An almost guilt-free alternative to arborio rice (cook it as you would risotto) these polished, wholewheat grains have a chewy texture and, bonus, won’t go soggy in salads. In cold weather, it also makes for a comforting pudding simmered in milk with vanilla and brown sugar.
Parboiled and cracked into smaller bits, bulgur wheat cooks in a flash. Go the classic route and eat it hot in a pilau or cold in tabbouleh, or shake up the status quo by using it as an alternative pie crust.
Could there be any easier-to-cook alternative grain than good old couscous? We love the ground, pre-cooked wholewheat semolina nubbins for saving our bacon on those nights when we just can’t be bothered to wait for our rice to boil. To bump up the flavour, substitute the hot water with a good stock and stir through a knob of butter at the end.
This gluten-free starch is actually a seed. On top of making a great porridge (try soaking it in coconut milk overnight, then simmering until thick), it’s amazing as a salad base (cooked) and topper (pan-fried), not to mention a soup-stretcher. For added nutty flavour, toast it in a dry pan before cooking.
Pro tip: always rinse these starchy, protein-rich seeds under runnning water to get rid of any bitter flavours.
The trick to getting them fluffy, not stodgy, is to simmer, not boil, them for the indicated time, so they retain a bit of a bite. If you happen to have some left over, quinoa makes a great gluten-free filler for stuffings.