Food & Drink

Quinoa Is Weird: Here Are 10 Alternative Grains To Get To Know Instead

Here are 10 alternative grains to fall in love with.

A few weeks ago, I committed a grave error in judgement: I announced on twitter that I still don't get quinoa. Responses ranged from "no but you have to try it in a salad" (which, guys, of course I've tried it in a salad, a salad is quinoa's natural habitat) to simply, "f*** you." So listen, before you tell me that I just need to try it as a breakfast cereal simmered with coconut milk, or cooked into scones, or whatever, please know this: I have tried quinoa all of the ways I am going to try quinoa. The truth is -- my truth is -- quinoa is weird.

When I was kid, I had a "Make Your Own Layered Candle" kit. It came with tiny bags filled with tiny pellets of colored wax. That is what I see, smell, taste, feel and hear when I eat quinoa. I don't think there is an amount of coconut milk on earth that can change it. Quinoa is not only weird, it might also be making a portion of the planet totally miserable, suddenly having found that what was once their staple grain is getting shipped off to America so that we can all enjoy our complete proteins and coconut milk. According to The Guardian, in Lima, quinoa is now more expensive than chicken. If you can live with that, please enjoy your healthy wax pellets. If not, here are a bunch of quinoa alternatives that are totally delicious, also great for you and aren't ruining an indigenous culture's access to their traditional food.

There was life after kale, there will be life after quinoa. We promise.

1
Grape Leaf Pilaf
James Ransom/Food52
Get the Grape Leaf Pilaf recipe from Food52 Rice! Remember rice?
2
Cinnamon Spiced Amaranth Porridge
Secret Squirrel
Get the Cinnamon Spiced Amaranth Porridge recipe from Secret Squirrel Amaranth is actually a seed, high in protein and amino acids.
3
Wheat Berry Salad With Roasted Fennel And Bell Pepper
la domestique/Food52
Get the Wheat Berry Salad with Roasted Fennel and Bell Pepper recipe from Food52 Wheat berries are the whole wheat grain, still intact with zero processing.
4
Hot Yogurt And Barley Soup
Linda Xiao/Food52
Get the Hot Yogurt and Barley Soup recipe from Food52 Most harvested barley goes into the beer-making process. Grab some before that happens and eat it.
5
Lentil Tagine With Whole Wheat Couscous
This Gal Cooks
Get the Lentil Tagine with Whole Wheat Couscous recipe from This Gal Cooks Couscous is just tiny granules of semolina (also known as durum wheat).
6
Coconut Spelt Scones With Blueberries
Eat Already!/Food52
Get the Coconut Spelt Scones with Blueberries recipe from Food52 Spelt is a species of wheat, high in protein and fiber.
7
Freekeh Risotto With Mushrooms And Tarragon
Kelli Dunn | The Corner Kitchen
Get the Freekeh Risotto with Mushrooms and Tarragon recipe from The Corner Kitchen Freekeh (which has been called the next super-grain) is wheat that has been harvested when it's young and green, then roasted to concentrate the flavor.
8
Jeweled Millet
James Ransom/Food52
Get the Jeweled Millet recipe from Food52 Millet is an ancient seed that has been made into porridge and noodles for at least the last 4,000 years.
9
Tabbouleh
Simply Recipes
Get the Tabbouleh recipe from Simply Recipes Bulgur is a whole wheat that has been cleaned, parboiled, dried, ground and sorted into distinct sizes. This makes it super quick and easy to cook.
10
Farro & Kale Salad
A Beautiful Mess
Get the Farro & Kale Salad recipe from A Beautiful Mess Farro is an ancient Italian wheat grain.

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Grain Salad Recipes