In our favorite new weeknight meal, kasha and a poached egg rev up greens and smoky pork. The recipe comes from Sandy Sonnenfelt, prepared-foods director at Market Hall Foods and its flagship store, The Pasta Shop in Oakland.
Imagine a classic Asian-style rice bowl, but with a risotto-like blend of millet and amaranth as the base. At Vital Root in Denver, chef-owner Justin Cucci tops the grains with loads of vegetables and tofu, then drizzles on a silky tahini sauce.
Salmon and Grains Salad with Pistachio Salsa Verde
Kris Tominaga serves this dramatic salad at Cadet restaurant in Santa Monica. Wild rice and black quinoa (the quinoa fried until crunchy) form a backdrop for colorful greens and salmon. In winter, frozen sockeye salmon is an excellent choice.
We adapted this recipe from a forthcoming book on vegetables (Artisan, 2017) by Joshua McFadden, chef and vegetable whisperer at Ava Gene’s in Portland. Creating fluffy ribbons of collard greens is easy when you roll the leaves and slice them crosswise.
10 of 21Photo by Annabelle Breakey; written by Margo True
Quinoa Salad with Chicken, Avocado, and Oranges
Light, fluffy, and very nutritious, quinoa—one of the "ancient grains" that have sustained the people of the Andes for centuries—thrives in Colorado, too. It's super easy to cook (easier than rice) and makes wonderful salad.
11 of 21Photo by Annabelle Breakey; written by Margo True
Black Rice Salad with Butternut Squash and Pomegranate Seeds
Need a little excitement in your life (or at least your cooking)? Try this jet-black rice, filled with sweet hunks of roasted squash, toasted pecans, and juicy, bright-red pomegranate seeds. It's drama in a bowl, and it's utterly delicious.
12 of 21Photo by Annabelle Breakey; written by Margo True
Warm Buckwheat Salad with Roasted Shallots, Apples, and Frisee
Buckwheat, a hugely popular grain in Eastern Europe, makes a fantastic wintertime salad. Its sweet earthiness links right into the roasted shallots, and the sweet-tangy apples and slightly bitter radicchio give layers of flavor and texture to the dish.
13 of 21Photo by Annabelle Breakey; written by Margo True
Farro, Green Olive, and Feta Salad
This simple but knockout salad came to us from Feel Good Foods Catering in Santa Cruz, CA. Farro, an ancient strain of wheat, has a very pleasing tender-chewy texture and deep, nutty flavor; you can find it at well-stocked grocery stores, or order online from bluebirdgrainfarms.com
Middle Eastern freekeh has a sweet-smoky flavor and a juicy, chewy texture. It’s delicious in burgers, with lentils, and strewn over salads—as is, or fried until crisp. You can use store-bought vegetable broth, but for exceptional flavor, it’s worth it to make your own (find our Hearty Vegetable Broth recipe at sunset.com).
16 of 21Photo by Yunhee Kim; written by Margo True
Farro Dolmas Salad
Have you ever made grape leaves stuffed with rice, nuts, and seasonings, Middle Eastern style? They're wonderful, but they are time-consuming to make. This recipe is a terrific fast take on those flavors—and has the health benefits of whole-grain farro, too.
17 of 21Photo by Iain Bagwell; written by Margo True
Whole-Grain Penne with Walnuts Caramelized Onions and Ricotta Salata
No longer the grainy, crumbly stuff of years past, whole-grain pastas have a toothsome texture and pleasantly nutty flavor, and they're sold in most supermarkets. Penne is one of our favorites; its little ridges have a way of trapping the light lemon and olive oil dressing and crumbles of cheese.
19 of 21Photo by Annabelle Breakey; written by Margo True
Nutted Brown Rice Pilaf
Brown rice is rice that hasn't been messed with. Any type of white rice―long-grain, short-grain, basmati―begins as brown rice, which means its outer layer of bran has not yet been removed. This pilaf, made with long-grain brown rice, three kinds of nuts, and Indian spices, is a healthy recipe you'll return to often.
20 of 21Photo by Thomas J. Story; written by Margo True
Hearty Whole-Grain Pancakes
There’s no reason you have to eat mediocre food while you’re camping. Take these pancakes, for instance: they have whole-wheat flour, wheat germ, and wheat bran; they’re tender and fragrant; and you can pack the dry mix and just add eggs and oil at the site. Of course, they’re great at home too.
21 of 21Photo by Annabelle Breakey; written by Margo True
Coconut Brown Rice Pudding
If you’ve never liked rice pudding, give this recipe a try. And if you’re already an R.P. fan, it’ll make you weak in the knees. Coconut milk and brown sweet rice combine to make a rich, silky dessert that isn’t cloying. Tangy-sweet dried apricots on top give it a brightness and intensity.