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Ancient Grains, Modern Meals: 38 Exciting Recipes Featuring Whole Grains

Freekeh, barley, farro, millet, teff, spelt, amaranth, wheat berries, and kamut. If these words are not recognizable to you, we aim to educate your palate with these delicious, nutritious whole grains! There is a whole world out there beyond rice and quinoa! From light as well as hearty salads, soups to side dishes, breakfast bowls and even recipes that you can enjoy as the main event, we encourage you to branch out and try some of these 38 gems. Get ready for Wheat Berry, Kale & Butternut Squash Power Bowl, Grilled Corn and Farro Salad, Freekah, Kale And Peach Salad, an even Creamy Chocolate Coconut Buckwheat Cereal.

Ancient Grains Salad with Tahini Dressing

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Photo credit: Rachel Lessenden.

This Ancient Grains Salad is a healthy side dish or a light meal that is brimming with fiber, plant-based protein, vitamins, and minerals! It features juicy cherry tomatoes, salty kalamata olives, and a tangy tahini dressing that’s to die for! Get the recipe.

Pearl Barley Salad With Fresh Summer Vegetables

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Photo credit: Deborah Leader.

A Pearl Barley Salad recipe that’s loaded with chewy barley and fresh summer vegetables then topped with fresh basil, a sprinkle of vegan feta cheese and a drizzle of lemon miso dressing. Low calorie and high protein, this healthy recipe requires only 8 wholesome ingredients and 20 minutes to make. Ooh La La It’s Vegan, too! Get the recipe.

Smoky Vegan Sweet Potato Soup with Millet

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Photo credit: Emese Maczkó.

How about a rich and filling vegan sweet potato soup? It is a veggie-loaded soup with bell peppers, carrots, spinach and more… Adding millet will make it a complete meal for either lunch or dinner. Smoky but not overly so, a little sweet but still savory, and super-satiating. Get the recipe.

Swiss Chard Ancient Grains Salad

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Photo credit: Alexandra Caspero.

Have you tried ancient grains yet? Save this salad for a healthy side dish! Swiss Chard Ancient Grains Salad. Garlicky Swiss chard cooked with roasted garlic, peppercorns and ancient grains of kamut, spelt and teff. Get the recipe. Get the recipe.

Fall Farro Salad With Roasted Butternut Squash And Apples

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Photo credit: Nuts & Twigs.

Fall Farro Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash and Apples is a plant-based grain bowl of textures and tastes that brings the essence of fall to your plate. Served warm or cold, every bite promises the comforting taste of roasted squash, the rustic wholesomeness of chewy farro, and the sweetness of fresh apples and dried cranberries. Get the recipe.

Freekah, Kale and Peach Salad

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Photo credit: Alexandra Caspero.

Freekah, Kale and Peach Salad! Topped with Crispy Tempeh bits, Goat Cheese &  a Maple-Dijon Dressing. Get the recipe.

Slow Cooker Barley & Chickpea Risotto

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Photo credit: Lori Yates.

When you make this Slow Cooker Barley & Chickpea Risotto, your crock pot does all the work for you! Slow cooked whole grains packed with chickpeas and vegetables. Get the recipe.

Mediterranean Farro Salad

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Photo credit: Julia Boebel-Jolliff.

This Mediterranean Farro Salad is an easy, fresh salad mixing farro, fresh vegetables, chickpeas, fresh herbs and feta cheese with a light dressing. Farro salads hold up nicely making them great for meal-prep or leftovers. Get the recipe.

Warm Sorghum Salad With Kohlrabi, Apple, & Fennel

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Photo credit: Rebecca Pytell.

A warm sorghum salad paired with roasted kohlrabi, ginger gold apple, and fennel. This gluten-free vegan recipe is slightly sweet, comforting, and nourishing for the cold months ahead. Get the recipe.

Farro Risotto with Mushrooms

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Photo credit: Alexandra Caspero.

Farro Risotto! A healthy risotto that’s so flavorful! Farro cooked with white wine, vegetable broth, shallots and mushrooms. Vegetarian or Vegan, your choice. Get the recipe.

Farro Salad

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Photo credit: Amy Dong.

This Farro Salad is hearty, toothsome, and nutritious. It makes a satisfying lunch for home, work, or school. Also, deliciously healthy for dinner. Get the recipe.

Greek Farro Salad

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Photo credit: Milisa Armstrong.

This easy and delicious Greek Farro Salad is a great addition to any meal. It has tons of flavor from a quick lemon and herb vinaigrette, garden fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, and feta all mixed with farro. Get the recipe.

Grilled Corn and Farro Salad

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Photo credit: Alexandra Caspero.

My husband’s favorite food might be corn on the cob. A fact that I completely forget until July rolls around and I find myself buying 12 ears of corn at a time just to keep up with his habit. It’s a simple request– cook freshly shucked corn, slather with lots of butter, salt and pepper and he is SO darn happy.

Me? Well, in traditional food lover form, I prefer my corn a tad more trendy. Charred kernels with farro, pistachios, juicy ripe tomatoes, olives and lots and lots of basil. I need texture! I need flavor! I need excitement. Thankfully, this salad checks all of the boxes. Get the recipe.

Really Good Freekeh Salad

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Photo credit: Carla Cardello.

Looking for a filling side salad? Make this Really Good Freekeh Salad with arugula, tomatoes, goat cheese, and pickled red onion. Serve it warm or cold for a hearty whole grain salad. Get the recipe.

Ultimate Goddess Bowl with Creamy Goddess Dressing

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Photo credit: Alexandra Caspero.

The Ultimate Goddess Bowl that is ready in only half an hour! A Freekah, kale, roasted carrots, and a creamy goddess dressing! This healthy grain bowl is so easy and packed with flavor! Get the recipe.

Autumn Harvest Grain Salad 

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Photo credit: Allie Petersen.

This Autumn Harvest Grain Salad is the best fall salad! It’s a blend of Trader Joe’s Harvest Grains combined with fall-inspired ingredients like butternut squash, cranberries, pecans, and apples. Toss with a vibrant orange dressing for a flavorful side or lunch. Get the recipe.

Millet Breakfast Recipe

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Photo credit: Tiffany McCauley.

This millet breakfast recipe is a nutritious way to start your morning with ancient grains! I’m always on the lookout for new breakfast ideas. I don’t know why, but breakfast is the only meal of the day that I can be absolutely and unequivocally bored to tears with. So creativity with breakfast is an absolute must for me. Get the recipe.

Instant Pot Wheat Berries

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Photo credit: Corrie Cooks.

Cooking wheat berries in the Instant Pot is quick, easy, and healthy. This method saves time and keeps the wheat berries’ nutty flavor and chewy texture. It’s a simple way to add a nutritious grain to your meals, perfect for busy days. Get the recipe.

Kamut Wheat Dressing

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Photo credit: Ellen Christian.

Wheat berries are the entire wheat kernel (except the hull).  A wheat berry contains the bran, germ, and endosperm. You can use wheat berries to grind home milled flour, sprout them, or cook with them in a number of wheat berry recipes. This dressing combines these chewy grains with shiitake mushrooms, wild rice, golden raisins and apples. Get the recipe.

Baked Zucchini Amaranth Patties 

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Photo credit: Jenn Sebestyen.

Baked Zucchini Amaranth Patties – A quick and easy high protein recipe perfect for a weeknight. Serve it with a salad for a complete meal. Get the recipe.

Barley Broccoli Salad

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Photo credit: Veronique Eichler.

The best version of this salad requires the broccoli, barley, onion and jalapeno to marinate with the dressing for 30 minutes to two hours; it will give a chance for the flavors to meld together and the broccoli to soften a bit. Add at the last minute the ingredients you want to remain crunchy and fresh: cucumber, radish and parsley.

Barley broccoli salad will keep well for 3 to 5 days in your refrigerator, but keep in mind the radish and cucumber will not remain as crunchy as the first day. Get the recipe.

Wheat Berry, Kale & Butternut Squash Power Bowl

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Photo credit: Meggen Wilson.

This is a satisfying salad, that is packed full of hearty healthy veggies, protein and fiber rich Wheat Berries. Wheat Berries are not berries at all, but rather the edible part of a wheat kernel. You can cook them and add to salads, soups or grind them into wheat flour. You can also plant them and have wheat sprouts for your salads. I like to boil them for about 45 minutes in a large pot of water, (I set them on the cooktop to boil and get dressed for the day) drain them, return them back to the hot pan off heat, cover and let the steam from the hot kernels and the pot continue to soften them without boiling any additional nutrition away. Get the recipe.

Easy Freekeh Salad

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Photo credit: Deryn Macey.

Vibrant freekeh salad with chickpeas, dates, fresh herbs, fennel and lemon vinaigrette that’s easy to make and packed with flavour and nutrition. Get the recipe.

Mediterranean Chickpea Millet Salad

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Photo credit: Lisa Lotts.

Looking for delicious millet recipes? This healthy, light and flavorful millet salad with canned chick peas, diced cucumber, briny olives and feta cheese is one of our favorites. It’s easy to make using cooked hulled millet and this whole grain salad recipe is naturally gluten free and 100% delicious. You’ll love the tangy lemon honey vinaigrette, too. Get the recipe.

Ancient Grains Salad

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Photo credit: Lisa Lotts.

Looking for summer salad ideas for cookouts, barbecues and picnics? Ancient Grains salad with its easy vinaigrette recipe is loaded with vegetables and the Pharaohs Grain, Kamut – an ancient grain with more protein, amino acids, vitamins and many minerals, especially selenium, zinc and magnesium than modern wheat – Kamut salad is chewy, nutty and toothsome. Get the recipe.

Butternut Squash Barley Risotto

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Photo credit: Elysia Cartlidge.

Mix up your meal times with this healthy risotto recipe! This barley risotto with butternut squash is perfectly creamy and full of flavour. Pearl barley is combined with roasted butternut squash for a simple, delicious and comforting dish that you’ll be wanting to make on repeat! Get the recipe.

Ashure (Varvara) – Noah’s Pudding

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Photo credit: Giorgos Tsoulis.

This is one of the oldest desserts in the world and it’s popular in the Middle East, Greece and the Balkans.

It comes under different names: Varvara in Greece, as it was traditionally prepared on the eve of Saint Varvara’s Day, Ashure in Turkey and other Middle Eastern countries as it was prepared on eve of Muharram Ashura, the Tenth Day of the Month of Muharram. It is also called Noah’s Pudding or Anoushabour in Armenia or trigo koço in Jewish communities.

This dish is made with boiled wheat or barley, though you’ll also find recipes with beans and chickpeas, as well as fruits such as raisins and figs, and nuts such as walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts. You can find many varieties of it in different cultures and regions.Get the recipe.

Rainbow Buckwheat Salad

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Photo credit: Rebecca Pytell.

All the colors and lush flavors of summer in a delightful, gluten-free, & vegan Rainbow Buckwheat Salad. Crisp veggies, sweet blueberries, and fragrant spices like cardamom pull this cold side dish recipe together. Get the recipe.

Caramel Almond Sorghum Porridge

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Photo credit: Rebecca Pytell.

A delicious, healthy, whole grain breakfast porridge that’s gluten-free and vegan. This Caramel Almond Sorghum Porridge will put your typical oatmeal to shame! Get the recipe.

African Spiced Carrot Millet

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A quick & easy whole grain side dish that packs in the flavor! An African Spiced Carrot Millet recipe that’s gluten-free, vegan, and top 8 allergy-free. Fluffy millet with carrot puree, carrot greens, cilantro, and fragrant savory African spices! Get the recipe.

Chocolate Peanut Buckwheat Cereal

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Photo credit: Rebecca Pytell.

A healthy breakfast indulgence to power you up for the day! Chocolate peanut buckwheat cereal is a hot, creamy, protein-packed, decadent, gluten-free and vegan recipe you can whip up right in the microwave! Get the recipe.

Creamy Chocolate Coconut Buckwheat Cereal

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Photo credit: Rebecca Pytell.

There’s nothing like a decadent, but healthy breakfast recipe for creamy chocolate coconut buckwheat cereal to wake your body up! Gluten-free, vegan, and quick in the microwave, you’re guaranteed to have a fantastic start to the day! Get the recipe.

Sorghum Tabbouleh and Chickpea Lettuce Wraps

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Photo credit: Julia Boebel-Jolliff.

Mediterranean Sorghum Tabbouleh and Chickpea Lettuce Wraps create a light, healthy meal using the flavors of Lebanon. A Sorghum Quinoa Brown Rice blend is combined with Tabbouleh and placed in a lettuce wrap with roasted chickpeas. Get the recipe.

Roasted Beetroot Salad with Barley

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Photo credit: Tansy Boggon.

A roasted beetroot salad with barley, roasted beetroot and red onion, spinach, pumpkin seeds, capers, lemon and balsamic vinegar that is satisfying as a side dish or on its own as a complete meal. Get the recipe.

Orange Millet Salad with Maple Dijon Vinaigrette

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Photo credit: Amy Katz.

Lettuce-free Orange Millet Salad is bursting with Mediterranean flavors. This citrusy grain salad features carrots, fresh basil, and a maple Dijon dressing. This recipe is easy to make and includes instructions for cooking millet in an Instant Pot or on the stoveGet the recipe.

Easy Pumpkin Soup with Millet in Pumpkin Bowls

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Photo credit: Elena Szeliga.

Easy pumpkin soup with millet served in pumpkin bowls is nourishing and comforting while being gluten-free and vegan! This recipe doesn’t require a blender! Get the recipe.

Amaranth Tabbouleh

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Photo credit: Cara Harbstreet MS RD LD.

Have you cooked with amaranth before? This small grain is naturally gluten-free and so, so easy to cook with. Amaranth Tabbouleh with tomatoes and chickpeas lets you celebrate summer with fresh herbs and seasonal produce. Get the recipe.

Freekeh Salad with Tomatoes, Corn, Zucchini, and Basil

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Photo credit: Cara Harbstreet MS RD LD.

It’s surely summer when the corn, zucchini, tomatoes, and basil show up in abundance! This Freekeh Salad recipe is one of my favorite grain salads for summer, using freekeh, fresh basil, plenty of veggies, and a simple DIY dressing to complement vibrant summer flavors. Get the recipe.

Author

  • Dede Wilson

    Dédé Wilson is a journalist with over 17 cookbooks to her name and is the co-founder and managing partner of the digital media partnership Shift Works Partners LLC, currently publishing through two online media brands, FODMAP Everyday® and The Queen Zone.

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