5 Healthy Grains to Stock in Your Pantry

Cook, Healthy Eating, Ingredient Spotlight, Recipe Roundup, Vegetarian

The wonderful world of grains extends far beyond brown rice. Incorporate some nutritious alternatives into your routine, from Italian farro and protein-rich quinoa to old-fashioned barley. Nourishing and delicious, grains are exceptionally versatile — they can be cooked for breakfast, tossed into salads for lunch or served as a side dish with dinner.


Start exploring with one of the five grains below, each paired with a recipe that’s earned a five-star rating from our customers.


Polenta, or cornmeal mush, is popular in Italian cooking, where it’s often paired with braised meats or stews. But the grain can be just as delicious as an interesting alternative to oatmeal in the morning. Try this Polentina with Bananas and Maple Syrup, which makes an easy, comforting breakfast dish.
Though it seems entirely distinct, couscous is simply pasta, which is formed into pellets for diverse cooking. Israeli couscous is larger and more substantial than its familiar North African counterpart. Make good use of winter squash with this Israeli Couscous with Squash, Feta and Almonds, great as a side but hearty enough for a vegetarian main course.
Farro is an oval grain with with a golden brown hue, a staple in Mediterranean diets. The nutty flavor and chewy texture create a nice addition to pilafs, stuffings and soups — and it can even be enjoyed as dessert with honey and ricotta cheese. This Tuscan Farro Soup with White Beans, Tomatoes and Basil is savory and heart-healthy, perfect for lunch on a chilly day.
The crunchy cooked seeds of protein-rich quinoa are as nutritious as they are tasty. The fluffy grains create a wonderful background for dried fruits and toasted nuts in this Quinoa with Dried Cranberries and Toasted Pecans.
With a mahogany color and coffee bean shape, hearty, nutty barley makes a refreshing substitute for rice in soups, salads and side dishes. Enjoy the best of both worlds by pairing the grain with rich, savory meats, as in this Beef Barley Soup.

4 comments about “5 Healthy Grains to Stock in Your Pantry

  1. Cooking with Italian Grains « jovinacooksitalian

  2. Kristy

    Good list except for the couscous (and polenta is fine if you get organic since nearly all other corn you get is GMO). Though delicious, couscous 1) is not a grain, and 2) is the same as eating plain old white pasta, unless you can find a whole-wheat version. Either way, you’re way better off with the other four than this choice.

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