Cooking with Whole Grains

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Whole grains are being used more and more as an alternative to rice or pasta in salads, stuffings, and casseroles. They can also be added to soups, pilafs, or as a side dish. You can use the following chart as a one-stop reference guide to cooking the commonly available varieties. Please note that you should always rinse and drain the grains before cooking them. Grains will triple in volume once they have been cooked. 

Pilaf-Style: Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a medium dutch oven over a medium-high heat until it starts to shimmer. Stir in the grain and allow to toast until it has turned a light golden hue and has become fragrant. This will take about 3 minutes. Stir in the water and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Bring this to a simmer, reduce to low and cover and continue to simmer until the grains have turned tender and have absorbed all the water. Follow the cooking times as outlined below. Remove from the heat, allow to set for a full 10 minutes, and fluff with a fork before serving.

Boiled:  Bring your water to a boil in a dutch oven over high heat. Stir in the grain and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Return to a boil, then reduce the heat to a medium-low and simmer until the grains turn tender. Follow the cooking times below and drain.

COOKING TECHNIQUEGRAIN (1-Cup)FLAVORWATER (Cups)COOKING TIME (Min.)
Pilaf-StyleBulgur (Cracked Wheat)Wheaty116-18
MilletCorny2 1/425-30
QuinoaMild, Nutty116-18
BoiledBuckwheat Groats Nutty45
Bulgur (Cracked Wheat)Wheaty45
FarroMild, Earthy 415-20
Pearl BarleyNutty420-25
Rye BerriesRobust, Nutty445-50
SpeltRich, Sweet, Nutty445-50
Wheat BerriesSubtle, Nutty460