Katie’s Healthy Bites: Spelt’s Whole-Grain Goodness

by in Uncategorized, June 20, 2010

spelt pasta

Lately I’ve been feeling bored with traditional grains, so I’ve added spelt into my regular repertoire. If you haven’t tasted this nutritious, nutty and oh-so-satisfying grain, try it today! Here are some tips on buying, storing and, of course, cooking spelt.

Buying Tips
Before you purchase spelt, consider the recipe you’re making. For baked goods, pick up spelt flour. If your goal is to create a dish for a family meal, whole spelt berries are the way to go.

Spelt Storage
This grain stays at its peak when kept in an airtight container at a cool temperature. If you don’t plan on using it quickly, you can store spelt in the refrigerator to preserve its quality.

Cooking Techniques
There are many different ways to enjoy spelt, so don’t be afraid to try them all! It can be substituted in almost any recipe that uses a cooked grain, but it is key to remember all grains cook differently and recipe adjustments will likely be needed. To cook whole berries, first soak them overnight, drain and rinse, then cook the spelt for an hour in simmering water. Don’t panic if you forget to soak them overnight — you can also cook them for an hour and a half or until the cooking liquid is absorbed.

For baked goods, spelt flour can be substituted for wheat flour in any recipe — it yields a wonderfully nutty flavor.

A Few Ways to Use Spelt
Soups: Add cooked spelt instead of rice, barley, or quinoa (or be adventurous and add a mix!).
Salads: Cool and use as the base of a grain salads or a healthy and satiating addition to a green salad.
Side dishes: Works well as a pilaf.
Main dishes:Spelt pastas are available in many specialty stores. Just add your favorite sauce and a few veggies to complete the meal. Or, if you prefer, just increase the portion size of your side dish to make this into a meal. Spelt is a wonderful way to get nutrients such as fiber, protein, and some B-vitamins.
Baked goods: Spelt’s nutty flavor is delicious in cookies, breads and more!  Substitute equal parts spelt flour in your favorite baked good.

Here is one of my all-time favorite spelt recipes:

Spelt Waldorf Salad
Yield: 10 servings
• 3 cups water
• 1 cup spelt berries
• 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
• 1 pink lady apple, diced
• 1 celery rib, sliced thin
• 1/4 cup red onion, diced small
• 1/2 cup dried cherries
• 1/4 cup dried cranberries
• 2 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
• 2 tablespoons fresh chives, thinly sliced
• 2 tablespoons fresh parley, chopped
• 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Katie Cavuto Boyle, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian, personal chef and owner of HealthyBites, LLC. See Katie’s full bio »

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