Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Cooking with Healthy Whole Grains

W e're very aware of white bread's shortcomings-highly processed, nutrient-deficient-when in comparison with its whole wheat counterpart. The satiating power of the bowl of oats is no mystery thanks to the staple's prominence in American breakfasting culture, but only recently have we begun to explore the wide-ranging benefits that whole grains (and pseudo-grains like quinoa, buckwheat, and amaranth) have to give you. Given the variety-oats, wheat berries, bulgur, and kamut, among others-as well his or her versatility, we'd be remiss never to explore the world of those tiny wonders. So take a rest from the tired, white, and processed and provides vibrant, hearty whole grain products a go.


In the past, food processing and storage practices made the full grain a rarity in many supermarkets. According to Maria Speck, author of Ancient Grains for Modern Meals: Mediterranean Christmas Wholegrain Recipes for Barley, Farro, Kamut, Polenta, Wheat Berries & More, the absence may be attributed to early industrialization during which shelf-stable processed and refined grains like white flour and pasta were introduced to the American consumer. Today, nutty, multicolored complex carbohydrates have been making a comeback as many natural and health food stores expand their grain offerings. And they also deserve the hype: Whole grains are nutrient-dense powerhouses packed with iron, vitamins B and E, fiber, protein, and antioxidants. In addition, they have been suggested to reduce cholesterol and risk for heart problems, as well as to aid in weight maintenance. The truth is, quinoa and amaranth, so-called super-grains, contain all eight essential amino acids, making them excellent choices for vegetarians among others looking to bolster their diets with an increase of plant-based protein.

While this renewed interest stems from a health angle, Speck argues that people should think of these staples not merely as nutritional recipes supplements but in addition exquisite additions to our meals. "We only discuss whole grains as healthy. When it comes to them as something brings variety, texture, flavor, and color to your meals. I even refer to them as glamorous in my book because I want to highlight the beauty in the grains." So get familiar with whole grains by trying certainly one of Speck's delicious and exotic recipes below, and make use of an ingredient that can help your table any evening of the week.


Pair having a Protein

Although quinoa and amaranth on their own are high in protein, manganese, and antioxidants, other grains have to have a complementary pairing for optimal health and nutrients. Try serving them with meat, fish, eggs, soy, cheese, or nuts to produce both a tasty and satisfying meal, like perform in the recipe for Wheat Berry and Barley Salad with Mozzarella.

Mix Inside the Methods

Grains needn't be boiled to be edible. Toasting the grains brings forth a nuttier side. Test it with small grains like millet or buckwheat in vegetarian recipes that may benefit from added crunch. When coming up with Greek Millet Saganaki with Shrimp and Ouzo, though, Speck sticks to boiling. "For one, I favor its mildness and the comforting mouth feel, looked after blends nicely using the sweetness of the tomatoes. But this is the personal choice." If you need a more pronounced flavor without tenderness, simmer the grains inside a mixture of water, broth, and seasonings like peppercorns or possibly a laurel leaf.

Gluten-Free Grains

Are you a celiac foodie, or know of one? Don't despair; even you'll be able to partake in the grain awakening. Buckwheat, millet, rice, quinoa, and ever-popular oats are gluten-free. Speck adds that people who will be sensitive to certain kinds of refined starches also can sometimes enjoy ancient wheat varieties like farro, kamut, and spelt. But for the truly gluten-intolerant, it is best not to try them.

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