Different Grains!!

A nutritiously balanced diet includes a variety of foods. For example, try incorporating fruits and vegetables of every color into your diet on a weekly basis. Experiment with mashed cauliflower, bok choy and broccoli mixtures, fruit salads, and stuffed bell peppers. You can also choose from many types of beans such as kidney, lima, garbanzo, and black beans, as well as green split peas and lentils. Did you know that you can incorporate variety into your grains as well? Many people purchase refined white rice or white flour as their grain source. However, most of the nutrients are depleted during the refining process. Refined grains contain only the endosperm, consisting of starch and protein. On the other hand, whole grains contain the germ, endosperm, and the bran, which are packed with nutrients and fiber in addition to starch and protein.

This semester, I have started experimenting with different types of grains. I no longer automatically turn to rice for my stir-fries and burritos. There is a whole sea of different grains waiting to be discovered and used in the kitchen. More recently, my favorite grain is quinoa. It’s an herb that contains 50% more protein than rice. It is also a complete protein source, containing all of the essential amino acids needed in the diet. I use quinoa in salads with strawberries, almonds, and vegetables. It tastes fantastic in a mushroom, bell pepper, and onion stir fry! You can also use it to make vegetarian patties. The possibilities are endless!

Recently, we have started growing amaranth at the Campus Gardens. It is not technically a cereal grain, but it has nutritional properties very similar to grains. For instance, it is a good source of amino acids lysine and methionine. Lysine is usually absent in many grains. It is also gluten free, for those with a gluten sensitivity or intolerance. It is very easy to prepare amaranth. Try it in the recipe below:

Toasted Grain Pilaf

Description
Traditionally a Middle Eastern pilaf is made with white rice, but here we use a healthful grain, toasting it first to bring out its flavor, and mixing in aromatic vegetables to create a delicious, more nutritious dish.

Ingredients

2 cups millet, quinoa, amaranth or a combination
1/8 teaspoon curry powder (optional)
4 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock(more, as needed)
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (dried in a package, not in oil)
1/2 cup boiling purified water
1/2 cup shredded zucchini
1/2 cup shredded yellow summer squash
1/4 cup minced red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped scallions or green onions
Salt to taste

Instructions
Toast the millet (or other grains) in a large saucepan set over low heat, stirring it constantly until it turns a light brown color, less than 1 minute. Stir in the curry powder until it is blended in. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Add the chicken or vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer. Check after 20 minutes. If the stock has boiled away, add a little more. Cook until the millet has absorbed all the liquid, about 25 minutes in all.
Meanwhile, soak the dried tomatoes in the boiling water for 15 minutes. Drain them in a colander set over a bowl to reserve the liquid, then chop them. Mix the tomatoes, reserved liquid, zucchini, yellow squash, red pepper, and scallions or green onions together in a small skillet set over low heat and cook until most of the liquid is absorbed. Pour into the cooked grain and toss until everything is completely mixed together. Taste and add salt if you think it is needed. Fluff with a fork and serve.

recipe: http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/RCP02112/Toasted-Grain-Pilaf.html
other sources:
http://wholegrainscouncil.org/whole-grains-101/amaranth-may-grain-of-the-month-0
http://www.babymed.com/foods-to-improve-fertility

Alicia Richhart

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