With nutritionists advising us to cut back on fats and eat more complex carbohydrates, more and more people are turning to grains for a substantial part of their diet. New or unusual grains are available in health food stores, specialty stores and even supermarkets. These grains add variety to a meal, as well as provide an alternative for those who are allergic to wheat or corn. Here are some specialty grains to try:
Amaranth can be used in dishes that call for rice or oats. It is a rich source of vitamin A, calcium, phosphorus and potassium.
Barley, long a staple of hearty soups, makes a great rice or brown rice substitute. Barley has a mildly nutty flavor that comes across well in soups, salads, pilafs or stuffings. A cup of cooked barley contains only one gram of fat.
Everyone is familiar with buckwheat pancakes. Another buckwheat dish is called kasha, roasted whole buckwheat that is cooked in water or broth for a hearty rice substitute
Bulgur is actually whole wheat that is boiled, dried, then ground coarsely. Because it is precooked, it can be prepared quickly for a hot breakfasticon or a seasoned side dish or stuffing at dinner.
Couscous is a processed form of the wheat commonly used to make pasta. Like bulgur, couscous can be cooked quickly. Its mild flavor lends itself to many seasonings.
Finally, millet is found in multigrain cereals and breads. This tiny grained yellow cereal is rich in iron. Toasting it before cooking brings out its nutty flavor, making it a good side dish for poultry and meats.
Unless instructions indicated otherwise, cook grains in water as you would brown rice.