Grain Power: The best ancient grain recipes to get you through the day

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Grain Power authors Patricia Green and Carolyn Hemming suggest that a good way for people wanting to try ancient grains is to make their recipe for breakfast in a mason jar.

With minimal effort you will have a breakfast that will power you throughout the day, they say. You start with ancient grains in the jar, add boiling water, shake it and leave it in the fridge overnight. The next morning it’s ready to go. You can customize it with your favourite ancient grains and add fresh or dried fruit, nuts and milk to taste.

Make five single servings to eat each morning during the week or a large portion for the family.

The sisters’ mantra is to offer recipes and tips for practical and uncomplicated cooking; they note that ancient grains can be cooked ahead in water, refrigerated and be ready to use in recipes.

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Following are the recipes for breakfast, a broccoli salad and snack bars from their third cookbook.

Mason Jar Ancient Grains Breakfast

This convenient breakfast is ready when you are and offers a satisfying start to the day. It can be customized to your tastes, nutritional requirements and the grains you have on hand.

Small Breakfast

  • 1 mason jar with lid (250-ml/1-cup size)
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) steel-cut oats
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) amaranth seeds
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) buckwheat groats
  • 22 ml (1 1/2 tbsp) raisins
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) chia seeds
  • Pinch cinnamon
  • 175 ml (3/4 cup) boiling water
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) milk (optional)
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) nuts, your choice (optional)

Big Breakfast

  • 1 mason jar with lid (500-ml/2-cup size)
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) steel-cut oats
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) amaranth seeds
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) buckwheat groats
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) teff grains
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) raisins
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) chia seeds
  • Pinch cinnamon
  • 250 ml (1 cup) boiling water
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) milk (optional)
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) nuts, your choice (optional)

Measure oats, amaranth, buckwheat and teff into the appropriate sized mason jar. Add raisins, chia and cinnamon. Pour boiling water into jar. Screw on lid tightly and shake. If time permits, set jar on counter for 15 to 20 minutes. Shake again and place in refrigerator for 7 hours or more.

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Remove from refrigerator and reheat in a saucepan or microwave until desired temperature is reached. Stir in milk and sprinkle with nuts and sweetener, if desired. Serve.

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Makes 1 serving.

Nutrition information per serving (small): 210 calories; 7 g protein; 42 g carbohydrates; 6 g dietary fibre; 3.5 g fat; 9 g sugar; 0 mg cholesterol; 10 mg sodium.

Nutrition information per serving (big): 270 calories; 9 g protein; 53 g carbohydrates; 7 g dietary fibre; 4.5 g fat; 11 g sugar; 0 mg cholesterol; 10 mg sodium.

Walnut and Broccoli Superblend Salad

Crunchy and fresh, broccoli and walnuts make a great combination for a salad and for your health. Broccoli will nourish and detox, while walnuts are full of healthy fibre, protein and good-for-you fats. This makes a great salad for lunch the next day too.

If you prefer cooked broccoli, blanch the broccoli in boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain on a clean dish towel and let cool completely before adding to the salad.

  • 325 ml (1 1/3 cups) water
  • 75 ml (1/3 cup) buckwheat groats
  • 75 ml (1/3 cup) quinoa seeds
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) walnuts
  • 750 ml (3 cups) broccoli pieces (broccoli florets and peeled and diced stalk)
  • 75 ml (1/3 cup) dried sweetened cranberries
  • 75 ml (1/3 cup) finely diced red onion
  • 50 ml (1/4 cup) liquid honey or pure maple syrup
  • 50 ml (1/4 cup) red wine vinegar
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) olive or walnut oil
  • 2 ml (1/2 tsp) minced garlic
  • Pinch salt (optional)

In a small saucepan, combine water, buckwheat and quinoa and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork and let cool completely.

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Heat a saute pan over medium heat and place walnuts in pan. Stir frequently until walnuts are fragrant and toasted. Remove from heat, let cool slightly and coarsely chop. Set aside.

In a large bowl, place completely cooled grains, broccoli, walnuts, cranberries and red onion. In a small bowl, whisk together honey, vinegar, oil, garlic and salt, if using. Toss with vegetable mixture and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 360 calories; 8 g protein; 47 g carbohydrates; 6 g dietary fibre; 18 g fat; 21 g sugar; 0 mg cholesterol; 20 mg sodium.

Millet and Quinoa Blueberry Pecan Snack Bars

Puffed millet and quinoa, along with chia and oats, are mixed with honey and maple and spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg. Blueberries and toasted pecans add hits of flavour and crunch.

Puffs used in this recipe can be all quinoa or all millet, amaranth or any combination.

Wrap individual bars and freeze for a quick portable snack.

  • 250 ml (1 cup) old-fashioned (large-flake) rolled oats
  • 250 ml (1 cup) chopped pecans
  • 75 ml (1/3 cup) chia seeds
  • 250 ml (1 cup) quinoa puffs
  • 250 ml (1 cup) millet puffs
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) dried blueberries
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) lightly packed brown sugar
  • 50 ml (1/4 cup) liquid honey
  • 50 ml (1/4 cup) pure maple syrup
  • 50 ml (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1 ml (1/4 tsp) salt
  • 10 ml (2 tsp) pure vanilla extract
  • 2 ml (1/2 tsp) cinnamon
  • 1 ml (1/4 tsp) nutmeg

Grease or spray with cooking oil a 2-l (8-inch) square cake pan and line pan with parchment. Also line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Heat oven to 180 C (350 F).

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Evenly spread oats, pecans and chia seeds on prepared baking sheet. Toast in oven for 5 to 6 minutes, until fragrant. Set aside to cool briefly.

In a large bowl, combine quinoa puffs, millet puffs and dried blueberries. Add mixture of toasted oats, pecans and chia seeds. Stir and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, stir brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, butter and salt. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved completely, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Pour syrup mixture over puff mixture. Stir until blended and mixture is evenly moistened.

Press into pan with a spatula. Place an additional piece of parchment over top and press firmly using hands. Chill in the pan for 2 hours.

Lift and remove from pan and cut into bars. Best served cold. Store bars, separated by layers of wax paper or parchment, in a sealed container in refrigerator for up to 10 days.

Makes 16 bars.

Nutrition information per serving: 190 calories; 3 g protein; 25 g carbohydrates; 4 g dietary fibre; 9 fat; 15 g sugar; 10 mg cholesterol; 40 mg sodium.

Source: Grain Power: Over 100 Delicious Gluten-Free Ancient Grain & Superblend Recipes by Patricia Green and Carolyn Hemming (Penguin Canada).


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