Whole Grains Article - Allrecipes.com
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Whole Grains

Move over, potatoes and pasta. Make way for spelt, wild rice, couscous, bulgur, brown rice, quinoa, and barley!


Barley is a mild-flavored grain often used to add thickness to stews and soups. Barley is also a great addition to casseroles with carrots, root veggies, and onions.

Pearled barley and hulled barley are the two most popular types. Pearled barley is milled barley, which takes 40 minutes to cook. Hulled barley--barley with its outer layer removed--is more nutritious than pearled but takes a full 90 minutes to cook.

Brown Rice

More nutritious than white rice, brown rice is one of the more familiar whole grains. Brown rice cooks in double the amount of water or broth and it needs to simmer for a full 45 minutes. Cook up a batch and store it in a container in the refrigerator for days when you don't have time to let it cook slowly.

Bulgur Wheat

Par-boiled cracked wheat--bulgur--cooks by rehydration. Simply pour twice the amount of boiling water or broth over dry bulgur and let it stand for about 30 minutes.

Bulgur wheat's greatest claim to fame is tabbouleh salad, but it's also a terrific substitute for ground beef. When cooked in vegetarian chili, for example, its texture becomes very similar to ground beef--but offers more fiber and far less fat.


Quinoa (keen-wa) has been growing in South American fields for centuries (the Incans loved quinoa so much they called it "the mother grain").

Commonly used in salads, soups, pilafs, and side dishes, quinoa has a wonderful nutty taste and aroma. It's a quick-cooking grain--done in 15 minutes in a saucepan filled with 2 cups water to 1 cup quinoa.

Whole Wheat

Chewy, nutty wheat grains make terrific side dishes and salads. Find farro (emmer wheat), spelt, or wheat berries in the healthy or bulk foods section of many grocery stores and health food stores. Soak the grains overnight for faster cooking. Use 2 cups water and 1 cup wheat, and cook it like brown rice.

Wild Rice

Wild rice is not really rice at all: it is the seed of a grass grown in Minnesota and Canada.

Wild rice has an assertive flavor that's delicious in soups and great paired with split peas or combined with other grains. It is one of the longer-cooking grains, using three to four times the amount of water or broth versus grain. The rice must simmer for a full 45 minutes to 1 hour before serving. The results are worth it!

Wild rice is harvested by hand, however, so it can be expensive.

Sep. 12, 2009 8:18 am
Great information, tyvm!
Apr. 25, 2010 4:13 pm
Excellent for providing grain water ratio and time. Thank you.
Jul. 19, 2010 9:34 am
Decided to eliminate carbs from my diet. Found carbs bloat me and add weight. This is a more natural, healthy alternative.
Jan. 10, 2011 2:07 am
Great article! Me and my family have recently decided to change to a vegan diet, and this article included all the new grains that we've been eating. I've been looking for new recipes to use them in, and this was very informative and helpful! Thanks!
Jan. 11, 2011 10:13 am
After losing weight, we decided to make a life-style change for our whole family. These recipes are perfect in doing this! Thank You:)
Jan. 12, 2011 10:07 am
Barley is a good substitute for white rice or noodles in soup and is lower on the glicimic (sp)list.
Jan. 13, 2011 4:25 am
So glad you posted this info. Whole grains are essential to the Daniel Fast and right now this is the info I needed!!!!!!!! Thanks
Jan. 13, 2011 10:37 pm
thanks for all the wonderful grain info! Another grain I've just started cooking with is Farro. It is delicious, I hope to see more recipes using this grain in the future.
Jan. 14, 2011 5:13 am
Just a side note-- Couscous is only whole-grain if you specifically purchase "Whole-Wheat Couscous" which is hard to find at most large chains. (Common in "upscale" grocery stores, though.) If you just purchase "Couscous", you're just eating cute, white-flour pasta.
May 8, 2011 5:52 pm
Actually, couscous is NOT white-flour pasta. Couscous is made from durum wheat semolina before it is ground. Semolina is the endosperm or heart of the durum wheat kernel -a hard wheat variety with very high gluten content and high protein to carbohydrate ratio. The grains of semolina are prepared in several steps including dampening the grains with handfuls of water and working them between the hands to break up clumps into ever smaller granules. It has a yellowish cast to it naturally from the amber color from the durum wheat. Whole wheat couscous is a whole different thing, made from other wheats. ref: from The Epicurean Table,© 2003 - 2006 www.epicureantable.com, Patricia Conant,columnist and food writer
Jul. 9, 2011 4:49 pm
great info, thanks for clarifying!
Dec. 15, 2011 11:53 am
Can you use brown rice instead of barley in a recipe? I need to use mushrooms and acorn squash before they get too old and I don't have barley or a chance to go to the store.... brown rice OK, you think?
Apr. 16, 2012 12:15 pm
I've just started trying to add a more diverse selection of whole grains into my diet. Very happy to see the recipes for things like Quinoa and Couscous. I will definitely be trying some of these soon.
Apr. 19, 2012 6:06 am
Thank you!!!!for all the great tips. I'm starting to appreciate wholesome good grains
May 4, 2012 9:25 pm
Being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes a couple years ago, one of my goals was to find out which foods were more beneficial & would help with my condition. Allrecipes.com is an excellent place for descriptions of different whole grains, suggestions for their uses, and recipes. In my past, grains were limited to oatmeal (rolled oats) and plain white rice. Allrecipes changed all that! Now I use quinoa, different varieties of rice, couscous and a variety of oats. Have also started making and eating whole-grain breads; not only has it helped with my blood sugar, but I find that my whole being feels better because now it’s getting the right kinds of foods.
Jan. 14, 2013 7:23 am
Thank you so much for the great info. We too are trying to add more whole grains to our diet and loving the change.
Jan. 18, 2013 9:21 am
HI my doctor said I needed to start eating healthy and lose weight I think this is a good place to start thanks:D
Oct. 23, 2013 6:31 am
i'm into grain & seed breads and healthy fruits and vegetables. all my recipes come from Allrecipes and put in my recipe box. I have been a type 2 diabetic for 40 yrs. and 85 yrs. old and I feel great. GEORGE
Apr. 17, 2014 1:52 pm
This information and recipes on whole grains were excellent. Perhaps something similar could be added for the greatest supergrain of all:freekeh.
Oct. 14, 2014 6:36 am
This article should not be recommended on a search for full liquid diet recipes. A full liquid or soft diet does not allow any whole grains. It's different as it only allows white bread, etc. If anyone else is struggling with figuring out variety on these diets, I would love to hear from you.
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