Tame the Ancient Grains

Tame the Ancient Grains

Posted by Geneviève Nadeau on Sep 12, 2012 | Food And Nutrition

You probably have a weak spot for rice or spaghetti. Beyond these starchy foods, however, exists a wide array of other nourishing cereal products that are just as likely to satisfy your taste buds. Do you know about “ancient grainsˮ? Quinoa, amaranthine, freekeh… Old, you say? They are finding their way to modern times! These unsung products are gaining in popularity because of their high nutritious value and their very subtle nut taste. These cereals dinstinguish themselves from maintsream ones like wheat, oatmeal, and corn because they have stayed true to their genetic footprint and were not modified. Do not let yourselves be intimidated by their out-of-the-box names… Dare to cook them and surprise your guests every time!


If you think that quinoa is a cereal, think again! It is a “pseudo cerealˮ, meaning it is the product of a plant from the same family as that of spinach and beet. We call quinoa a “super cerealˮ as research has shown that it can contain up to 50% more protein than other common cereals, as well as higher quantities of calcium, phosphorus, iron, and B12 vitamin. Cook it as you would rice (one part of quinoa for two parts of liquid), then serve it as a salad with diced tomatoes, citrus juice, garlic and fresh parsley. Use it to stuff roasted peppers or to replace oatmeal at breakfast.


A close cousin of quinoa, amaranthine is frequently used in gluten-free cuisine. It can sometimes de found in the form of a small puffed pearl, which can be eaten with cereal for breakfast. Aztecs were among the first to have used amaranthine. It benefited from a very good reputation with this people, since it gave them energy and improved the athletic performance of hunters and warriors. Nowadays, we eat it first and foremost for enjoyment! Dress amaranthine like rice, and add fresh fruit (strawberries, raspberries), black chocolate chips and an inkling of honey when you bake it. A delicious compromise for sweet-taste lovers!


New on the market, freekeh is actually a process which consists of grilling and drying wheat grains that have yet to mature. We also call it “Green Wheatˮ. To cook one cup (250 ml) of freekeh, you will need 2 ½ cups (625 ml) of water or sodium-reduced broth. Let it simmer at low heat until all of the liquid has been absorbed. In a casserole with sautéed vegetables and shrimps, or in an acorn squash as a side-dish to the meat of your choice, freekeh is guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser. It will make you mad… in love!

From Yesterday, Still Great Today!

Other ancient cereals are resurfacing due to their healthy components: millet, buckwheat, kamut, spelt… Their existence can sometimes be traced back as far as 5,000 years B.C.! And since these types of cereals’ nutritional profile remains particularly surprising, we are not done talking about them in the future.