I love Whole Grains and I can’t hide it. I like the texture; I feel better when I eat them. I get full faster and stay full for a longer time avoiding unnecessary snacks. My body works more regularly because of the fiber they contain. So it’s a win/win situation.
I am not a very big fan of rice so I love substituting rice in most of my dishes with any  whole grain.

And they are very versatile to use. You can make a big batch and use them for all sorts of easy meals, including bowls, fried rice, soups, grain salads, burritos, etc.

But for most people whole grains are too complicated to cook, takes too much time, are to hard to chew, I’ve heard all kind of reasons why not to eat them.
But the truth is that cooking them is not so difficult. You need to adjust the water to grain ration and cooking times and that’s it. If you have a rice cooker, is way much easier, but you can also cook them on the stove and some of them, even in the oven.

I recently came across an online article from www.eatingwell.com that simplifies the benefits of some of the most popular whole grains such as for barley, brown rice, bulgur, farro, millet, quinoa, spelt, and wild rice.

And describes how to cook some the—including cooking times, liquid ratios and nutrition information.

 

Grains are also rich in carbohydrates-which are the body’s main fuel supply so we need a fair amount daily (despite what low-carb/no-carb gurus say). The key is to keep portions moderate and skew strongly to whole-grain versions as often as you can. You’ll feel fuller longer, since their fiber takes longer to digest. And once you’ve made the transition to whole grains, you might find that you prefer their robust flavor to that of their refined counterparts.

The first place to look for whole grains, especially more common ones like bulgur and barley, is near rice at most markets. Less common grains can be found in the bulk bins at well-stocked supermarkets and natural-foods stores. Here are some shopping tips, basic prep and cooking instructions for nine whole grains.

How to Cook Barley

 

This grain is great in salads, pilafs and many recipes that are usually made with rice.
It is available in most supermarkets and in two different ways “pearl” barley and “quick-cooking” barley.

To cook pearl barley:

Bring 1 cup pearl barley and 2 1/2 cups water (or broth) to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer; cook, covered, until tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, 40 to 50 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes. Makes 3 to 3 1/2 cups.

Pearl barley nutrition facts per 1/2-cup serving:

97 calories; 0 g fat (0 g sat, 0 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 22 g carbohydrate; 2 g protein; 3 g fiber; 2 mg sodium; 73 mg potassium.

To cook quick-cooking barley:

Bring 1 3/4 cups water (or broth) to a boil; add 1 cup quick-cooking barley. Reduce heat to a simmer; cook, covered, until tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Makes 2 cups.

Quick-cooking barley nutrition facts per 1/2-cup serving:

86 calories; 1 g fat (0 g sat, 0 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 19 g carbohydrate; 3 g protein; 3 g fiber; 2 mg sodium; 64 mg potassium.

How to Cook Brown Rice

Any recipe that can be made with white rice can also be made with brown rice. Brown rice has been minimally processed, just enough to sort and remove the inedible outer husk, leaving the nutritious outer bran layer intact. You can find brown versions of most types of rice, including short-, medium- and long-grain, jasmine and basmati.

To cook brown rice:

Bring 1 cup brown rice and 2 1/2 cups water (or broth) to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, 40 to 50 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork. Makes 3 cups.

You can also find “quick-cooking” or “instant” brown rice, which is ready in 5 to 10 minutes. Follow cooking instructions on the package.

Brown rice nutrition facts per 1/2-cup serving:

108 calories; 1 g fat (0 g sat, 0 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 22 g carbohydrate; 3 g protein; 2 g fiber; 5 mg sodium; 42 mg potassium.

How to Cook Bulgur

 Classic uses for burglar are tabbouleh, but also meatloaf and even dessert. Bulgur is available in fine, medium and coarse textures. (If it’s not labeled, it’s usually fine or medium.) Unless a recipe calls for a specific texture, any type can be used. Don’t confuse bulgur with cracked wheat, which is simply that-cracked wheat. Cracked wheat must be cooked for up to an hour; bulgur is cracked wheat that’s been parboiled so it simply needs to soak in hot water for most uses.

To cook bulgur:

Bring 1 cup bulgur and 1 1/2 cups water (or broth) to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, 10 to 15 minutes. (Or pour 1 1/2 cups boiling water (or broth) over 1 cup bulgur. Let stand, covered, until light and fluffy, about 30 minutes. If all the water is not absorbed let the bulgur stand longer, or press it in a strainer to remove excess liquid.) Makes 2 1/2 to 3 cups.

Bulgur nutrition facts per 1/2-cup serving:

76 calories; 0 g fat (0 g sat, 0 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 17 g carbohydrate; 3 g protein; 4 g fiber; 5 mg sodium; 62 mg potassium.

How to Cook Farro, one of my favorites!!!

Farro has a satisfying chewy texture and nutty flavor. It can be used in baked goods, soups and risottos and is particularly good in make-ahead salads-like this packable turkey and farro salad-because it holds its shape and doesn’t become mushy.

To cook farro:

Bring 3 cups water (or broth) and 1 cup farro to a boil. Stir, reduce heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until tender, 15 to 25 minutes. Drain. Makes 3 cups.

Farro nutrition facts per 1/2-cup serving:

111 calories; 1 g fat (0 g sat, 0 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 23 g carbohydrate; 4 g protein; 3 g fiber; 0 mg sodium; 139 mg potassium.

How to Cook Millet

If you are looking for a gluten-free grain alternative to quinoa, give nutty-tasting millet a try in salads, and fillings for stuffed peppers. Millet is sold hulled: the outer husk has been removed, leaving the grain-tiny yellow balls-intact. Toasting millet in a large dry skillet over medium heat for 4 minutes before cooking helps it retain its shape.

To cook millet:

Bring 2 1/2 cups water (or broth) to a boil; add 1 cup millet. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Makes 3 cups.

Millet nutrition facts per 1/2-cup serving:

104 calories; 1 g fat (0 g sat, 0 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 21 g carbohydrate; 3 g protein; 1 g fiber; 2 mg sodium; 54 mg potassium.

How to Cook Quinoa

Quinoa is a delicately flavored grain that was a staple in the ancient Incas’ diet. It has a mild flavor and cooks quickly, so it’s the ideal base for salads, pilafs, stir-fries and grain bowls and salads. Rinsing removes any residue of saponin (quinoa’s natural, bitter protective covering). Toasting the grain before cooking enhances its flavor..

To cook quinoa:

Bring 2 cups water (or broth) to a boil; add 1 cup quinoa. Cover and simmer until all the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Use a fork to fluff and separate the grains. Makes 3 cups.

Quinoa nutrition facts per 1/2-cup serving:

111 calories; 2 g fat (0 g sat, 0 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 20 g carbohydrate; 4 g protein; 3 g fiber; 6 mg sodium; 159 mg potassium.

How to Cook Spelt

Spelt is a cereal grain with a mild nutty flavor and a relatively high protein content. Spelt flour is used in baking, and whole -grain spelt can be used just like farro and other sturdy whole grains in grain salads, bowls and pilafs.

To cook spelt:

Bring 2 cups water (or broth) to a boil; add 1 cup spelt. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until tender, about 1 hour. Makes 3 cups.

Spelt nutrition facts per 1/2-cup serving:

123 calories; 0 g fat (0 g sat, 0 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 18 g carbohydrate; 5 g protein; 4 g fiber; 5 mg sodium; 139 mg potassium.

How to Cook Wild Rice, another one of my favorites!!!

 Wild rice, a staple of Native Americans in Minnesota, is not a rice at all, but rather the only aquatic-derived grain native to North America. But even if it’s not actually rice, it’s a wonderful stand-in or mix-in for plain rice in all sorts of recipes. Its toothsome texture makes it a welcome addition to casseroles such as this creamy chicken, mushroom and wild rice casserole recipe.

To cook wild rice:

Add 1 cup wild rice to a large saucepan of lightly salted boiling water (use at least 4 cups water); cook until tender, 45 to 55 minutes. Drain. Makes 2 to 2 1/2 cups.

You can also find “quick” wild rice-a whole-grain rice that cooks in less than 30 minutes-or “instant” wild rice that’s done in 10 minutes or less. Follow cooking instructions on the package.

Wild rice nutrition facts per 1/2-cup serving:

83 calories; 0 g fat (0 g sat, 0 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 18 g carbohydrate; 3 g protein; 1 g fiber; 2 mg sodium; 83 mg potassium.

Based on the article “Whole Grain Cooking Guide” by Eating Well Magazine 
https://www.eatingwell.com/article/7902488/grilled-mini-burgers/?did=640072-20210602&utm_campaign=nourish_newsletter&utm_source=eatingwell.com&utm_medium=email&utm_content=060221&cid=640072&mid=58944542768

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