De-Mystifying Grains/Legumes: Part 1

So… you’re making some changes to your family’s meals.  You braved the crowded bulk section, and got a few scoops of protein-rich real food.  (Hooray!)  But now that you’re home, are you staring at it, wondering how to make it edible?  This week, I’ll be focusing on ideas for using a few basic grains.  Stop by next week for Part 2 for some great ideas on using legumes!  

Instead of being tempted to push it to the back of the cupboard, and set out the box of Mac & Cheese for tomorrow’s dinner (even if it is Annie’s), check out these links!  Here’s little help figuring out what to do with those new grains you brought home.  
Keep in mind, grains and legumes are wonderful at any meal.  They can replace boxed breakfast cereal, flimsy sandwich bread at lunches, or white flour biscuits at dinner.  Now, go turn those crunchy little “bird seed” granules into real sustenance! 
First Things First:
To make your grains more digestible, start a habit of soaking them overnight, before cooking them.  Add a tablespoon or two of lemon juice, whey, yogurt or kefir to your soaking water. Another benefit of soaking is that your grains usually don’t take much longer to cook than a packaged pasta, rice, or oatmeal!  (Who knew you could have healthy fast food?)  
At some point, I also suggest exploring sprouting the grains, but don’t overwhelm yourself! :) You may actually notice that some of your grains/legumes will start sending out little sprouts after soaking for awhile.  This is perfectly fine!  Just continue with your recipe.  
Remember, a little goes a long way.  Start small, or you may end up with leftovers for weeks! Once the grains/legumes start soaking, they will drastically expand.  
Quinoa 
(pronounced keen-wah)
It is important to rinse quinoa very well first!  It has an odd-tasting outer coating that needs to be removed.  Rinse well, soak overnight, and rinse again before cooking.  
Brown Rice
This is so much more nutritious than white rice!  

My absolute favorite rice recipe, that I use as a starting point for any recipe calling for cooked brown rice:  Basic Brown Rice
Millet
Yes, it is more than just bird food! 
Barley
As a child, the only time I had eaten this, was in vegetable soup.  What an epiphany when I realized it wasn’t just a soup ingredient!  
Barley Tabbouleh (this also incorporates soaked Bulgur!)
You know, if you write “Barley” enough, it doesn’t look like a word anymore.  Funny. 

Bulgur/Wheat Berries

Bulgur is cracked wheat berries.  Yes, you can do more with wheat than just make flour! After soaking bulgur overnight, you won’t need much cooking liquid.  
Steel-Cut Oats
These are also known as “Scotch” or “Irish” Oats.  
Cottage Cheese, Oats, & Berries (not a “recipe,” per se, but its description is below her exercise routine, above the berry photo)
Visit Tammy’s Recipes for more Kitchen Tip Tuesday ideas!  
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2 comments to De-Mystifying Grains/Legumes: Part 1

  • Sarah

    Hi Michele,
    Do you know if Basmati and Jasmine rices are considered brown rice?
    Your blog is a wealth of inspiration and I am thrilled to have found it.
    Thank you!
    Sarah

    [Reply]

  • Michele @ Frugal Granola

    Hi, Sarah,
    You can get both Basmati and Jasmine rice in brown or white. (So, look for brown rice!) :)
    Blessings,
    Michele

    [Reply]

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