Is your pantry overrun with bits of whole grains? Mine too. Here's a way to use them all at once. The "base" recipe uses what are likely two familiar grains, quinoa and barley, with one that may be new, kamut. But the great flexibility here is that the pilaf can be made with any blend of whole grains, rices and even lentils. It's all made in a single dish in the oven, so easy, so colorful, so tasty. It even makes a great "whole food" food gift for the holidays!
PS Would it make a great addition to the Thanksgiving table? Yes!
What a revelation was that first Oven-Baked Brown Rice!
For a long while, I couldn’t get enough – such nuttiness, such chewiness, such satisfaction. I taught everyone I knew how to cook brown rice in the oven.
But honestly? It got a little old.
So I started to add wild rice to the brown rice, like here. Once again the rice was something entirely new.
But honestly? After awhile, even that got a little old.
My body hungers for whole grains and the cook in me is determined to make them easy to cook and healthy to eat.
Have I mentioned that I write a weekly column for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch? Of course I have! Growing up in a five-generation newspaper family, I do so love seeing my name in print!
I’ve got almost two years under my belt now and can tell that when readers see healthy recipes, they ask for more. Last fall, Schlafly Bottleworks shared its recipe for what it calls Three-Grain Blend.
What a great-tasting salad! But the cooking technique was fussy. Who has the pots or the patience to cook three grains separately? Would my favorite easy way to cook rice in the oven work with these new grains? Great news, it does, like a champ!
With a little variety in our whole grains, who can grow weary?
MIX 'N' MATCH What makes this recipe so practical is that any blend of grains, rice and lentils seems to work beautifully, providing variety in color, texture and taste, all in one bite, all from one dish. Ya gotta love that! But Black Barley and Kamut are really special, worth seeking out.
WHAT IS BLACK BARLEY? Black barley is so dramatic in color. Unlike black rice which turns muddy gray, black barley keeps its color when it’s cooked.
WHAT IS KAMUT? Kamut, oh you make my heart sing! Kamut (pronounce kuh-MOOT) is a high-protein wheat that’s nutty in flavor and chewy in texture. I read (though am no expert) that some people who are sensitive to wheat can eat kamut without trouble.
SOURCES Purcell Mountain Farms sells both black barley and kamut and for that matter, quinoa. In the photograph above, I used black barley and red quinoa. St. Louisans, look for kamut at Whole Foods but I haven’t found a local source for black barley.
OVEN-BAKED WHOLE-GRAIN PILAF RECIPE
Time to table: 1-1/4 hours
Makes 3 cups
- 3 cups water
- 1/2 cup barley, regular or black
- 1/2 cup kamut
- 1/2 cup quinoa, white or red
- 2 teaspoons fat (olive oil, butter, bacon grease)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
Preheat oven to 375F. Bring water to a boil. (I use a 4-cup Pyrex measuring bowl in the microwave.)
Lightly oil a 1.5 or 2 quart baking dish. Rinse barley, kamut and quinoa in a strainer under running water. Turn into the baking dish then add all remaining ingredients. Pour boiling water over top and give it all a quick stir.
Cover with lid or tight foil and bake for 1 hour. (If the oven isn’t fully preheated, no problem, just put it in and bake for 1 hour plus whatever time remains to preheat.)
Remove from oven, fluff with a fork, cover and let rest for 5 minutes. Fluff again.
SERVING SUGGESTIONS Serve hot or let rest and serve at room temperature. For a couple of months now, I’ve made a pot of Oven-Baked Whole-Grain Pilaf every couple of weeks and keep it on hand for side dishes, a little protein in salads, a little starch in vegetable soups and – honestly – by the spoonful straight from the bowl.
WHOLE-FOOD FOOD GIFTS Is your pantry overrun with bits of whole grains? Mine too. I love the three-grain pilaf above, “three” seems to be the minimum number of grains for an “interesting” pilaf. But what makes this a "concept recipe" is that grains can be mixed with rices and lentils and other side-dish style starches.
Last year before Christmas, I made my own blends of brown rice, kamut, black barley, white barley and then added black lentils, green lentils, Israeli couscous and quinoa; some Trader Joe’s Harvest Blend, itself a blend; then wild rice, farro and an “aged and reserved rice” from Zafarani that I need to learn more about, a gift from my friend Mary. Once I added the spices and salt, it made for great food gifts!
Just package 1-1/2 cups in a freezer bag or other container with these instructions for the gift recipient. "Place grain, lentil and rice mixture in a lightly greased 2-quart baking dish, top with 2 teaspoons olive oil or butter and 3 cups boiling water. Cover with lid or foil and bake at 375F for 1 hour. Remove from oven and fluff with a fork, cover and let rest 5 minutes. Recipe from KitchenParade.com."
This Week, Years Past 2002 - 2011
Light & Fluffy Homemade Whole-Grain Bread & Buns Perfect Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins Squash Puff Turnip Puff Perfect Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes (Party Potatoes) Roasted Butternut Squash & Apple Pumpkin Bread Pudding Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars Pumpkin Pecan Pie Apple-Butter Pumpkin Pie
Last Week, Elsewhere
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup from Saint Louis Club
~ more St. Louis Restaurant Recipes ~
My Column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Simple 'Sweet Potato' Potato Salad with Hardly Any Mayonnaise
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A Veggie Venture
More Easy Unusual Side Dishes
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