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Oct 3, 2007 11:01 AM

Other Whole Grains to Experiment With?!

So I'm now adept at bulgar, quinoa, and any and every kind of whole wheat pasta (!), but I'd like to branch out...

Can anyone suggest other types of whole grains I should try (and include how to cook!) such as barley, etc? I almost always make some kind of whole grain with dinner - except when I bake sweet potatoes - and we're getting a bit bored, as the usual rotation is brown rice, bulgar, and different forms of whole wheat pasta (only make the quinoa for myself for lunches).

Open to any suggestions as I need all the help and advice I can get! Thanks in advance...

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  1. Teff, sorghums, millets, amaranths, buckwheat, ...

    1. check out this thread for some great beef barley soup recipes

      Also agree with buckwheat (aka kasha) - excellent side particularly as Kasha Varnishkes

      1. Barley is SO easy to cook, and easy to work with. It cooks the exact same way that you would cook brown rice. Barley is GREAT in a black bean and barley salad, can be fried, the way one would make fried rice, can be casseroled, the way one would with rice, can be cooked pilaf style, more or less....And it's got such a lovely nutty taste, taking to the addition of nuts and lentils, or mixing with other legumes. It is a firmer, toothier grain, and does not collapse as easily as rice does, but can be overcooked, too. I used plain boiled barley, recently, served with ratatouille, then reheated the barley and vegetables together for the next day. I'm thinking of making a slow cooker winter stew with barley added, replacing the white potatoes.


        5 Replies
        1. re: violabratsche

          Thank you! That is so helpful...

          There are different "types," though, right? I'm confused about the different levels of "wholeness," if you will. Maybe this applies to all grains, but I thought barley was one where the most refined kind is really no healthier than white rice. Is that true?

          Thanks for the tips and suggestions - much appreciated!

          1. re: DKS1

            According to this helpful chart, you want whole barley, not pearled barley. It's also interesting that of all the whole grains, brown rice is far less nutritious than wheat berries, amaranth, quinoa, etc.

            1. re: Chowpatty

              You might see it labeled "hulled barley," this is one of my favorite grains, it has a great texture. I cook it in the oven (bring water/broth to a boil, add barley, put in a 350F oven for 60-80 minutes) which makes it very easy.

              I tend to eat a lot of grain+legume salads with various roasted or sauteed veggies and maybe some feta or goat cheese.

              I love quinoa (toasted!) and also farro, which you might see labeled as spelt.

          2. re: violabratsche

            Substitute barley for rice in your favorite risotto dish. It may take a little longer to cook and a touch more liquid, but very good and healthy for you (at least that's what I tell my family).

            1. re: violabratsche

              I just bought bag of barley. Do you have a recipe for black bean and barley salad which sounds great!

            2. A great cookbook for those of us who are branching out into new grains is Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way by Lorna Sass. It's part reference (nutritional and basic cooking info on the various grains) and recipes. Lots of good ideas for using whole grains for various courses. I especially like the baking recipes--no white flour in anything including scones and muffins.

              Have you tried polenta or grits. They make a great side dish or base for a main dish. Whatever you might put on pasta, you can put over polenta. Polenta can be made soft like porridge or allowed to solidify and then cut into pieces and fried or broiled. Also you might want to try baking it casserole style--like lasagna. Check out Epicurious for two favorite recipes of mine: Polenta with mushroom ragout and Polenta black bean casserole.

              3 Replies
              1. re: JanRan

                Fantastic cookbook recommendation, Jan!. I just looked it up on Amazon and I plan to get it ASAP... I already love whole grains and always try to cook healthfully, but sometimes my creativity is desperately lacking.

                Thank you so much! (Who knew I could get so excited about such things?!)

                1. re: JanRan

                  There's also the just-published "With the Grain" by Raymond Sokolov. Full of interesting-sounding recipes such as "Chocolate Rice Cake," "Buckwheat with Wild Mushrooms and Walnuts," "Millet with Lemongrass and Shrimp," etc.

                  1. re: pikawicca

                    Yum - sounds really great. I'll have to check that one out, too! Thanks for the rec.

                2. Amaranth and kasha are two of my favorite grains. Some foods just make people feel good -- amaranth does that for me, and is delicious. I usually mix in with short grain brown rice or just eat it as a porridge.

                  Kasha is great in so many ways -- try it with small cubes of tempeh!

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Richard 16

                    I haven't heard of either of these two. I wonder if the Whole Foods bulk section would carries them? Where do you all usually find these grains?

                    I'm so excited by these great ideas - now just hoping I can find a way to prepare them all!

                    1. re: DKS1

                      Amaranth is available in health food stores and some supermakets, kasha is available in pretty much any place that has a kosher section. Kasha is usually available in fine and medium grinds and whole.

                      With many grains I like to dry pan roast until hot and add to the boiling liquid. It turns out a very fluffy product and cooks quickly -- but be sure to use a big pot as it boils up a lot.

                      You can also find amaranth flour in some stores.

                      1. re: DKS1

                        WFM carries both. Kasha is another name for buckwheat.