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.
Tag: whole grains
I grew up in a store-bought, premade pancake batter household. On Saturday mornings we were happy to shake the carton and pour our way to breakfast heaven. I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for the pancakes of my youth. But now I know better. That doesn’t mean I’ve stopped eating pancakes altogether. Instead I make them from scratch with wholesome ingredients.
Rice is over. Couscous is passe. It’s all about alterna-grains these days. But don’t just stock your pantry with these exotic-sounding carbs and hope for the best. Those wheat berries won’t cook themselves! Here’s what to do with your kitchen’s latest grainy guest stars.
Triple Herb Freekeh (above)
Get your freekeh on! In a simple dish like this one, which is simply grains, onions, herbs and a light lemon dressing, the type of grain you use makes all the difference. Chewy, nutty freekeh (roasted green wheat) will make this one a standout.
Who doesn’t love the crunchy goodness of granola? Check for some of these qualities the next time you reach for a bag.
By now, almost everyone knows that whole-grain foods are a nutritional step up from dishes that revolve around refined carbs. But if you’re starting to get the feeling that good-for-you grains are spending just a little too much time on their healthy high horse, remind them of their tasty roots by baking them into one of these whole-grain treats.
Millet is a golden-colored, gluten-free whole grain that tends to be a little dry when cooked, like rice or quinoa, but becomes soft and creamy when simmered with extra liquid. The addition of coconut milk complements it perfectly and gives porridge a luxurious texture and richness that really is a step up from your average winter breakfast cereal.
This is a go-to recipe in my house as it pleases the masses. I serve it cold in the winter and cool in the spring and summer. Swapping ingredients for the greens or herbs makes it perfect for any season. I like getting creative when I make pesto to add flavor and save money. Baby arugula is in season right now; it adds a bold peppery flavor to a pesto. It also cuts cost until basil is really in season. I like the texture of chopped lacinato kale with the farro but any spring green would be great. Grape tomatoes are a great way to enjoy the flavor of a tomato year round. As tomatoes become more seasonal you can opt for a diced tomato straight from your garden instead.
What Is Farro?
Imagine the taste of brown rice, only with a nuttier flavor and pleasantly chewier texture. This Italian-born grain dates back to ancient Rome. While it’s sometimes confused with barley or spelt, farro has its own unique flavor and texture. Cook it in water or broth and it’s ready in about 25 minutes.
Freekeh (pronounced free-kah), is an ancient grain that’s had new-found popularity lately. If you haven’t seen it on supermarket shelves or on the menu at your favorite restaurant, be on the lookout; you will soon.
What is Freekeh?
In Arabic, the word freekeh means “to rub.” About 2,000 years ago, the grain was created by accident when a Middle Eastern village was attacked and their young green wheat crop was set on fire. The villagers rubbed off the burnt outer layers and cooked up the grain, and thus freekeh was born. It has a crunchy, nutty taste, which has been described as a cross between brown rice and barley.
What Makes Freekeh So Healthy?
One half cup of cooked freekeh has about 130 calories, 1 gram of total fat and 8 grams of protein. It’s free of saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. This ancient gem is an excellent source of manganese, providing 70% of your recommended daily amount. It’s also a good source of fiber (with 4 grams per ¼ cup dry), plus phosphorus and magnesium. Freekeh is a whole grain so adding it to your diet can help you meet the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines to make half your grains whole.
Freekeh is also rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, two plant chemicals that have been shown to aid in eye health. This ancient grain also seems to work as a prebiotic, helping good bacteria flourish in the digestive tract.