1 1/2 cups wheat berries
2 medium onions, halved, divided
5 sprigs thyme
1 tablespoon kosher salt plus more
8 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch kale, stemmed, leaves torn into 2-inch pieces (about 8 packed cups)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Ingredient info: Wheat berries, also called hard wheat, are available at most natural foods stores. (On the UWS you can find them at Gary Null’s Whole Foods on 89th and Broadway.)
Combine wheat berries, 1 onion half, thyme sprigs, and 1 Tbsp. salt in a large saucepan; add water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium and simmer until wheat berries are just tender but still firm to the bite, about 35 minutes. Drain; discard onion and thyme. Place wheat berries in a large bowl; let cool.
Cut remaining 3 onion halves crosswise into 1/2-inch slices. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large cast-iron or other heavy skillet over medium-high heat; add onions. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are charred in spots, about 5 minutes. Transfer to bowl with wheat berries. Add 1 Tbsp. oil to same skillet. Working in 3 batches, add kale and cook, tossing occasionally, sprinkling with salt and pepper, and adding oil as needed between batches, until charred in spots, about 1 minute per batch. Add to bowl. Drizzle with lemon juice and any remaining oil; toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.