14 Best Recipes for Alternative Grains
Whole grains are having a serious moment. Quinoa and wheat berries, once the provenance of chefs, are regularly appearing in pantries, and ancient grains like millet, amaranth, and farro are now easily sourced at your local grocers. As many people begin to move away from processed carbs and embrace the world of whole grains, even lesser known grains like spelt, freekeh, and bulgur are working their way into our diets and more and more home cooks are experimenting with them. Here are some of our favorite recipes that use whole grains, any one of which would be a good place to start if you are new to incorporating them into your cooking, or if you want to experiment with a new-to-you grain.
Gluten-Free Hot Breakfast Cereal
First things first, if one grain is good, then a bunch of grains are even better! This version of a hot breakfast cereal is delicious, gluten-free, and a perfect way to start your day.
Quinoa and Black Beans
Quinoa was one of the first grains to really hit widespread popularity and for good reason. It is a superfood! This salad with black beans provides wonderful protein and is either a healthful entrée for vegetarians or a great side dish for meat eaters.
Wheat Berry Salad with Peas, Radishes, and Dill
Wheatberries are the whole grain of wheat as it is before it gets processed into flour for baking. Nutty and chewy, they make terrific salads, like this one which is a celebration of springtime produce.
Whole grain breads are one of the best things you can learn to make at home, and this nutty bread will become a welcome addition to your baking practice.
Farro is an ancient version of wheat that may be easier for some people with gluten issues to tolerate (but always check with your doctor first). This Spanish influenced dish can be a main or flavorful side dish.
Puffed Millet Squares
Millet is a fun grain to work with, the tiny pale-yellow balls are super crunchy with a great “pop” texture. Here, a puffed version subs in for rice cereal in a sweet treat that kids will love, and will be good for them!
Grab-and-Go Grain Bowls
Grain bowls can be made with almost any whole grain, but farro really shines in these layered portable salads. The recipe is endlessly adjustable and adaptable to your personal taste.
Turkey and Quinoa Meatloaf
Grains are great for so much more than just salads and pilafs. Here, quinoa lightens up a turkey meatloaf with great results! Perfect way to sneak some whole-grain goodness to your kids.
Peanut Butter and Amaranth Cookies
Amaranth is an ancient grain with a lot of natural sweetness, so it really lends itself to baking applications. Try these rich peanut butter cookies, the whole-grain goodness is equal to the serious yum factor.
Spelt Pizza Dough
Spelt, another ancient relative of wheat, is a godsend for many who want to eat less processed grain. But staying away from commercially produced flours doesn’t mean you want to give up pizza! This spelt pizza dough is your new best friend for pizza at home with all the same satisfaction, while keeping things healthier.
Scottish Oat Scones
Oats are often someone’s first experience with whole grains. Here is a fun baking project that goes beyond the usual cookies or granola. Scottish oat scones are super traditional, and a terrific healthful breakfast or afternoon pick me up.
Wild Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash
Wild rice is technically not a grain, it is a grass seed, but it is still wonderfully good for you and very delicious. Here it is the star of a stuffing for acorn squash, but you can also use this as a filling for stuffed tomatoes or peppers, roll it in leaves for cabbage rolls, or into scooped out zucchini or eggplant.
Freekeh Salad with Tahini Dressing
Freekeh is a green bulgur wheat product that is common in Mediterranean cooking. In this recipe it shines in a salad enriched with the nutty flavor of tahini.