Grains have been a staple in our diet for thousands of years, and with good reason. Whole grains have been shown to help with prevention and management of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and gastrointestinal cancers. Many of us are familiar with grains such as rice and wheat, but have you ever considered trying a new grain?
Quinoa is the most popular “new” grain, but it has been cultivated in South America for thousands of years. What makes quinoa unique is that it is a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids while maintaining the many benefits of being a whole grain. Quinoa is naturally gluten free, so it can be enjoyed by individuals with celiac disease or a gluten intolerance while remaining symptom free.
Another grain gaining in popularity is couscous. This easy-to-cook wheat variety can be bought in many different forms, including pearled, tri-colored and whole wheat. Couscous is also available in instant forms just add hot water!
With an increase in plant-based diets, finding ways to add new flavors has become a fun challenge. Perhaps that explains farro’s recent gain popularity in Western kitchens. It is another type of wheat, but unlike rice or couscous, farro has a strong nutty flavor with more texture than many of its wheat cousins. Because of this, farro does require more preparation, and its toughest varieties are best after soaking overnight.
Inspired to try a new grain? Try one of our recipes: