GLUTEN-FREE WHOLE GRAINS
By Cindy Woodford, RD LN
Nutritionist, Yellowstone Naturopathic Clinic
You've heard that you should eat more whole grains but aside from wheat, what else is there?
There are hundreds of grains that are grown and cultivated every day. Here are a few that we find to be nutritious and easy to incorporate into meals. First, let's start out with the basics though:
Storing whole grains
Whole grains should be stored in airtight containers in either a cool, dry place or in the refrigerator. If you are going to keep them for quite a while they can even be stored in the freezer.
Rinsing whole grains
Just prior to cooking, rinse the grain thoroughly in cold water until the water runs clear. Strain them to remove any dirt or debris. Quinoa should be rinsed thoroughly 2-3 times to remove the saponin layer. Teff, buckwheat, and amaranth do not need to be rinsed prior to cooking.
(Optional) Reduce cooking time and save energy by soaking hard grains overnight, or for 6-8 hours. Cook them right in their soaking water.
GLUTEN FREE GRAINS
Amaranth - this tiny, yellow seed was a substantial food source for the Aztecs. The seeds are used in cereals or they are ground and used for flour. When Amaranth is cooked it has a crunchy, creamy texture, similar to that of cooked cornmeal. The seeds can also be popped like popcorn or toasted for a nutty flavor. Use in breads, cakes, soups, hot cereals, and grain dishes.
Nutritional advantages: Amaranth is rich is iron and a good source of fiber and calcium. It also contains small amounts of the B vitamins.
Preparation: grain to water ratio: 1 C to 3 C. Combine rinsed grain and water; add a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and simmer 25-30 minutes.
Buckwheat - this grain is native to Russia and is often thought of as a cereal. The flour of this grain is often used to make pancakes or baked goods. Buckwheat groats are the hulled, crushed, kernels of the grain. These are often cooked in a manner similar to that of rice. Groats come in course, medium, and fine grinds. Kasha is roasted buckwheat groats and it has a more toasty, nutty flavor. This grain can be used alone or with other grains, in pilafs and casseroles.
Nutritional advantages: Buckwheat contains small amounts of fiber, calcium, B vitamins, potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium.
Preparation: grain to water ratio: 1 C to 2 C. Combine grain and water; add a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and simmer 20 minutes.
Millet - this grain is crunchy and has a nutty yet mild flavor. This grain is very digestible and is often used by people on wheat-free diets. Serve with sautéed vegetables and beans, as a stuffing, or in soups, stews or pilafs. It is also used as a hot cereal and its flour is used to make puddings, breads, and cakes.
Nutritional advantages: Millet is high in thiamin and iron and also contains significant amounts of protein, fiber, and potassium.
Preparation: grain to water ratio: 1 C to 21/2 C. Combine grain with boiling water; add a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and simmer 20-25 minutes, remove from heat, fluff and let sit covered for 10 minutes. To increase the nutty flavor, toast millet in a pan without oil before boiling.
Quinoa (KEEN-wah) - this grain grows plentiful in South America and the Incas considered it "the mother grain". Quinoa is said to be the "supergrain" of the future and it contains more protein than any other grain. It is considered a complete protein as it contains all the essential amino acids. This grain is bead shaped and ivory colored and expands to four times its original volume. Its flavor is delicate and bland. It's available as a grain, ground into flour, and in several forms of pasta. Quinoa can be used alone or in soups, salads, meat and vegetable dishes, or even in puddings.
Nutritional advantages: Quinoa is a source of high quality protein, comparable to that of meat and eggs. It is also a good source of calcium!
Preparation: grain to water ratio: 1 C to 2 C. Rinse several times before cooking to remove bitter tasting coating. Combine grain and water; add a pinch of salt. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. To increase the nutty flavor, toast grain before cooking.
Teff - this small grain is native to Ethiopia. There are many varieties of teff but only brown, red, and ivory are grown in the U.S. Teff has a mild, slightly molasses flavor. Teff grain is dried for cooking into cereal or for grinding into flour. The flour can be used in crackers, tortillas, pancakes, muffins, and desserts.
Nutritional advantages: Teff is rich in iron, calcium, and potassium. It is also high in copper, zinc, protein, and insoluble and soluble fiber.
Preparation: grain to water ratio: 1 C to 3 C if baking in a 350 degree F oven or if steeping for 20 minutes. One cup of uncooked teff yields 2 cups of cooked teff.
Here are a few recipes to help you get started.
Quinoa Salad In A Flash
Preparation Time: 35-45 minutes
1 2/3 cups dry quinoa
3 1/3 cups water
pinch of salt
1 cup shredded carrots
¾ cups minced parsley or cilantro
1/3 cup sunflower seeds (or pumpkin seeds)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup lemon juice
3 Tablespoons olive oil
3 Tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
· Rinse quinoa with warm water and drain through a fine strainer.
· Place quinoa in a 3-quart pot with water and salt; bring to a boil.
· Turn heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
· Allow quinoa to sit on very low heat, uncovered, for an extra 5 minutes so it dries out.
· Toss quinoa with a fork and let cool.
· Add carrots, parsley, seeds, and garlic to quinoa; mix thoroughly.
· Combine lemon juice, oil, and soy sauce.
· Pour over quinoa and toss well.
· Garnish with sliced black olives or tomatoes cut into wedges if desired.
Warm Mediterranean Millet with Balsamic Marinade
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
3 Tablespoons fresh basil or cilantro
4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 cups cucumber, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup cherry tomatoes
¼ teaspoon sea salt
3 cups freshly cooked millet
· Combine lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil, garlic, sea salt, basil, and pepper. Blend in blender or mix vigorously by hand.
· Toss cucumber and tomato in marinade, then add warm cooked millet and mix well.