I never ever imagined a time in my life where i’d be an advocate for grains and legumes as must haves in ones pantry but i’m going through this thing called “adulting”. This involves eating balanced meals and worrying about being regular, it’s so much fun.
Grains and legumes are often neglected in a lot of our diets but that means we’re missing out on great sources of protein, fibre, magnesium, zinc and so much more. Worry not, i’m not saying you should go vegetarian (calm down carnivores), i’m simply advocating that you add these to your list of must haves when you do your grocery shopping. If you are already vegetarian, grains and legumes are great way to break away from the normal carbs.
Here are six grains and legumes i always have in my pantry;
- Bulgur Wheat
What Is It? – A cracked wheat made from mostly durum wheat. It is high in fiber and thus good for the digestive system. Regular intake of bulgur wheat can help protect you against diseases like obesity and high blood pressure.
How to Cook It? – Bulgur wheat is used in a lot of North African cuisines. Tabbouleh salad is a favourite of mine (Find the recipe here), it also works well in soups and stews.
2. Pearl Barley
What Is It? – Barley is part of the grass family and is a cereal grain. It is rich in Vitamin B and anti oxidants. It is also very low in fat and calories.
How to Cook It? – Barley works well in stews and soups. Barley risotto is something worth trying in substituting normal risotto rice for pearl barley. A favourite recipe of mine is Barley and Beef Stew.
3. Dehulled Millet
What Is It? – Millet is also part of the grass family. It is a cereal grain. It looks a lot like cous cous because there is cous cous made from cracked millet. It’s benefits include being high magnesium which is good for healthy bones. In terms of nutritional value, millet is low on this list.
How To Cook It? – Substitute millet for cous cous or add it your favourite salad for great texture.
4. Brown Lentils
What Is It? – Brown Lentils are quite popular. They are legumes, part of the pea and bean family. They are rich in protein, fibre and vitamins. Lentils have zero cholesterol.
5. Split Red Lentils
What is It? – Lentils come in different varieties and split red lentils are one of them. Just like brown lentils they are extremely nutritious.
How To Cook It? – Red Lentils cook faster than brown lentils, they become soft and mushy when cooked so they go great in curries and soups. Add red lentils to your chicken or lamb curry or make a lentil and sweet potato curry with them.
What Is It? – Beans like lentils are very popular and known and consumed in a lot of households. They are a great source of protein and fibre.
How To Cook It? – Beans are also very versatile in that they can be added to soups and stews, mashed and fried as falafels or made into a dip. Beans also work great in salads like a mango,bean and corn salsa. Another of my favourite recipes for beans is a Bean & Lentil Chili
I hope this has helped anyone reading this 🙂