Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Faster Than You Thought: Cooking Whole Grains and Legumes

By Paige Schilt, January 23, 2014  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Paige Schilt

Mighty Bowl

Powerful. Versatile. Sexy.

No, I’m not thinking of my favorite Hollywood movie star. I’m thinking of whole grains and legumes, a.k.a. the superstars of a healthy menu.

Whole grains and legumes may have a humble reputation (and let’s not even talk about that whole “musical fruit” business), but they’re powerhouses when it comes to building plant-strong®, nutrient-dense meals.

I rediscovered their allure building Mighty Bowls of Goodness—fun, budget-friendly meals that begin with your favorite grains, veggies and beans or lentils. (For a week’s worth of inspiration, check out our Mighty Bowls and More Meal Plan.)If you’re not a fan yet, perhaps it’s because you’ve heard that legumes and whole grains are difficult to work with? Let’s dispel those rumors with some tips for easy preparation:

Legume Literacy

Lentil Sloppy JoesThe legume family includes peas, beans and lentils, which are all great sources of plant-based protein.  If you’ve never cooked legumes from scratch before, read our bean guide—it’s loaded with expert tips on everything from quick-soaking to seasoning.When you don’t have time for even a quick soak, look to dried peas and lentils. They don’t require soaking, and they cook in aslittle as 45 minutes. Split peas can play a starring role in an Indian-inspired mighty bowl, while nutty lentils shine in Lentil Sloppy Joes or Warm Kale and Lentil Salad with Sun-Dried Tomatoes.

Black Bean Salad with Avocado-Lime DressingOf course, legumes don’t have to be cooked from scratch. For quick and budget-friendly beans, stock up on 365 Everyday Value® Organic Beans (No Salt Added) in aseptic cartons and cans.  These ready-to-eat classics won’t disappoint in recipes like Winter Four Bean Salad or my family’s favorite, Black Bean Salad with Avocado-Lime Dressing.

Get Down with Whole Grains

Lemon Coriander Quinoa

Whole grains are filling and nutritious, but they have a reputation for making you wait. Here’s the key to handling these kitchen divas: know the cooking times. Our whole grain guide breaks it down into quick-cooking grains (under 10 minutes), medium-cooking grains (10–40 minutes) and long-cooking grains (over 40 minutes). Count on quick-cooking grains for fast-and-easy dishes such as Lemon-Coriander Quinoa.

Whole Grain and Pumpkin Seed Granola

Save long-cooking grains for leisurely meals—or else make them in big batches and store in the fridge or freezer so they’re ready when you are.When you’re really in a rush, stop by the freezer section for 365 Everyday Value® Organic Brown Rice or Engine 2 Plant-Strong® Grain Medleys. With their help, you can make a mighty bowl or a satisfying stir-fry in minutes.

Finally, remember that whole grains aren’t just for lunch and dinner! Add almondmilk and fresh or dried fruit for a satisfying breakfast bowl.  Or craft a sassy snack with our recipe for healthy Whole Grain and Pumpkin Seed Granola.

Do you have a helpful hint for enjoying whole grains or legumes? Share the love in the comments!

 

1 Comment

Comments

Sasha says ...
I really enjoy quinoa in my soups and salads
01/23/2014 10:02:55 AM CST