Revitalize your summer meal routine with ancient grains and seeds
July 24, 2017
Grains and seeds were a vital part of the food supply in ancient cultures. These ancient grains and seeds provide more fiber, protein, and phytonutrients (molecules that fight disease and inflammation) than most of their modern cousins. Current research reveals that they are packed with nutrients that reduce inflammation, promote satiety, and support healthy blood glucose, cholesterol and triglyceride levels. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3745769/
So, ancient grains and seeds are the perfect building block for satisfying and nutritionally balanced dishes that are guaranteed to add zest to your spring meal plan without adding inches to your waistline.
Here are some answers to frequently asked questions, and tips for cooking with ancient grains and seeds.
Which ancient grains contain the most protein? Quinoa and amaranth are complete proteins because they contain the amino acid lysine.
Chia or flaxseed? Both are rich in heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids and soluble fiber. However, due to its lignin-rich outer layer, flaxseed must be ground so the beneficial nutrients can be absorbed. Chia seed on the other hand can be eaten whole.
Are ancient grains economical? These are bang for your buck foods. Significantly cheaper than meat and fish, yet rich protein and phytonutrients that stave off chronic disease.
What is the right liquid : quinoa cooking ratio? 1.5 cups of flavorful cooking liquid to 1 cup of uncooked quinoa creates a slightly chewy and fluffy texture. For best results, bring to a boil, stir once, reduce the heat, cover and simmer 15 to 20 minutes. Let set covered for 10 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
Why does quinoa taste bitter? The thin outer skin contains saponins, phytochemicals with a bitter or soapy flavor. To eliminate the bitterness, rinse uncooked quinoa until the water runs clear. Another method is to toast uncooked quinoa in a dry skillet until fragrant.
Can I cook quinoa in a rice cooker? Yes, this is a no-fuss way to cook many grains. Simply follow your appliances instructions for cooking time and liquid ratio.
How do I make a balanced flavorful meal with ancient grains? Grain bowls are versatile dishes that can be ready in thirty minutes or less. To create this balanced meal, I add enough roasted or steamed vegetables to equal half the volume of cooked grains. Then I set out bowls of healthy toppings such as: hard boiled eggs, black beans, avocado slices, chopped nuts, fruit, extra virgin olive oil and lemon wedges so family and friends can build their own signature dish.