Grains are the building blocks of many meals. They add fiber and nutrients to a meal and can help stretch meat if you are on a budget. When I first went gluten-free, I started eating a lot of rice-based dishes, but that got rather boring pretty quickly. It didn’t take long to discover quinoa, which I now buy in economy sized bags. Lately, there has been a surge in the availability of some other grains including sorghum and millet (and a few gluten-containing grains). This variety can keep meals interesting and help fill the void left by couscous and pearled barley. I try to keep a variety of grains in the pantry to keep things from getting boring and to keep a variety of nutrients in my diet.
This is the easiest, and cheapest, of the grains to keep on hand. I like to keep some short grain rice (such as arborio) on hand for dishes like risotto or paella. I keep long grain rice (such as basmati) on hand to pair with curries or to turn into fried rice. I also enjoy the nutty flavor of short-grain brown rice as an ingredient in soups and stews.
The first “alternative” grain I ate was quinoa (which is technically a seed and not a grain). It was a welcome relief from the amount of rice that made it into my diet when I first cut out gluten. Initially, I used it only in place of rice or couscous in recipes, but as I got used to cooking with it (and it got more popular), I got more adventurous. It works great in stir-fry or as the base for a grain salad. I’ve even used it in casseroles and breakfast “porridge”.
A recent addition to my rotation, whole grain or pearled sorghum is a nutty, chewy grain that can stand up to salads and stews in places that gluten-eaters might use farro or barley. You can also pop sorghum like you could pop corn, and you get something that looks like mini popcorn but is safe for people with corn allergies.
I grew up with a dad who made us oatmeal regularly on winter mornings before school and a mom who’s “garbage” cookies were based on the famous oatmeal cookie recipe from a box of Quaker Oats. These days, I keep a package of gluten-free oats in my pantry for easy breakfasts (including home-made instant oatmeal).
Are there any other gluten-free grains that you keep on hand?