HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Other Whole Grains to Experiment With?!

  • d

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...

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Teff, sorghums, millets, amaranths, buckwheat, ...

    1. check out this thread for some great beef barley soup recipes http://www.chowhound.com/topics/442142

      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.

                    2. FARRO

                      My prep of the moment is farrotto.

                      1. Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking For Everyone briefly discusses grains and might be around.

                        Since I can't have wheat barley or rye (celiac), I use quinoa, millet, kasha fairly regularly. KAsha is roasted buckwheat and does have that buckwheat flavor to it. I find it fantastic with onions and cabbage, but my kids are ambivalent about it. They do like Millet. I make into a pilaf, and add stuff to it. My all time favorite was preserved lemons and olives. Millet cooks pretty unevenly so some is moist and some is crunchy. I like it, but my very texture sensitive husband is less sure. He doesn't like quinoa either because of the texture. I use sorghum and teff flour a lot, but haven't used the whole grain...

                        1. I have used wheatberries in a salad (a recipe from epicurious that is kind of a wheatberry Waldorf salad with celery and apples and I think a yogurt dressing.) We really liked that. But how is it hot as a side dish?

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: kary

                            i love wheatberries too. i think they are very tasty warm, like rice but with more substance. i often have them with a little olive oil and suateed zucchini and basil.
                            i also like them with tomatoes, feta, parsley, lemon juice.
                            they are so satisfying . . . even just with a little butter and salt they are so flavorful.
                            you just need to soak them before cooking. i leave them in the morning and cook them when i get home. they are pretty forgiving about the cooking - i've never overcooked them before.

                            1. re: pigtails

                              I recently made a wheatberry salad with chickpeas, toasted pinenuts, scallions, tomato, golden raisins, and tossed with a cilantro vinagrette - very good warm or cold

                              1. re: atlantanative

                                The Whole Foods in my neighborhood makes a wheatberry salad with shredded, sauteed kale, dried goji berries, red onion, and an olive oil type dressing. However, they don't sell wheatberries! I haven't been able to find them anywhere, and I've looked in many specialty and health food type stores. Where do you buy them?

                          2. If you can get your hands on an older edition of _La_Cucina_Italiana_ (USA version) there was a kick-ass issue with all sorts of whole grain goodness, mostly pasta. Excellent. I looked on their website, and not only did I not find any of that, it looked like their recipe search function isn't happening now for anything. Sorry that doesn't seem to be an option.

                            I am currently grooving on farro & wheat berries (same thing? different? I get confused) form Lynne Rosetto Kasper. Great stuff.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Mawrter

                              Oh Farro is magical. I'm eagerly waiting for summer when I can just eat farro, buffalo mozz and tomatoes all day long.

                              In the mean time, we eat a lot of Kuba, a Czech barley and mushroom dish that my husband and I had had on our honeymoon in Prague. I've patched a bunch of online recipes together and make it this way:
                              cook diced onions in olive oil
                              add minced garlic and cook for a minute
                              once browned, add barley, dried mushrooms, shake of marjoram, and cover with stock. Bring to a boil, cover and let simmer until barley is tender. Once tender, drain, and add some butter, salt and pepper. Transfer to ovenproof dish and bake at 375 until crusty. Serve with dill pickles and good beer.

                              1. re: relizabeth

                                On the topic of Farro, Lidia Bastianich did a recipe a few weeks ago using a simple tomato sauce of garlic, one can of peeled tomatoes and 1 tbsp capers, then adding cooked farro and italian tuna (the olive oil based stuff). I have made it several times and it is really simple and very good.

                            2. The first time i tried kasha, i was SO not impressed...it was for sure a texture thing..but then i tried this recipe and i love it:

                              KASHA VEGETABLE CASSEROLE:

                              These two recipes are on my "to make" list for this week:
                              WHEAT BERRY SALAD:


                              PUMPKINSEED QUINOA PILAF:

                              I have loads of recipes for bulgur pilafs, barley risottos, and others for quinoa and wheat berries. There is a recipe for a mushroom quinoa soup on the allrecipes site ( I think !!) I love these grains !!!

                              1. I really like millet a lot, it has a toasty almost buttery flavor. I originally bought it because it was cheaper than quinoa...you do toast it first in the pot and then add hot liquid. Also love kasha, hated it as a child, love it now. Would love to try amaranth...