This month, I am focusing on many of my favorite whole grains, offering tips and ideas about how you might enjoy adding them to your own menu plan. Whole grains deliver vitamins, minerals, fiber and plant compounds that help keep our heart and blood sugar levels healthy. This week, I intend to do right by my favorite: Rye.
As I think about it, rye had to be the grain I became most fascinated with early on in life. In my young mind, rye came along with birds…exactly four and twenty blackbirds, baked up in a pie. You see, what I knew of rye was that you either had a pocket full of it, or your mom made tiny little toasts for breakfast with it, or somehow sailors had some with their whiskey. Either way, it rhymed with pie, and tasted mighty good! Even today, my favorite bread of all time is a good hearty, European dark rye!
Rye is a hearty and delicious high-protein cereal grain that is more slowly digested than other grains. It’s available in its whole or cracked-grain form as well as in cereal, flour and flakes. You’ll find it in bread, crackers, hot cereals, cold cereals and cereal blends. Rye is both filling and satisfying, and the nutrition benefits are many. One cup serving of cooked rye contains 566 calories, 4 grams of fat, 25 grams of protein and 25 grams of fiber.
Here are some delicious ways do right by rye:
- Make cream of rye cereal for breakfast; top with fresh seasonal fruit and nuts.
- Make your sandwiches on rye bread. Swiss cheese, ham, smoked turkey and avocado are all super good on rye. Check out our hearty, sourdough rye breads available in our Bakery Department. Here’s a delicious Tofu Reuben with Russian Dressing.
- Use rye flakes just like you would rolled oats – in cookies, cereals, or muffins.
- Try some rye crackers topped with nut butters, favorite spreads, or salads such as chicken, egg or tuna. Here is a recipe for homemade Quick Whole Wheat and Rye Crackers.
- Try a handful of rye in soups or stews. It is best to soak whole rye berries at least 8 hours before adding; this will shorten your cooking time.
- Having company? Try this wonderful Pork Tenderloin with Apple and Rye Stuffing.
- Make homemade croutons with rye bread.
- Add rye flour to baked goods; the results will be moist and dense. Due to its low gluten content, rye flour is often mixed with whole wheat flour to increase its rising ability. Use it in combination with other flours for breads, muffins, cookies, etc. Here is a recipe for Vegan Gingerbread Cookies.
- Rye bread is great with tomatoes and cream cheese!
Remember that even though rye has a lower gluten content than some other grains, it still contains gluten and is not appropriate for anyone with Celiac disease or any other gluten allergy or sensitivity.
Have you tried rye? Got a good recipe or a favorite way? Let me know!