Guilt-free grains and how to use them

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Guilt-free grains

While wheat will forever make our hearts beat a little faster (bread and pasta, how we love thee), we’d be lying if we said we weren’t excited by all the alternative grains making gains on shelf. Here’s how we’re using them.

Pearl barley

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.

Kale-and-barley bowl with poached egg recipe

Try this kale-and-herb barley bowl with poached egg (pictured above) here.

Bulgur wheat

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.

Pomegranate molasses chicken with bulgur wheat salad recipe

Try this pomegranate molasses chicken with bulgur wheat salad (pictured above) recipe here.

Wholewheat couscous

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.

Guilt-free grains

Try the herby couscous-stuffed tomatoes and peppers (pictured above) recipe here.


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.

Guilt-free grains


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.

Quinoa beetroot bowl recipe

Try the quinoa beetroot bowl recipe (pictured above) here.

Browse more of our quinoa recipes here.

Discover more features here.

TASTE Article by: TASTE

The TASTE team is a happy bunch of keen cooks and writers, always on the look out for the next food trend or the next piece of cake.

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