The world of grains and legumes is so much bigger than rice and beans, which leaves all of us with a dizzying amount of choices when it comes to meal planning these days. If you’ve ever wondered why quinoa is so darn popular, if lentils are good for the planet, and why Farro might be starting to outshine the Egyptian pyramids, we’ve got rundown for you. Here are 3 of our favorite grains* to cook with and some ideas for making them delicious!
*Okay, while technically quinoa is a seed and lentils are a pulse, we’re including both of them in this round up since they fall under the category of “filling bases for my produce that I can make in under a half hour.” In our shared enthusiasm for putting dinner in the table, we hope you’ll cut us some slack.
What it is: The whole grain of the wheat plant, originally from the Middle East.
Why you should cook with it: Farro is hearty and filling, tastes nutty and sophisticated, and is very easy to cook.
What can you do with it: Add it to soups, hearty stews, or use it as the base of a salad.
What it pairs well with: Mediterranean flavors like garlic, parmesan, tomato paste, and thyme, and hearty veggies like mushrooms, kale, and cauliflower.
Friendly tip: Farro is the opposite of gluten-free since it’s quite literally the essence of wheat.
Recipe to try tonight: Farro salad with cucumbers and tomatoes
What it is: A small but mighty seed originally from the Andes mountains of South America.
Why you should cook with it: Besides being packed with protein, fiber, and more awe-inspiring minerals than the hippest crystal shop in town, quinoa cooks in 20 minutes and is incredibly versatile.
What can you do with it: Make a grain bowl, throw it in a salad, or use it to stuff bell peppers.
What it pairs well with: Vegetable broth, chilis, coconut milk, carrots, lemon juice.
Friendly tip: Like rice, it’s best to rinse your quinoa before cooking it.
Recipe to try tonight: Quinoa with spring vegetables
What they are: One of the oldest legumes grown by humans, originally from West Asia.
Why you should cook with them: They’re affordable, versatile, and also one of the most eco-friendly grains since they provide a ton of protein while requiring relatively little water to grow.
What can you do with them: Make a curry, add them to soup, or use them as the hearty base of a veggie burger.
What they pair well with: Bay leaves, cumin, onion, garlic, parsley, vinegar.
Friendly tip: If you have time, soak your lentils for a few hours before cooking, since this will help them cook faster.
Recipe to try tonight: Lentil salad with roasted vegetables
We hope this overview helped shed some light on the exciting world of grains, legumes, & beyond!. Keep an eye out for ingredients like this the next time you customize your Imperfect box!