Ancient grains may be, well, ancient—but they’ve also never been more popular. From foodies (they made Culinary Forecast’s top 20 food trends of 2015 list) to fast-foodies, these old-school grains are experiencing Beyoncé-level status in the food world.
How come? Unprocessed foods are becoming more sought after, and the nutrient-dense grains are less refined than their more modern counterparts. Plus they release their energy slowly, keeping you feeling full (we mean that in a good way) and fueled all day long. That ancient grains are often gluten-free and protein-packed is an added bonus.
Want to test drive a few in your kitchen? Below, we’ll introduce you to your soon-to-be pantry staples and suggest some delicious ways to add ancient grains to your meals. After all, if they’ve made it this long, we don’t think they’ll be going away anytime soon. —Willa Tellekson-Flash
You’ve undoubtedly heard of quinoa, the protein-dense and fibrous grain that fights migraines and boosts energy. (Remember when the UN declared 2013 International Year of Quinoa?) It’s a favorite among big-name chefs… and now, even your grandma knows how to pronounce it.
Try: Eggy Quinoa Pizza, Charred Romaine Greek Salad with Quinoa-crusted Feta, Roasted Vegetables with Quinoa, Quinoa, Sweet Potato, and Walnut Veggie Burgers, or make Vanilla Quinoa Milk
Kaniwa is quinoa’s up-and-coming gluten-free cousin. Beyond its eerily similar sounding name, the grain is just as rich in protein, but has four times the iron of quinoa. The best part? You can easily substitute kaniwa for quinoa in all your favorite recipes.
Egyptian pharaohs and Roman legions supposedly dined on farro. Like its fellow ancient grains, this one is high in protein and fiber, as well as health-boosting vitamins and antioxidants.
Try: Farro Health Bowl or Organic Mixed Whole Grain Salad
Barley may not be quite as chic as some of the other ancient grains (seriously, can someone please give it its very own Instagram meme?), but its affordability makes it an attractive option if you’re on a budget.
Try: Lemon-Soy Edamame Barley Bowl
Freekeh sounds more like a dance move than a superfood, but the green wheat—which resembles a long-grain rice—is packed with protein, vitamins, and minerals, not to mention double the fiber of quinoa.
Try: Curried Freekeh with Cauliflower, Mango & Cashews
What other super healthy ingredients should you stock? Here’s everything you need to know about turmeric, no googling necessary, or see what Dr. Junger (author of “Clean”) stocks in his healthy pantry…
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