Great Grains

Know your quinoa from your millet, and how to use them

Don’t start reading the post with an “oh I don’t eat grains cause I gain fat”. Such a myth!! Whole grains have been a central element of the human diet since early civilization. They’re an excellent source of nutrition, as they contain essential enzymes, iron, dietary fiber, vitamin E, and B-complex vitamins. Because the body absorbs grains slowly, they provide sustained and high-quality energy.

Pearl Barley

Because the hull and some of the barley bran needs to be removed to make it edible, it’s not strictly characterized as a whole grain. Still, it’s loaded with fiber and nutrients. Barley has a chewy texture and slightly sweet taste. It’s most commonly used in soups. But it’s also a good substitute for potatoes in beef or chicken stews.


Soba noodles and even French crepes are all traditionally made with buckwheat flour, made from seeds. Buckwheat pancakes are another familiar dish featuring this nutritious whole grain. For home cooks, buckwheat has the advantage of being quick and easy to prepare.

Cooking tips: Use 1.5 cups of water per 1 cup of buckwheat. Simmer for 10 minutes.


Made of wheat kernels that have been boiled, dried and cracked, bulgur has a sweet, nutty flavor. It’s a tasty alternative to rice in many dishes, including pilafs and stir-fries.

Cooking tips: Bulgur can be boiled for about 10 minutes or soaked in boiling water for 30 to 40 minutes. Use 2.5 cups of water to 1 cup of grains.


Very high in protein, millet is a tiny grain that’s widely used in India and Africa. Depending on how it is prepared, millet can have the texture of light fluffy rice or mashed potatoes. In fact, millet combines beautifully with quinoa, since both require the same amount of cooking.

Cooking tips: 1.5 cups of water to 1 cup of grain. Simmer, covered, for 25 to 30 minutes for a light, fluffy rice-like texture. For a dish with the consistency of mashed potatoes, stir frequently while the grains cook, adding water as needed.


Keen-wah! It’s a small round seed that cooks quickly. It’s perfect as a substitute for rice, as a side dish or in soups and stews. Quinoa also combines well with other grains, especially millet.

Cooking tips: Rinse the grains to remove bitterness. Use 1.5 cups of water to 1 cup of quinoa. Simmer 25 to 30 minutes.


Also known as farro, this slightly sweet and earthy-flavored grain is a variety of wheat. You’ll find it in whole grain breads and cereals. Spelt is also available ground into flour.

Cooking tips: 1.5 cups of water to 1 cup of grain. Simmer 50 to 60 minutes. Spelt flour can be used as a substitute for wheat flour. Reduce water by 25%.


You can find all of the above grains in some more specific supermarkets & food stores, and in all bio-markets and healthy food stores/ eateries! Btw I swear by their name 😉


Big Kiss