Old grains are all the rage in the culinary world right now and have been gracing the pages of culinary flavor makers like Bon Appetit for the past few months. If you want to get into the food trend, Maine grows a diverse selection of grains that are fun and delicious for home cooking.
But how do you start with old grains, those delicious wheat, emmer and other seeds that, unlike modern wheat, have remained unchanged for generations?
The Maine grown grain revolution has been on the rise in Skowhegan for years as companies like Maine Grains grow, harvest, and sell delicious specialty oats, barley, and the like. Aside from just being mixed in the kitchen and assisting local growers, these grains are often healthier and healthier than their traditional counterparts.
You can easily trade whole grains into many recipes and baked goods by adjusting the dimensions. However, sometimes it’s more fun choosing a recipe that has the grains to shine. Here are 9 Maine Grain Recipes you can try today to incorporate into your culinary routine.
Germinated wheat quickbread
Here’s a simple, tasty recipe that uses sprouted flour or spelled – an ancient grain closely related to wheat and known for its additional health benefits – in a quick bread or muffin. If you’re turning to old grains for a gluten-free alternative, this gluten-rich bread is not for you, but delicious nonetheless. Try this sprouted wheat quickbread if you want to mix up your loaf routine.
Warm Fried Sweet Potato Salad from Chipotle Maple with Farro and Kale
Warm Fried Sweet Potato Salad from Chipotle Maple with Farro and Kale Photo credit: Sarah Walker Caron / BDN
Farro was popular in ancient Rome and is grown in Maine today. It’s high in fiber, protein, and iron. When cooked, it is soft with a slightly sweet nuttiness. This salad starts with this healthy grain and is topped with a green that is good for you with spicy-sweet, warm sweet potatoes and a refreshing citrus dressing. You’re sure to want to make this warm chipotle maple sweet potato salad with farro and kale over and over again.
Creamy barley pudding with raisins and nuts
Barley can be cooked and used similar to rice. If you like rice pudding, this delicious barley pudding with raisins and nuts is a creamy, sweet and savory, and local alternative. Try making this creamy barley pudding
Barley risotto with caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms and roasted peppers Photo credit: Sarah Walker Caron / BDN
Traditional risotto is an Italian rice dish made by slowly cooking the rice with small amounts of wine and warm broth until it becomes plump and becomes a creamy, dreamy dish. Risotto can also be made with grains other than rice. In fact, barley and farro can make delicious risotto-like dishes using the same cooking method used in traditional risottos for non-traditional grains. Try this recipe for barley risotto with caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms, and roasted peppers for a twist on the Italian classic.
Making a pilaf with barley is a great base with seemingly infinite variations. You can spice it up with a variety of vegetables, herbs, nuts, and meat, as well as other grains like wheat berries. This barley pilaf recipe provides a solid foundation for a number of delicious meals.
Fried broccoli grain bowl with shallot vinaigrette
This is a fresh, boldly flavored dish that is satisfying, yet fairly simple. Chopped shallots, olive oil, white wine vinegar, honey and a hint of mustard come together in a flavorful, rich dressing for roasted vegetables and any grain you want to try, like barley or farro. Use this toasted broccoli bowl with shallot vinaigrette recipe to try all kinds of Maine grains you might want to try.
Warm Farro Barley Hearty Salad
Grains like barley, farro, wheat, or even rye are cooked tenderly but still tough. Accompanied by some dried fruits, onions, cheese, nuts, bacon and biting dressing, each of these grains makes a good warm salad or a salad at room temperature. Serve it next to a roast or on a salad as an independent dish. Check out this warm hearty Farro Barley Salad recipe to get started.
Polenta with Gorgonzola
Cornmeal polenta was once eaten by people looking for a hearty, cheap meal, but has recently gained popularity in culinary circles. This dish takes advantage of the unbeatable way polenta is paired with the heavily flavored cheese. This recipe for polenta with gorgonzola is simple but tastes like something from a trendy restaurant.
Parchment paper can make this applesauce dessert easier to handle. Photo credit: Courtesy of Sandy Oliver
Maine oatmeal is perfect for this simple dessert. As an added bonus, it’s flour-free, so it’s also great for those who avoid gluten. Try this delicious applesauce dessert for breakfast or with a scoop of ice cream for dessert.
Cooking with Maine grains is more fun, can be good for your health, and supports a growing agricultural sector in the state.