2 t urfa chile powder
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill (I used a handful of arugula per serving because I had no dill or any fresh herbs)
  • 4 oz feta, plus more for garnish


  1. Cook the shelled wheat as though you were cooking pasta in the stock and water. Add water as needed. When the shelled wheat is chewy-tender, drain and set aside. Check the package for time, mine took around 25 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium high heat with 1 teaspoon of the cumin seeds. Shake the pan occasionally, and when the cumin seeds are fragrant and browning (do not let them burn, cumin seeds brown quickly), add the onion with a pinch of salt. Cook for about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, and then add the garlic. Keep cooking until the onions are darker and have caramelized. Transfer the onions to a plate or bowl.

  3. Pour another 2 tablespoons of oil into the same pan, turn the heat to high, and repeat the roasting of the other teaspoon of cumin seeds. Then add the mushrooms with a pinch of salt and cook for six to seven minutes, stirring often, until the mushrooms release their water and start to brown. Add the thyme and the sliced sweet bell pepper and keep cooking, stirring all the while, for another minute. Add the balsamic vinegar and cook for 30 seconds; the vinegar should reduce and evaporate. Stir in the cooked shelled wheat and half of the caramelized onions. Also add half of the dill if you are using it. Stir in half of the feta cheese and half of the urfa chile powder. When everything is warmed through, remove the pan from the heat and taste for more salt.

  4. Serve and garnish with the remaining caramelized onions, feta cheese, dill if using or the arugula. Sprinkle with urfa chile pepper. Drizzle with a tiny amount of extra virgin olive oil.

Recipe Notes

Hey guys: I used Burlap and Barrel's fabulous Wild Mountain Cumin and Urfa Chile powder in this recipe. On the one hand, please don't be afraid to make this with what you have on hand because these are hard times and no matter what it will be good. But you should know that Burlap and Barrel, my favorite place to get spices these days, is open and shipping, so if you can it is a fabulous time to stock up your pantry spices so you can make fun food with minimal effort. And I just love them, they don't even know I am saying this--I have ordered from them since the quarantine began.