Fibre up with these whole grain recipes

(Courtesy of medfitsolutions.com)

(Courtesy of medfitsolutions.com)

Rita Demontis, National Food Editor, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:21 PM ET

Spring's in the air, so is spring cleaning. Perhaps this is a good to time to "spring clean" our eating habits for the new season. One way to get back into healthy noshing is to include whole grains into our lifestyle as an important part of a healthy diet.

So says award-winning cookbook author, professional home economist and TV personality Mairlyn Smith. "Switching from refined grains to whole grains is surprisingly easy," says Smith, a regular on CityLine, adding "when you consider there's a direction correlation between eating refined grains and developing Type 2 diabetes...it's certainly worth making these changes to your diet."

Adds Maria Depenweiller, a Milton-based professional home economist and also a member of the Ontario Home Economics Association (OHEA), (a self-regulated body of professional home economists that assists in achieving and maintaining a desirable quality of life), "whole grains are nutritious complex carbohydrates that are typically low in fat and a great source of fibre, B-vitamins and minerals...Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating recommends that at least half the grains we eat daily should be whole grain."

Smith says delicious whole grain options such as barley, oats, spelt, wheat berries, brown rice, buckwheat and millet are widely available, affordable and easy to prepare.

"They're rich in fibre and fill you up, and work beautifully with a variety of ingredients," says Smith. "It's all easy and delicious and good for you."

Tips for serving whole grains more often courtesy of Ontario Home Economics Association:

  • Try using a rice cooker to cook millet, barley or buckwheat
  • Use low-sodium broth instead of water to increase flavour in grain dishes
  • Replace white rice with brown rice, millet in side dishes
  • Drizzle olive oil over cooked grains to add flavour
  • Serve cooked buckwheat, oats or millet with hot or cold milk, adding toppings such as nuts, fresh or dried fruit for a healthy, tasty breakfast.

Steamed Millet with Pan-roasted Portobello Mushroom and Onions

Millet is an ancient seed that's also gluten-free. Recipe courtesy of Maria Depenweiller.

  • 1 cup (250 mL) millet, well rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups (500 mL) water
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large Portobello mushroom, finely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp (45 mL) canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) ground black pepper

In a small saucepan, cover millet in water. Cook on medium heat for about 20 minutes, until all water is absorbed and millet is fluffy and soft.

In a frying pan, heat canola oil with black pepper. Saute onions with mushrooms until onions turn golden brown. Season with salt.

In a large bowl, gently toss together the cooked millet, mushroom and onion. Serve hot as a main course or as a side dish.

Makes 6 servings.

Red Quinoa and Wheat Berry Salad

Wheat berries are the whole wheat kernel and are found in most health food or bulk food stores. This colourful salad is courtesy of Erin MacGregor, P.H.Ec., RD, from OHEA’s The Vegetarian’s Complete Quinoa Cookbook (Whitecap Books), edited by Mairlyn Smith, P.H.Ec.

  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) wheat berries, well rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups (500 ml) cooked red quinoa made with water (rinse quinoa/follow package instructions)
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup (75 ml) whole almonds, chopped
  • 1/3 cup (75 m) chopped fresh parsley

Dressing

  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. (30 ml) minced shallot (about 1 shallot)
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp. (10 ml) liquid honey
  • 1/2 tsp. (2 ml) Dijon mustard

In a medium saucepan, bring 11/4 cups (310 ml) of water to a boil. Stir in wheat berries and return to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 45 to 50 minutes, or until wheat berries are tender. Remove from heat, drain any excess water; allow to cool slightly.

In a large bowl, toss together cooked quinoa, wheat berries, cranberries, almonds and parsley.

Dressing: In a medium bowl, whisk together lemon zest and juice, shallots, oil, honey and Dijon mustard.

To serve: Pour dressing over salad mixture and toss well. Serve immediately or store in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Makes about 4 cups (1 L)


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