Whether you’re gluten-free or just want to try something new, there are many alternative grains out there that taste good and offer up loads of nutrition. If you have celiac disease or are gluten intolerant, these grains can be a life saver when you want to prepare yummy meals that won’t make you sick. Their health benefits also make them ideal for anyone who wants to eat a nutritious diet. Look for alternative grains at supermarkets everywhere.
Amaranth is one of the alternative grains that is relatively easy to find. It has a nutty flavor that makes it wonderful for adding to vegetable or beef soup. You can also toss it into cooked cereal to ramp up the nutrient content and create a yummy new flavor combination. Amaranth flour can be used as a substitute for wheat flour when you’re baking. You’ll load up on protein, fiber, B vitamins and iron when you eat amaranth.
2. Wild Rice
Not only does wild rice have protein and fiber, but it has a pleasing color and texture that pairs well with chicken, beef and fish. It works great in salads and pilafs too. It also adds bulk to soups and stews. Sub wild rice anytime you would serve steamed rice for a new and tasty twist on your favorite recipes.
Quinoa is super trendy these days, and for good reason. It’s versatile and you can use it in so many ways, you won’t even miss the wheat in your diet. Cook it like you would rice and serve it as a side dish. You can also cook it and toss it in salads and pilafs. Quinoa flour is great for baking with and making homemade pasta too. Use quinoa as a cooked cereal or as a substitute in rice pudding. In addition to protein and fiber, quinoa also has potassium and magnesium.
Flax is an ideal source of omega-3 fatty acids, which offer protection from heart disease. Grind flax and mix it in the batter of your favorite baked goods or sprinkle it on oatmeal or breakfast cereal. You can also add flax to smoothies, meatloaf and meatballs. It won’t change the flavor, but you’ll load up on important nutrients with very little effort.
Millet is an ancient grain that contains magnesium and protein, two nutrients that play a vital role in your overall health. Millet has a nutty flavor that you can really enhance by toasting the grains before cooking with them. Once they’re toasted, cook the grains in boiling water until they fluff similar to steamed rice. Use the millet in pilafs combined with herbs and vegetables.
That’s right – you can’t really count corn as a vegetable. But, it’s a versatile grain you can do a lot with. In fact, popcorn is considered a whole grain, which means it’s good for you. Corn has lots of vitamin C, folate, fiber and B vitamins. Cook corn as a side dish, or use cornmeal in place of flour when you make fried chicken or mix it into meatloaf in place of breadcrumbs. Corn bread is a yummy recipe to serve with chili, steak or as a hearty snack.
Despite its name, buckwheat isn’t actually wheat. You can, however, use buckwheat flour as a one to one substitute for wheat flour when you’re cooking. That makes it a great choice for bread and pasta, though it does have a different flavor than traditional versions. Buckwheat can also be used to make a hot cereal similar to oatmeal. It offers up potassium, fiber and protein.
Have you ever tried any of these alternative grains? Which one do you think you’ll buy next time you get groceries?