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February 2001

Millet, Kasha, Quinoa: Against The Grain

Rice and pasta are nice, but if you want variety, add some millet, kasha, or quinoa to your trail menu.

Cornmeal: The best-tasting, most nutritious cornmeal is stone-ground from the whole grain, since it retains the bran, endosperm, and nutrient-rich germ. While its use in cornbread is most familiar, this versatile meal can be used to make a hearty breakfast dish similar to grits or formed into polenta and topped with cheese or sauce. A cup of cooked, whole-grain cornmeal contains 442 calories, 10 grams protein, 94 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams fat, and 9 grams dietary fiber.

Buckwheat groats or kasha: It’s produced from buckwheat, an herb native to Russia. Buckwheat kernels are hulled and crushed into “groats” in a coarse, medium, or fine grind. The reddish brown kasha is merely groats that have been roasted to give them a nuttier flavor. Cooked kasha’s somewhat mushy consistency makes it a great binder for veggie patties and a good way to bulk up chili and soups. A cup of cooked kasha contains about 154 calories, 6 grams protein, 33 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fat, and 5 grams dietary fiber.

Bulgur: Originating in the Middle East, bulgur is made from wheat berries. The bran is removed and the berries are cooked, dried, and crushed. Bulgur’s nutty flavor adds pizzazz to pancakes and cereal and serves as a filling substitute for meat in Mexican or Italian dishes. Most commonly, it’s the base for tabbouleh, a Lebanese salad. A cup of cooked bulgur has about 151 calories, 6 grams protein, 34 grams carbohydrates, .4 grams fat, and 8 grams dietary fiber.

Couscous (koos-koos): Common in North African dishes, couscous looks like a grain but in fact is a tiny pasta made from flour, water, and salt. Often used as a potato substitute, couscous is a versatile little nugget that’s good in salads and soups and with fruit, nuts, and sauce. A cup of cooked couscous has approximately 176 calories, 6 grams protein, 36 grams carbohydrates, .3 grams fat, and 2 grams dietary fiber.

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