Hearty, Healthy Grain Dishes

Barley with Mushrooms and Browned Onions

Mushrooms and barley are a match made in culinary heaven. Best known for their pairing in comforting soups, they make an equally good duo in this hearty side dish. Brown mushrooms yield a richer flavor than white, so give them a try.

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Salsa Grain-and-Bean Pilaf

Salsa grain and bean pilaf recipe

If you want to dress up a simple grain-and-bean pilaf in an instant, a good-quality, prepared tomato salsa is the answer. This is truly an emergency dinner, but a hearty and healthy one, at that! Vary the type of grain and/or bean you use each time you make this, and serve it with a simple salad or coleslaw and a steamed vegetable like broccoli, or fresh corn on the cob. Adapted from The Vegetarian 5-Ingredient Gourmet. more→

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Bulgur and Sweet Potato Pilaf

Bulgur with sweet potatoes

This attractive dish has a subtle sweet flavor and the crunch of toasted walnuts. Double this recipe for a great winter holiday grain dish—it’s perfect for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinners. Recipe adapted from Vicki’s Vegan Kitchen by Vicki Chelf ©2011, Square One Publishing, reprinted by permission.  more→

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Couscous-Stuffed Eggplant

Couscous-Stuffed eggplant recipe

For this delightful stuffed eggplant dish you can use regular couscous, or try it with Israeli couscous, as shown in the photo. Regular couscous has more of the look and feel of a grain; Israeli couscous more like a tiny pasta. If you’re looking for a gluten-free variation, you can substitute quinoa, which is also excellent in this preparation. more→

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Lemony Couscous with Broccoli

Couscous raw

This may be too light to serve as a meal’s centerpiece, but it’s perfect for pairing with a dish of equal heft, like a bean or legume dish, or a main dish salad. I’ve also enjoyed leftovers of this served cold in a wrap with shredded lettuce and sliced tomatoes.

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Fruit-and-Spice Couscous Pilaf

Couscous raw

Couscous is a great grain (well, technically, it’s really pasta, but it “behaves” like a grain) for the busy cook. It needs only be soaked in hot water for 10 to 15 minutes and it’s done. It has the mild, familiar flavor of pasta—and no wonder, since semolina, from which it’s made, is the same wheat used to make pasta. Both refined and whole wheat couscous are readily available at natural food stores. Use whichever you prefer.  more→

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Turkish Millet With Garden-Fresh Greens

Millet uncooked

This luxurious and piquant grains-and-greens combo starts with nourishing (and under appreciated) millet and combines it with whatever leafy greens you have on hand (collards, kale, chard, etc.) and bold flavorings. An unusual touch is added with pomegranate molasses. Recipe contributed by Ellen Kanner. more→

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Bulgur with Fine Noodles

Here’s a simple, sturdy grain side dish for everyday meals. Combining a hearty grain with delicate noodles is a tradition in many Eastern European cuisines. more→

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