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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.



Cultivated for thousands of years in China, East Asia and across Africa, Millet is a mild grass seed, used most often as a sweet porridge.  Rich in protein, B vitamins, and minerals, this seed cooks quickly and works well in whole grain salads, pilafs, or stir fries.

Try some as prepared in Germany – boil with apples and a touch of honey for a sweet fall and winter treat.  Or mix cooked millet with pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, honey and brown sugar and press into homemade granola bars!



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.



One of the earliest plants to be domesticated, teff is native to Ethiopia and Eritrea, where it is most commonly used to make a flat savory pancake called injera.   With grains the size of poppy seeds, teff is one of the smallest staple grains in widespread production.  Its small size makes it proportionally higher in fiber, and a great option for porridge and stew.  It can also be a base grain used to make gluten-free beer!

Try boiling with equal parts water and almond milk, and then mash in a banana and some cinnamon for a sweet breakfast.  Or boil a cup of teff with 1.5 cups of chicken stock and top with roasted veggies and Brothers Marketplace Berbere spice for some authentic Ethiopian flavor.