Thursdays with Dr. Tadashi

Spelt, Barley, and Quinoa...Oh MY!

Happy Thursday everyone! Hope you all enjoyed Mother’s Day celebrating the amazing mother/mother-figure in your life!

As a child, I was always in the kitchen helping out my mom cook traditional Japanese cuisine. I still remember shucking fava beans on the kitchen floor with my sister, learning to make miso soup, and learning to clean and fillet a mackerel for the first time from mom. My mom is a full time housewife and I was lucky enough to grow up eating homemade, delicious food for every single meal. In Japanese cooking, white rice is an essential staple of any meal, so white rice was served on a daily basis in my house.

For this year’s Mother’s Day, I cooked my parents a healthy, hearty, non-Japanese dinner: quinoa topped with roasted beets, carrots, and steamed kale (all from our lovely Veggielution Community Farm!) with a miso-tahini dressing and a side of green pea soup. So, I was hesitant to be serving an “out of the box” meal with quinoa, especially for my dad who has a strong, often inflexible, preference to traditional Japanese flavors. But, they both enjoyed it – actually loved it! My dad even asked for some more quinoa! WHAT IS GOING ON?!?!

So, with this experience, it made me realize that it is never too late to venture out of your comfort zone and try out new foods. Even though I am forever a rice lover (preferring brown rice), I have experimented with other grains/seeds in my daily life. If you’re ready to diversify your grain/seed palate, here’s a chart that I’ve compiled for you!

As with adding something new to your palate, start slow and small. I highly recommend buying these new grains/seeds in the bulk containers at Whole Foods or Sprouts. This will allow you to sample these grains, without investing to much money and space, just in case the flavors don’t suit you. 

Do you have any fun recipes using these grains/seeds? Let us know!

Here are some samples recipes for you try out...

Spelt- Try this zesty, refreshing salad with spelt.

Bulgur- Commonly used to make tabbouleh salad.

Barley- Make a big batch of this simple soup and freeze them for chillier days.

Amaranth- add some popped amaranth in your yogurt for a crunchy, nutty flavor!

Buckwheat- try a hearty, fulfilling, and gluten-free risotto made with buckwheat!

Quinoa- substitute rice with quinoa in this delicious quinoa-stuffed peppers dish.

Wild Rice- make a warm, umami-filled pilaf with wild rice!