Ancient Grains: Packed with Protein, Easy to Cook

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These nutritious, adaptable grains are back in fashion.


• Pronounced “FAHR-ro,” also called spelt

History: Sustained troops in Rome and is still a favorite in Umbrian villages in Italy, where it’s grown.

Cooking: Holds up well to hearty soups, grain salads and Italian meat and vegetable sauces.

Notes: This hard wheat grain is high in protein and B vitamins.


• Pronounced “KEEN-wa”

History: Has been grown in the highest elevations of Peru and Bolivia for nearly 5,000 years.

Cooking: Cooks in only 15 minutes and adapts well to Southwestern green chilies and tomatoes, Cajun rice dishes, and Indian curries. Quinoa must be rinsed before cooking–until the wash water runs clear–to remove a soapy-tasting coating.

Notes: This tiny, flat seed grows in the high plains of Colorado and is tolerant of drought, poor soil, harsh sunshine and bitter cold. Quinoa is high in protein.

Wild Rice

History: Not really a rice, but a seed. The Indians called it manomio, “good berry.”

Cooking: Takes up to 45 minutes to cook; the darker the rice, the longer the cooking time. Suited to American-inspired dishes with dried cranberries, blueberries, celery, mushrooms or turkey.

Notes: Grown in the northern Midwest, wild rice is higher in protein that brown rice.

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