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Cooking with Alternative Grains

FEATURED GLUTEN FREE: Cooking with Alternative Grains and Seeds

Take a leap beyond rice and quinoa and try cooking with these other gluten-free grains and seeds:



Mild and slightly sweet, sorghum can be compared to couscous. It’s a whole grain that’s ready to be simmered into a side dish, added to soups and used as a substitute for rice. You can also buy it in flour form to make baked goods.

For a versatile side dish, simmer sorghum in chicken stock for an hour or until tender. Make a sauce with olive oil, fresh herbs, 2 tablespoons of vinegar, 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard, 1 minced garlic clove and salt and pepper to taste. Mix the dressing into the cooked, cooled sorghum with cooked broccoli, tomatoes, carrots or other vegetables of choice.

Add grilled chicken or shrimp to turn it into a main course!



Don’t let the name confuse you. Buckwheat isn’t wheat at all! In fact, it’s a gluten-free, grain-like seed from a plant that’s similar to rhubarb. It’s high in protein, potassium and dozens of minerals.

While it’s often sold in the form of flour for baking, buckwheat “groats” are great for making into a pilaf. Saute chopped onion in oil. Once it’s soft, add buckwheat groats, ground cinnamon, turmeric and cumin. Toast lightly for about 3 minutes. Pour stock over the buckwheat. Bring it to a boil and then simmer until the liquid is absorbed. Finish with salt and fresh cilantro.



Also a seed that seems like a grain, amaranth was a typical food in the diets of the Aztecs and Mayans. It’s a bit sweet and nutty in flavor, and tends to be sticky when cooked, which makes it a solid contender for the basis of a breakfast porridge. Simmer 1 ½ cups of liquid with ½ cup of amaranth. Try it with water or fruit juice. Bring the mixture to a boil and then simmer. Add dried fruit, toasted nuts and cinnamon. Serve right away or it turns mushy.

Amaranth also makes a crunchy, nutty snack if you pop it like popcorn! Toast a tablespoon of this seed in a dry skillet until it pops. Eat it as a snack or add it to salads or soups.