Add a dose of fiber and surprising flavor to your prepared foods case by creating baked goods, salads and side dishes with trendy grains-of-the-moment amaranth, quinoa and bulgur.
by Joanna Pruess
With the public’s growing interest in gluten-free foods and more healthful wheat products, grains are being used in a range of dishes to impart flavor and texture. Ironically, many of today’s “new” grains have been around for millennia.
Amaranth is a group of plants and weeds known to have been cultivated by the Inca and Aztec peoples. It was used both in meals and as a ritualistic beverage and today, when combined with chocolate (a true Mexican culinary treasure), amaranth heightens any brownie recipe.
Quinoa, another pre-Columbus staple from the Andes, is known as the mother grain of the Incas. Quinoa contains all eight essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. Varieties include black, red and white and, besides being gluten-free, these seeds are naturally rich in fiber and iron and add a satisfying texture to side dishes, baked goods and salads.
Bulgur is nothing new in the Middle East, where dishes regularly feature this grain. Available in coarse, medium and fine grounds, bulgur adds a delightfully nutty flavor and texture to an array of foods.