In 1991, archaeologists discovered Otzi, a 7,000-year-old mummy, lollygagging around in the Swiss Alps. In his stomach: A final meal of an ancient grain known as einkorn.
Cut to today, and ancient grains—or, at least, more traditional ones—of all kinds, including einkorn, have landed on the menus of five-star restaurants. Spelt, quinoa, amaranth, teff—the best chefs in the world are now using them, and in everything from cakes to salads.
Thanks to brands such as Jovial, Bob’s Red Mill and Bluebird Grain Farms, using these grains at home is now easier than ever. But how to cook with them? Have a look at our favorite ideas and recipes.
Forget wheat, these ancient grains are the new culinary star
FarroIt looks a little like risotto…and it can cook up like risotto too. Plus, it’s nuttier, richer and just plain better for you, if you ask fans of this grain, also known as emmer. Make this dish even richer with prosciutto and brussel sprouts. GET THE RECIPEDomesticate Me
QuinoaIt’s genetically related to, of all things, the tumbleweed. And yet every trendy restaurant seems to have a quinoa dish these days, mostly in salads or side dishes. But have you ever seen a quinoa meatball? Maybe it's time to try one. GET THE RECIPEJeanette's Healthy Kitchen
KamutGrains and dessert really go hand in hand. This ridiculously tasty looking golden kamut shortbread recipe is a great way to get to know kamut flour, made from a grain that’s considered more nutritious than modern wheat. GET THE RECIPESea Salt with Food
EinkornIf you tend to feel a little heavy and slow after a pasta meal, but haven’t yet tried Jovial brand’s einkorn pasta, do it. Now. We’re talking all the taste with none of that sluggish feeling afterward. Einkorn is the oldest variety of wheat and has a delicious taste, too. Try baking a no-knead bread with it using Jovial flour. GET THE RECIPEJovial Foods
AmaranthIt sounds beautiful. It looks beautiful, too: Take a look at the crop maintained personally by Jason Bond, chef at Bondir Concord restaurant in Concord, MA. He makes a chestnut flour tart with puffed amaranth. In your kitchen, try a healthy snack, such as these blueberry, almond and puffed amaranth granola bars. GET THE RECIPEOh My Veggies
FreekehFun to pronounce. Even more fun to eat…especially if this Biblical grain is in burger form! For a Middle Eastern spin on a veggie burger, we love the look of these freekeh bean burgers. GET THE RECIPEOh My Veggies
MilletAt the Noodlecat restaurant in Cleveland, OH, Chef Jonathon Sawyer makes a “super” salad with adzuki bean, curly kale, blueberry, green tea granola, avocado, citrus and ancient grain, such as millet. To make the yuzu soy dressing at home, combine a quarter-cup of yuzu or citrus juice with 1 tablespoon of honey, a quarter-cup of rice wine vinegar and a half-cup of soy sauce. Slowly add a quarter-cup of sesame oil to blend.GET THE RECIPE
ChiaYou’ve heard of chia pets. Well, those seeds make a — get this — tasty pudding, too. If this oddly delicious ingredient is good enough for Gwyneth Paltrow, why not give it a try? GET THE RECIPEDomesticate Me
TeffPeanut butter cookies?! Oh yes please. This ancient north African cereal grass does double duty as dessert in this irresistible version. GET THE RECIPEBeard & Bonnet
SorghumOK. Now we’ve got dessert on the brain. So let’s roll with it. Flour made from the ancient African grain sorghum can introduce gluten-free treats into your kitchen. And it’s considered a powerhouse of nutrition — high in protein, iron and dietary fiber. Get to know sorghum through these pumpkin cupcakes. GET THE RECIPEJeanette's Healthy Kitchen