Why whole grains?
Whole grains offer so much more than a little extra fibre! We have chosen to focus our offer on whole grains because these humble foods are incredibly rich. A good whole grain may provide all the protein you need in a meal, not to mention a lovely balance of vitamins, minerals & other nutrients.
It seems a shame that typical refined white flour loses 80% of its nutrients – all the iron, thiamine & riboflavin; most of the niacin, folate & protein, and some vitamin E & B6, magnesium, zinc… the list goes on!
Further, whole grains contain more fibre causing us to digest the food more slowly, providing more sustained energy & less of an increase in blood sugar. Anyone accustomed to brown pasta will notice how much less full you feel after a plateful of the white stuff.
To take advantage of all that whole grains have to offer, try experimenting & enjoy the wide variety of nutrients, textures & most importantly flavours!
No gluten containing ingredients (NGCI):
Corn (polenta/maize), buckwheat, quinoa, amaranth, millet, rice, tapioca, teff, legume (bean, pea, chickpea, soya) flours and gluten-free oats. Not technically grains but great NGCI alternatives to flours are ground coconut and ground almonds.
Alternatives to wheat (not gluten-free):
Spelt, rye, oats, barley, einkorn
Similar to wheat (not gluten-free):
Durum wheat (pasta, semolina, often in couscous & bulgur)
Cooking with whole grains
Keep in mind it’s more art than science, so experiment with what works best! Some grains benefit from stock rather than water, or dry toasting/frying a little in the pan before you cook them for more flavour. Try these basic rules:
- Rinse grain until the water runs clear & put in a pan with cold water. Bring to a boil and add any preferred flavourings (salt, stock or spices)
- Cover & turn heat to low (don’t disturb!) until the liquid is absorbed.
- Turn off heat & let sit covered 5-10 minutes (don’t stir).
Amount for 1 part grain by volume, or any standard measure e.g. a mug
|Amaranth||2-3 parts||20-25 min||High in protein and minerals|
|Barley||3 parts||45min-1hr||Great in stews. Can be sprouted|
|Buckwheat||2 parts||15-20 min||Good to toast first|
|Bulgur (chewy)||2½ parts||1-2 min||& stand 30mins. Great in salads|
|Bulgur (fluffy)||2 parts||15 min||As a stuffing, side or pilaf|
|Couscous||1¼ parts||–||Add boiled water & stand 10min|
|Millet||1-1½ parts||20-30 min||Digestible & rich in iron|
|Quinoa||1½-2 parts||15-20 min||Try toasting for extra flavour|
|Polenta (pudd)||2-3 parts||15-20 min||Humble, versatile Italian fare|
|Polenta (cake)||1½-2 parts||5-10 min||Stir lots, cool, slice and fry!|
|Rice: Short||1½-2 parts||20-25 min||Great for rice pudding|
|Rice: Sushi||2½ parts||40 min||Soak first for 60 min|
|Rice: Long||2 parts||20-25 min||Fluffier, for pilaf and sides|
|Rice: Basmati||1½-2 parts||20-25 min||Fragrant long-grain rice|
|Rice: Jasmine||1½-2 parts||20-25 min||Thai aromatic long-grain|
|Rice: Red||2 parts||40-45 min||Nutty & chewy|
|Rice: Wild||3 parts||45-55 min||Tasty & nutty, lovely in salad|
|Spelt||3 parts||1-1½ hrs||Or soak 3-4hrs & cook 25min|
|Wheat Grain||2½-3 parts||30min-1hr||Use in salads, burgers or soups|