50 Great Grains

Round out your dinner with these simple sides. 

Grains, Side Dish

Barley with Kale Pesto (No. 4)

1. Barley with Roasted Corn Toast 1 1/2 cups barley in butter in a saucepan over medium heat, 5 minutes. Add 3 cups water; bring to a boil. Cover; reduce the heat to low and cook until the liquid is absorbed, 20 to 30 minutes. Saute 2 chopped leeks and 2 teaspoons fresh thyme in olive oil over medium heat, 5 minutes. Add 2 cups frozen fire-roasted corn; warm through. Toss with the barley; season to taste

2. Barley with Mushrooms Cook 8 chopped bacon slices over medium-high heat until crisp. Add 3 cups chopped mixed mushrooms; cook until browned, 5 minutes. Make Barley with Roasted Corn (No. 1); toss in the bacon and mushrooms

3. Barley with Artichokes Cook 2 cups barley in salted water as the label directs. Brown one 9-ounce package thawed frozen artichoke hearts, 2 cups halved Peppadew peppers and 1 sliced garlic clove in 1/4 cup olive oil. Toss with the barley and 2 tablespoons chopped marjoram

4. Barley with Kale Pesto Cook 2 cups barley as the label directs. Puree 3 cups chopped kale, 1/2 cup each Parmesan and olive oil, 1/3 cup walnuts, 1/2 teaspoon each lemon zest and kosher salt, and a pinch of red pepper flakes in a food processor. Toss with the barley.

5. Barley with Carrots and Parsnips Toss 1 pound each sliced carrots and parsnips with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast at 425 degrees F until lightly browned, 30 minutes. Make Barley with Kale Pesto (No. 4); toss with the carrots and parsnips. Season with salt.

6. Slow-Cooker Polenta Bring 5 cups water, 2 1/2 cups milk and 2 teaspoons kosher salt to a simmer. Pour into an oiled 6-quart slow cooker. Whisk in 1 1/2 cups polenta (not quick-cooking) and add 1 rosemary sprig and 2 bay leaves. Cover and cook on low, stirring halfway through, 2 hours. Discard the rosemary and bay leaves; stir until smooth. Stir in 1 cup Parmesan, 1/2 cup mascarpone and 2 tablespoons butter; season to taste. 


7. Slow-Cooker Polenta with Mushrooms Make Slow-Cooker Polenta (No. 6). Brown 1 pound sliced oyster mushrooms in olive oil in a skillet over high heat, 7 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup chopped parsley; season to taste. Serve over the polenta and top with crumbled Gorgonzola.

8. Polenta with Pesto Bring 3 cups each water and milk, 2 teaspoons kosher salt and a few grinds of pepper to a simmer. Whisk in 1 1/2 cups quick-cooking polenta. Cook, whisking, until smooth, 5 minutes. Stir in 1 cup Parmesan and 3 tablespoons butter. Top with pesto.

9. Sweet Potato Spoonbread Bring 2 cups milk, 2 tablespoons each butter and brown sugar, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and a pinch of cayenne to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer; whisk in 1/2 cup cornmeal. Cook, whisking, until thickened, 2 minutes. Whisk in 1 cup canned sweet potato puree, 3 egg yolks and 1 teaspoon baking powder. Remove from the heat. Beat 3 egg whites to stiff peaks; fold into the batter. Transfer to a buttered 8-inch square baking dish; bake at 375 degrees F until puffed, 30 minutes.


10. Millet with Roasted Carrots Cut 1 pound small carrots in half lengthwise and slice 2 red onions into wedges; toss with olive oil, salt and 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary. Roast at 425 degrees F until tender, 30 minutes. Cook 2 cups millet in salted water as the label directs. Drizzle with olive oil; top with the vegetables.