Though they’ve been eaten in many regions for centuries, ancient grains are a more recent phenomenon in U.S. kitchens. It’s time to catch up with the rest of the world, guys.
Ancient grains are so named because they were first lost during culture exchange or through environmental causes. Black rice, for example, originates from China, where it was traditionally only served to the Emperor. Once the last Chinese dynasty fell, it was no longer off limits to the general public, reintroducing it to the world.
You can now find ancient grains like quinoa, bulgur, barley, amaranth and millet in most grocery stores. These time-tested plants offer many health benefits, such as helping prevent heart disease and high blood pressure. Most are also high in fiber and protein.
Though we often limit our grain intake to oats, corn, rice and wheat, you can add variety to your diet by including ancient grains. Chef Jeff came up with a few simple recipes to help you incorporate ancient grains into your meal tonight.
Farro & Quinoa Tabbouleh
Tabbouleh is a light and refreshing side that’s extremely easy to prepare! Farro, a main ingredient, is also a great source of protein (especially if beans aren’t your thing).
1 cup cooked farro
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 cup diced tomato
2 oz. chopped mint
2 oz. chopped parsley
½ tsp minced garlic
½ cup olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup diced cucumber
1 cup sliced black olives
Simply toss ingredients together in a mixing bowl and adjust seasonings if necessary.
Stir Fried Black Rice
This isn’t your average stir-fry. Black rice, actually dark purple when cooked, adds color to your plate and is loaded with anthocyanin antioxidants.
1 cup forbidden rice
1 ¾ cups chicken broth (or water)
2 tbsp sesame oil (or vegetable oil)
¼ cup onion, diced
½ cup bell pepper, diced
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 egg, whisked
1 tablespoon scallion, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted (optional)
1. Cook rice according to package. Set aside and keep warm.
2. In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté onion, pepper and garlic in oil until onion is translucent.
3. Add egg to vegetables and scramble until almost cooked.
4. Increase heat to medium-high. Add rice to vegetable mixture and stir-fry until heated through, approximately 10-15 seconds.
5. Remove from heat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Top with scallions and toasted sesame seeds, if desired. Enjoy!