Katie's Healthy Bites: Spelt's Whole-Grain Goodness

Lately I've been feeling bored with traditional grains, so I've added spelt into my regular repertoire. If you haven't tried this nutritious, nutty and oh-so-satisfying grain, try it today! Here are some tips on buying, storing and, of course, cooking spelt.
105549404

105549404

Spelt pasta

Photo by: Borislav Marinic

Borislav Marinic

Lately I've been feeling bored with traditional grains, so I've added spelt into my regular repertoire. If you haven't tasted this nutritious, nutty and oh-so-satisfying grain, try it today! Here are some tips on buying, storing and, of course, cooking spelt.

Buying Tips

Before you purchase spelt, consider the recipe you’re making. For baked goods, pick up spelt flour. If your goal is to create a dish for a family meal, whole spelt berries are the way to go.

Spelt Storage

This grain stays at its peak when kept in an airtight container at a cool temperature. If you don’t plan on using it quickly, you can store spelt in the refrigerator to preserve its quality.

Cooking Techniques

There are many different ways to enjoy spelt, so don’t be afraid to try them all! It can be substituted in almost any recipe that uses a cooked grain, but it is key to remember all grains cook differently and recipe adjustments will likely be needed. To cook whole berries, first soak them overnight, drain and rinse, then cook the spelt for an hour in simmering water. Don’t panic if you forget to soak them overnight -- you can also cook them for an hour and a half or until the cooking liquid is absorbed.

For baked goods, spelt flour can be substituted for wheat flour in any recipe -- it yields a wonderfully nutty flavor.

A Few Ways to Use Spelt

Soups: Add cooked spelt instead of rice, barley, or quinoa (or be adventurous and add a mix!).

Salads: Cool and use as the base of a grain salads or a healthy and satiating addition to a green salad.

Side dishes: Works well as a pilaf.

Main dishes:Spelt pastas are available in many specialty stores. Just add your favorite sauce and a few veggies to complete the meal. Or, if you prefer, just increase the portion size of your side dish to make this into a meal. Spelt is a wonderful way to get nutrients such as fiber, protein, and some B-vitamins.

Baked goods: Spelt's nutty flavor is delicious in cookies, breads and more!  Substitute equal parts spelt flour in your favorite baked good.

Here is one of my all-time favorite spelt recipes:
Spelt Waldorf Salad
Yield: 10 servings
• 3 cups water
• 1 cup spelt berries
• 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
• 1 pink lady apple, diced
• 1 celery rib, sliced thin
• 1/4 cup red onion, diced small
• 1/2 cup dried cherries
• 1/4 cup dried cranberries
• 2 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
• 2 tablespoons fresh chives, thinly sliced
• 2 tablespoons fresh parley, chopped
• 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Katie Cavuto Boyle, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian, personal chef and owner of HealthyBites, LLC. See Katie's full bio »

Keep Reading

Next Up

Katie’s Healthy Bites: Beans, Beans, Good for Your Heart

Beans might get a bad rap, but they’re extremely good for you! An excellent source of complex carbs, protein and fiber, they’re also chock full of vitamins and minerals (calcium, potassium, B6 and folate to name a few). Here are some good summer recipes featuring white beans.

Katie's Healthy Bites: What is Spirulina?

What is spirulina and how can you add it to your diet?

Katie's Healthy Bites: What is Matcha?

Matcha is finely ground whole green tea leaves, traditionally used in Japanese tea ceremonies. Find out how you can use this nutrient-rich form of tea.

Katie's Healthy Bites: Healthier Hot Dogs

Can you eat hot dogs on a healthy diet? Here are our picks for the best brands and the most filling hot dog toppings.

Katie's Healthy Bites: Cooking with Quinoa

Dubbed “the gold of the Incas,” quinoa seed is treasured because of it's nutritive value. It has more protein than any other grain or seed and offers a complete protein, meaning it contains all the essential amino acids our bodies can't make on their own.

Katie's Healthy Bites: Heirloom Tomatoes

Few can resist taking a bite out of a fresh-picked local tomato, and now that tomato season is in full bloom, heirloom varieties are at their ripest.

Katie's Healthy Bites: Cooking for the Phillies

What you eat before you exercise is very important -- especially when you're a professional baseball player! After a season of cooking privately for several Philadelphia Phillies' players, I'm serving as the team's dietitian this season and providing healthy, delicious pregame meals. Read on for more tips about the makeup of the perfect pre-exercise meal, and get the recipe for one of the Phillies' meals.

Katie's Healthy Bites: A Taste of Greece

Here are two quick recipes that are recreations of what I savored in Greece -- just with a healthier spin. They are easy enough to serve for dinner any night of the week.