Grains do OK on a plate, but mound them into a bowl and they are a terrific foundation supporting heaps of veggies, legumes, leafy greens, nuts, proteins and, depending on the dish, fruit. These concoctions have been dubbed “grain bowls” and taken over menus across the country. Spanish chef José Andrés, who debuts his new veggie-centric cafe Beefsteak in 2015, says, “There is nothing more comforting than a bowl full of beautiful vegetables and warm, filling grains. This is the bounty of the earth in a bowl!”
Sure, we love digging into brown rice bowls and plumping up our vegetable soups with barley, but there’s an array of other (sometimes obscure) good-for-us whole grains — from spelt to farro — we should be eating on the regular. Don’t overlook these nutritious alternatives hiding in grocery store bulk bins.
It’s a cruel fact: Many of the foods that are potentially good for us also have names seemingly designed to trip us up. Who among us did not have the red-in-the-face moment of learning that quinoa wasn’t pronounced “kee-noah”? To spare us all future embarrassment in the aisles of the Health Food Hut, here’s a guide to several food words known to cause verbal stumbles.
What it is: This dark purple berry is now ubiquitous in health-food store products everywhere, thanks to its reputed superfood powers. It’s a storehouse of antioxidants and may help support the immune system.
How to say it: You’ll sound like a pro at the smoothie shack when you ask to have “ah-sah-EE” added to the mix.
Agar (also, Agar-Agar)
What it is: This gelatinous substance is derived from red algae and used as a thickener and gelling agent in foods like puddings, jelly candies, soups and sauces. Because it comes from a plant (unlike gelatin, which is derived from animals), it’s popular with vegetarians and vegans who can’t resist a good pudding.
How to say it: It’s pronounced “AH-ger,” which, beer lovers will note, rhymes with lager.
This ancient treasure has been around for centuries and is considered to be the great-great granddaddy of grains. Find out how to cook this high protein grain, and why it’s back in fashion.