Healthy Living, Recipes on January 3, 2011 by

Integrating Whole Grains Part 1 – Cooking

For New Year’s, we often try our hand at ways to improve our health and happiness.  Integrating more whole grains into our lives is a delicious, easy way to start.  Intact foods are packed with essential vitamins, minerals and fiber, which are just a few of the benefits of whole grains that your body will surely thank you for.  During the month of November, I avoided all processed foods and sugars and noticed that I had more energy and felt better overall.  I partook in my share of holiday treats during December and I could tell that my body wasn’t happy about it.  I look forward to starting the New Year once again with a focus on whole grains.  If this sounds like a good New Year’s resolution to you, here are some ideas for introducing more whole grains in your diet. 

Whole grains can be added to both your cooking and baking for delightfully delicious foods.  This two part series of helpful hints starts with cooking with whole grains. We’ll tackle baking next.


Whole grains Millet, Spelt, Amaranth and Quinoa

Tips for Using Whole Grains:

• Eat barley, quinoa, brown rice, kasha or another whole grain as a side dish instead of white rice or potatoes.  All you have to do is cook them according to the directions for a more wholesome side kick to your meal.

• Use grains such as quinoa or barley in entrees like risotto, pilaf and stuffed peppers.  Bob’s Red Mill has many such recipes available on the Recipes portion of our website.

• Add whole grains to soups, stews and salads.  You can follow a recipe or simply add ½ cup of cooked whole grains to your favorite dishes.  Depending on the recipe, more could be added.

• Soak whole grains in the morning to cut down on cooking time for dinner preparation.  Simply place the grains in a pot, cover with water called for in the instructions and let soak 4-8 hours.   When ready to cook, prepare as usual, except the cooking time will be less and vary depending on the grain.  

Whole Grain Recipes: 

Bean and Barley Burgers

Szechwan Peanut Salad

Whole Grain Polenta

Creamy Mushrooms & Grain Soup

French Beans & Berries Salad

Wheat Berry Minestrone Soup

Kasha Scramble

Quinoa Salad


Robin says:

I am trying to figure out how to “copy” my favorite “Honey Wheat Berry Bread”. I have a recipe for cracked wheat bread, that just adds the cracked wheat to the other ingrediants. However, the wheat berries just about break your teeth. Should the soft white wheat berries be soaked, or cooked prior to adding them to the bread dough?

Thanks for your help.

If you are adding whole wheat berries to the bread, I would definitely recommend that you cook them first. They take about 1 hour to cook. I have seen cracked wheat added to bread both dry and soaked first in hot water. If the cracked wheat is too hard once baked, I would recommend soaking it in hot water before use. Hope this helps!

Robin says:

Well, I tried soaking the wheat berries in boiling water for an hour. I then drained them, & mixed up the bread. I’d have to say they were slightly softer, but not soft enough to make it good eating. How long do you think I’d have to cook the berries in water to make them come out just al dente in the bread?

Any thoughts on copying Orowheat’s Honey Wheat Berry bread? Apparantly, there are raisins ground up in it, which makes it sweeter than just honey, but I’m not getting the firm, chewy texture right. Mine isn’t “rich” enough. I’m not sure how much juggling of ingrediants is ok, without wasting a lot.
Thanks, Robin

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