Preparing Grains

June 2, 2011

Whenever I have to cook a grain of some sort: quiona, wheatberries, rice, etc., I always end up Googling “how do I cook. . . .” to find the answer.

Well, I have put together this post (maybe a little selfishly) for a one-stop-shop for all my grain questions. This is by no means a complete list of all the different types of grains (or psedo-grains) out there. There are a ton of different grains to cook/experiment with!



(pronounced keen-wa)

Fun facts:

– quiona is a not a grain; it is closely related to spinach and Swiss chard

– contains more protein than any other grain

– quinoa is a complete protein which means it contains all 9 essential amino acids

Cooking instructions:

– It is important to rinse quinoa.

I have to admit I hate rinsing the quinoa. The individual pieces are super small and always fall through my strainer! I’ve tried several methods, and now thanks to my ingenious husband who suggested used one of my reusable produce bags (very similar to a cheese cloth) to rinse the quiona, I don’t lose half of the seeds.

– water to seed ratio: 2:1

– cook for 15 minutes


Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

A Grilled Tofu and Quiona dish I had for my birthday.


Fun facts:

There are three different colors of lentils:

brown: soften when cooked and become mushy; best for use in soups

green: stay firm when cooked; best for salads

red: fasted cooking; turn golden in color and lose their shape; taste milder and sweeter; best for Indian dishes

Cooking instructions:

– water to grain ratio ~ 2:1

– boil 15-30 minutes

– 1 cup dry lentils yields about 2 cups cooked


Lentil Walnut burgers


Fun facts:

There are several different types of rice ~ 40,000 according to most sources I found:

long grain – long and slender and each grain stays separated when cooked

short grain – almost round and will stick together when cooked

instant rice – precooked and then dehydrated to decrease cooking time; convenient but expensive and bland

white rice – bran and germ are removed which also means it is more tender and delicate

brown rice – takes twice as long to cook; the rice bran and germ are retained (only the hull is removed), which increases the fiber content and produces a nuttier flavor and chewier texture

wild rice – a cousin to true rice; not actually a rice

basmati – originally from India; longer grain; dry and fluffy texture

jasmine – originally from Thialand; moist and sticky; shorter grain; double the glycemic index compared to basmati rice

My favorite way to eat rice. . . . in a sushi roll!


Wheat berries

Cooking instructions:

– no need to soak overnight

– water to grain ratio ~ 1:2.5

– cooking time ~ 1 hour



Cooking instructions:

– water to grain ratio ~ 2:1

– cook for 15 minutes


Fruited Bulgar and Lentil Salad

Israeli Couscous

I like couscous, but I’ve really grown to love Israeli couscous. The larger pearl-like beads are especially delicious when boiled in vegetable or chicken broth.

Cooking instructions:

– water to grain ratio ~ 2:1

– cook for 15 minutes


Lemon Couscous with Broccoli

Israeli Couscous with White Beans

I also love pairing Israeli couscous with baked tofu and roasted sweet potatoes.



Distance: 6 miles

Time: 50 minutes

My run this morning went well. The distance seemed short after doing 10 miles the past two days. 🙂

My legs have been feeling quite good considering I am shooting for 60 miles this week!

I also did 60 minutes of Bikram yoga today. I was in bad need of a yoga class!

With the shorter class time, we only had time to do one set of each pose. I thought I wouldn’t mind the shorter class session, but I found myself wishing I could have done each pose a second time, so I think I’ll stick to the 90 minute classes from now on.



What is your favorite grain or psedo-grain to cook with or eat?

    1. I just bought wheatberries and had no idea what to do with them. You are now my grain guru. Great post! 🙂

    1. 60 miles! You are a rockstar!

      My go-to grain is brown rice. I love Israeli couscous too, and I’ve been meaning to try cooking with quinoa more often.

    1. israeli couscous & brown rice are my faves! but my husband loves white rice the best and frankly, i don’t always want to cook 2 different grains (though he will eat the others) so sometimes i eat that…and i like it 🙂

    1. I have recently become addicted to couscous and wheat berries. They are super good and I can never get enough. Adding a fruity vinaigrette to the wheat berries gives some of the best flavour I have ever tried.

    1. You need to put together a cookbook!

      Maybe you could put that on “your list of things to do” this summer.

    1. I love, love quiona . I always mix it up with brown rice. I eat a lot of rice in general. Couscous is great too.

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