A Whole New World of Whole-Grain Breakfasts

By now, most people know that increasing their intake of whole grains can help them reap more nutrients, lose weight, lower levels of "bad" cholesterol and support digestive health. But in the kitchen, some cooks find it hard to get excited about what can easily pass as boring piles of drab grains -- the likes of brown rice, oats, bulgur and amaranth. In her new book Whole-Grain Mornings, author Megan Gordon helps readers do just that.

A Seasonal Breakfast Book

Whole-Grain Mornings gives readers dozens of recipes categorized by seasonal trends and ingredients. Recipe sections are further divided into those that can be made on busy weekdays and those that are more labor-intensive.

Helpful introductory chapters and headnotes point out the natural variations of different whole grains and how the cooking times, yields and textures vary -- part of the beauty of these ingredients.

Readers will also find gluten-free grain options, charts explaining proper ratios of grains to cooking liquids, plus tips for grain storage (good news -- you can freeze cooked grains).

Recipe Highlights

Recipes feature a happy medium of butter and full-fat dairy, along with natural sweeteners and of course, whole grains; not because the author's intention was make any kind of nutritional recommendations, but because those are the ingredients she prefers.

Whole-grain creations are accompanied by delicious breakfast accompaniments like homemade yogurt, jams, nut milks and infused honeys. Gordon presents insightful takes on classics like pancakes, muffins and granola, plus culinary curveballs like "Quinoa Crunch" and a smoked salmon tart with a cornmeal-millet crust.

The hearty breakfast recipe here is a combo of whole grains, leafy greens and eggs.

Greens and Grains Scramble

(reprinted from Whole Grain Mornings)

This is the breakfast Sam and I probably eat most often regardless of the season. In truth, it's usually a dish we whip up as a late breakfast on weekdays when we're both working from home and most emails have been returned. It's wonderfully versatile and allows you to use up any leftover grains you have from previous meals, folding in leafy greens for a bit of color. In that sense, think of it more as a template rather than a hard-and-fast approach. Any leafy greens and most grains will work, although I veer away from small, delicate grains like amaranth because they can get lost in the dish.

Serves 2, heartily
4 large eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon milk
1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 green onion, white and light green parts, finely chopped 
(about 1 tablespoon)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 heaping cup / 240 ml well-packed chopped leafy greens (such as kale, Swiss chard leaves without ribs, 
or spinach)

1⁄2 cup / 120 ml cooked whole grains (wheat berries, farro, barley, or millet)

1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
Freshly ground black pepper
Flaky salt

Crusty bread, toasted English muffins, or warm corn tortillas, for serving

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and kosher salt; set aside. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the green onion and garlic and sauté until soft, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the greens, grains, and remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and sauté until the greens are wilted and the grains are warmed through, 3 to 5 minutes.

Decrease the heat to low and pour in the egg mixture, gently stirring to commingle them with the greens and grains. Continue stirring until they're softly scrambled, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the chives, and season with pepper.

Serve hot with a sprinkling of flaky salt on top, and crusty bread, toasted English muffins, or warm corn tortillas alongside.

Make It Your Own: Stirring in grated Parmesan cheese or a creamy chèvre is always nice. For a splurge in the late fall or early winter, I can't think of a much better way to begin the morning than cooking up a handful of chanterelles in a bit of butter and folding them into the eggs.

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. See Dana's full bio »

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