Hearty, Healthy Grain Dishes
Are you ready to try a deliciously different grain? Farro, a longstanding favorite in Italian cuisine has made quite a comeback. A hardy, whole variety of wheat, it has a great flavor and is a nice alternative to brown rice. Soaking farro overnight (or all day) makes it cook up quicker and creamier. This Farrotto is a heartier, whole grain cousin to risotto. Recipe and photo contributed by Ellen Kanner.
This delicious grain dish, studded with celery, black lentils, cranberries, and pistachios, is as welcome for everyday meals as it is for the holiday table. Celery is used twice in this dish: softened in the beginning with a little olive oil, and tossed in at the end for a decisive crunch. You may substitute traditional couscous for the whole wheat and brown or green lentils for the black ones. (The black ones are especially pretty, though.) Recipe reprinted with permission from Ripe: A Fresh, Colorful Approach to Fruits and Vegetables* © 2012 by Cheryl Sternman Rule, photography by Paulette Phlipot; Running Press, a member of the Perseus Book Group. more→
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→
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).
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.
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.
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.
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→