Hearty, Healthy Grain Dishes

Mjeddrah (Rice and Lentil Pilaf)

mjeddrah (mujaddarah) Rice and Lentil Pilaf

A dish both simple and elemental, the lentils and rice cook together, taking on flavor and qualities greater than themselves. The rice and lentils soak separately before cooking, which brings the tenderness out in the rice and encourages the lentils, which normally require no presoaking, to keep their shape. We should all be so lucky. It’s traditionally topped with sautéed onions and makes a meal. Recipe and photo contributed by Ellen Kanner. more→

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Millet Pilaf with Tahini-Herb Sauce

Millet Pilaf

Nutritionally, millet resembles wheat, providing niacin, vitamin B6, and folic acid along with some calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, and zinc. If you want fluffy, grainy millet, as for this dish, it is essential to leave it alone while cooking. If you want a soft textured millet, however, keep stirring until it is cooked. Contributed by Deborah Gray from 500 Vegan Dishes(Sellers Publishing, 2011).

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Vegan Chili-Cheese Grits

Vegan chili-cheese grits

Have you discovered grits (aka hominy grits)? To add variety to your grain repertoire, try grits (hulled, dried, and cracked corn kernels, long a Southern staple). Seek out stone-ground organic grits, which are much more flavorful than the ultra-refined variety sold in supermarkets. I like the Bob’s Red Mill brand; they’re flavorful and are made from non-GMO corn. This is great for breakfast or brunch, but it can also be a change-of pace dinner served with baked sweet potato and a crunchy coleslaw. Adapted from The Vegetarian 5-Ingredient Gourmet.

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Curried Cashew Couscous

Curried cashew couscous

Here’s a delicious and colorful couscous dish, embellished with peas, cashews, dried fruits, and curry spices. It’s ready in minutes, leaving you plenty of time to build a meal around it. This is very nice served with vegetable curries or simple bean dishes. Photos by Evan Atlas.

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Couscous with Peas and Raisins

Couscous with peas and raisins

This mild side dish of couscous, green peas, and toasted cashews or pine nuts is a nice complement to vegetable curries. It’s also a nice accompaniment to roasted winter vegetables such as Roasted Root Vegetable Medley.

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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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Buckwheat Groats (Kasha) with Fine Noodles and Vegetables

Kasha with Noodles and Veggies

Buckwheat groats, or kasha, lend an invigorating texture and distinctive flavor to this enticing grain dish. Featuring colorful and crunchy veggies, think of this as a more colorful and contemporary version of kasha varnishkes. It’s a nice choice for a main dish for vegans at the Jewish New Year table, and a side dish for everyone else. Photos by Evan Atlas.


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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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