8 Tasty Ways to Get Your Whole Grains On

Food Network Kitchen's Cajun Splet For Whole Grains seen on Food Network

Photo by: Stephen Johnson ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Stephen Johnson, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Food Network Kitchen's Cajun Splet For Whole Grains seen on Food Network

Sure, we love digging into brown rice bowls and plumping up our vegetable soups with barley, but there’s an array of other (sometimes obscure) good-for-us whole grains — from spelt to farro — we should be eating on the regular. Don’t overlook these nutritious alternatives hiding in grocery store bulk bins.

Spelt

Tracing its roots back to circa-5000 or 6000 BC Iran, tough-husked spelt is laden with protein and fiber. In flour form it makes an apt substitute for whole wheat, leading to delightfully fluffy loaves of bread. But in this recipe, the nutty kernels get the New Orleans treatment, mingling with the likes of Cajun seasoning, Canadian bacon, green bell pepper and garlic.

Food Network Kitchen's Chili Bean Burger Cakes For Whole Grains as seen on Food Network

Photo by: Stephen Johnson ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Stephen Johnson, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Food Network Kitchen's Chili Bean Burger Cakes For Whole Grains as seen on Food Network

Bulgur

Bulgur, the parboiled and cracked Middle Eastern grain, most often stars in refreshing salads. In these chile powder, cumin and cayenne-spiked cakes, they acquire a falafel-like quality, melded with kidney beans, and, for a Mexican flourish, sour cream, shredded cheese and lime zest.

Food Network Kitchen's Coconut Curry Wheat Berries For Whole Grains as seen on Food Network

Photo by: Stephen Johnson ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Stephen Johnson, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Food Network Kitchen's Coconut Curry Wheat Berries For Whole Grains as seen on Food Network

Wheat Berries

Give chewy wheat berries a good overnight soak, then add these sweet, nutty whole kernels to an Indian-inspired mélange of coconut milk, curry powder, currants and cashews served over basmati rice.

Food Network Kitchen's Mexican Green Quinoa For Whole Grains as seen on Food Network

Photo by: Stephen Johnson ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Stephen Johnson, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Food Network Kitchen's Mexican Green Quinoa For Whole Grains as seen on Food Network

Quinoa

Reverence for quinoa has been long, first making an impression during the heady days of the Incan Empire. Washing the gluten-free superfood before cooking is an essential nuisance — it’s the only way to alleviate an unappealing soapy taste — but its versatility leads to infinite preparations, like this homage to Mexico made with spinach, cilantro, jalapeno and Cotija cheese.

Food Network Kitchen's Corn and Oat Risotto For Whole Grains as seen on Food Network

Photo by: Stephen Johnson ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Stephen Johnson, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Food Network Kitchen's Corn and Oat Risotto For Whole Grains as seen on Food Network

Oats

Typically, we savor our steel-cut oats in a comforting bowl of morning gruel (or in a toothsome cookie). It turns out they also add earthy heft to risotto, like the one in this recipe, which unites them with freshly shucked corn, Parmesan and dill.

Food Network Kitchen's Kamut Marinara for Whole Grains as seen on Food Network

Photo by: Stephen Johnson ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Stephen Johnson, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Food Network Kitchen's Kamut Marinara for Whole Grains as seen on Food Network

Kamut

You can call it Khorasan wheat — named after a region in Afghanistan — but these kernels, twice the size of everyday wheat, are better known by its trademark name, kamut. The high-protein grain, once relegated to cattle feed status, makes for a great salad, or less predictably, a base for this crushed plum tomato marinara sauce with extra virgin olive oil, fresh basil and a dusting of Parmesan.

Food Network Kitchen's Toasted Millet Tabbouleh for Whole Grains as seen on Food Network

Photo by: Stephen Johnson ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Stephen Johnson, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Food Network Kitchen's Toasted Millet Tabbouleh for Whole Grains as seen on Food Network

Millet

Bulgur usually steals the show in the beloved Middle Eastern side dish, tabbouleh. Instead, shake it up with millet, the delicate, fiber-rich grain that paves the way for downy rice dishes and creamy porridges. Brightened with lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil, this version is strewn with Persian cucumbers, radishes and scallions.

Food Network Kitchen's Farro Fried Rice For Whole Grains as seen on Food Network

Photo by: Stephen Johnson ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Stephen Johnson, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Food Network Kitchen's Farro Fried Rice For Whole Grains as seen on Food Network

Farro

After making frequent cameos in salad and risotto, the chewy Italian grain, faro, finds new life as “rice” in this vibrant Asian stir-fry with fresh ginger, bean sprouts and toasted sesame oil.

Alia Akkam is a New York-based writer who covers the intersection of food, drink, travel and design. She launched her career by opening boxes of Jamie Oliver books as a Food Network intern.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Get Your Whole Grains from Pasta

Monique Volz, from Ambitious Kitchen, joins us each Friday in May to recap her week in our Healthy Every Week Challenge. This week's goal: eat more whole grains.

15 Ways to Use Up Whole-Grain Bread

It's heartbreaking to throw away day-old bread. Happily, there's salvation for that scrumptious loaf of goodness.

Healthy Whole Grains

Take advantage of the nutrients in these wholesome grains.

Whole-Grain Flours

Using the right flours is the key to delicious and wholesome baked goods.

The Veggie Table: How to Get More Whole Grains in Your Diet

It's easier than you think to sneak whole grains into every meal of the day.

What Is a Whole Grain?

Trying to find healthy and delicious recipes? Food Network makes that easy with their collection of low fat, low calorie and low carb recipes.

Selecting and Storing Whole Grains

Buy and keep the healthiest and tastiest grains for your favorite recipes.

Grain Salad 5 Ways

Shake up your summer sides. Couscous, quinoa, bulgur, brown rice and wheat berries are just some of the grains widely available in markets. Give these 5 grain-filled recipes a try.

Food Label Savvy: Whole-Grain Crackers

You need a degree in nutrition to make sense of food labels. We’re putting our expertise at work to help clear up some of the confusion. First up, we’re taking on the snack aisle – here’s what you should look for when buying whole grain crackers.