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Go For The Grains

The US Department of Agriculture finally officially recommended eating three servings of whole grains every day—something nutrition pros have been urging for years.

The US Department of Agriculture finally officially recommended eating three servings of whole grains every day—something nutrition pros have been urging for years. What’s more amazing: People listened. Even vegetarians, who are pretty good whole grain eaters, started hunting down more of them. But as supermarkets fill their shelves with the latest, greatest granola and oat-bran breads, the easiest way to get all the benefits from whole grains is to consume them . . . whole.

Whole grains run the gamut from barley and brown rice to bulgur and quinoa (KEEN-wah). In these one-pot recipes, barley pumps up the nutrition of a hearty ragout while tender quinoa thickens a sweet corn chowder. Take your pick—they’re both great ways to get your whole grains.

CORN AND QUINOA CHOWDER

Serves 6 –Vegan

Organic red quinoa, available in most whole food markets, makes this chowder look festive, but the flavor’s just as good with white.

3/4 cup red or white quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 tsp. cumin seeds
11/2 Tbs. olive oil
21/2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 large red potato, diced (about 1 cup)
4 small shallots, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
2 cups plain soymilk
1 large red bell pepper, diced
3 Tbs. chopped cilantro, plus a few sprigs for garnish
Lime wedges, optional

1. Toast quinoa and cumin seeds in pot over medium-high heat, 3 to 4 minutes, or until golden and fragrant, stirring constantly. Transfer to bowl.

2. Heat oil in pot; add corn, potato and shallots. Sauté 5 minutes, or until shallots are translucent. Add broth and soymilk, and bring to a boil. Stir in quinoa mixture.

Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in bell pepper, cover and simmer 5 minutes, or until quinoa and vegetables are tender.

3. Remove from heat; stir in chopped cilantro. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into soup bowls, and garnish with cilantro sprigs and lime wedges, if desired.

PER SERVING: 253 CAL; 8G PROT; 7G TOTAL FAT (0.5G SAT. FAT); 44G CARB; 0MG CHOL; 378MG SOD; 5G FIBER; 1G SUGARS

BARLEY-VEGETABLE RAGOUT

Serves 6 – Vegan

Pearled barley has the hull and bran removed to make it cook more quickly—but it still retains some whole grain goodness.

21/4 cups “chicken” broth or low-sodium vegetable broth
3/4 cup uncooked pearl barley, rinsed
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 10-oz. pkg. cremini mushrooms, halved
1 small head cauliflower, chopped (about 4 cups)
1 large white onion, cut into thin strips (about 11/2 cups)
1 15.5-oz. can diced tomatoes with mild green chilies, undrained
2 small orange bell peppers, sliced (about 2 cups)
1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped, plus a few sprigs for garnish
1/4 cup grated soy Parmesan or Romano cheese

1. Bring broth to a boil in large pot. Add barley, reduce heat to low, cover and cook 30 minutes, or until broth is absorbed and barley is tender. Transfer to mixing bowl.

2. Heat 1 Tbs. oil in same pot over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, and sauté 5 minutes, or until browned; add to barley. Add remaining 1 Tbs. oil to pot, and sauté cauliflower and onion 8 minutes, stirring frequently.

3. Add tomatoes, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer 8 minutes. Stir in peppers; cover, and simmer 5 minutes more, or until tender.

4. Stir in barley-mushroom mixture, chopped basil and soy cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook 1 minute more, or until heated through. Serve garnished with basil sprigs.

PER SERVING: 219 CAL; 10G PROT; 6G TOTAL FAT (0.5G SAT. FAT); 35G CARB; 0MG CHOL; 544MG SOD; 9G FIBER; 6G SUGARS