The Whole Grains Guide

Forget white bread! A few simple techniques will have you preparing nutritious, tasty whole grains like a pro in no time.

| November/December 2011

Whole grains are a part of every culinary culture on the planet, but most of us could stand to incorporate more of these delicious, nutritious morsels into our daily repertoire. Unlike the refined white flour in so many processed foods, whole grains contain fiber-rich bran, and vitamin- and mineral-rich germ. Along with being ridiculously good for you, these qualities lend a rich, nutty flavor and hearty texture that make whole grain dishes highly filling and satisfying, yet low in calories.

5 Whole Grain Recipes:

• African Millet Salad with Corn & Peppers
Pecan and Wild Rice-Stuffed Squash
• Filet Mignon and Barley Stew with Spinach
• Buttermilk Wheat Germ Pancakes with Yogurt and Berry Sauce
• Chocolate Chunk Buckwheat Cookies 

Available in a wide range of sizes, tastes and textures, versatile and inexpensive whole grains can be turned into fluffy pilaf or creamy porridge as easily as they can be hidden in baked dishes, unbeknownst to finicky eaters. If you’re new to whole-grain cooking, try several recipes to see what you like best. You might find a family favorite in chewy barley brownies or a delicious salad made with brilliantly golden millet and fresh vegetables.

Cooking Methods for Whole Grains

Did someone say versatile? Not only do grains offer a wide range of textures, but you can achieve even more taste varieties using different cooking methods.

Simmer. Most of the time, you’ll be cooking grains via the absorption method—the way you cook rice. Put liquid and grains in a pot (follow proportions from "10 Tasty Grains to Try" section below) over high heat until liquid boils, then reduce heat to low, cover and cook until soft but chewy. Large whole grains such as rye berries and oat groats will cook up fluffy and somewhat firm (think rice pilaf). For a creamy consistency (such as porridge and  polenta), add more liquid or allow grains to set before serving.

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