Eco-novice shares fast and healthy dinner options.
I try to serve my family mostly whole grains, but the fact is that they usually take longer to prepare than their refined cousins. Brown rice, for example. I really like brown rice, but it can take nearly an hour to prepare, and sometimes I just don't have that kind of forward-thinking plan-ahead mentality about dinner. Just preparing a main dish requires most of my available brain power, and any side dishes are usually an afterthought. So here are some of our favorite kid-friendly whole grains that can be prepared in less than 20 minutes!
Whole wheat couscous
Boil water, add couscous, take off heat and let cook with the lid on 5 minutes. Now you just have to wait for it to cool! Available at Trader Joe's and other stores. Warning: messy to clean up if your 2-year-old tosses her bowl. Delicious with sweet and savory dishes.
Technically, not even a grain, and loaded with protein and other good things. Until a few years ago, no one (except my father-in-law who grew up in Ecuador) even knew what quinoa was. I first tried it after seeing it at Trader Joe's, but now usually buy it from the bulk section at Whole Foods or in 10 pound bags at Costco. Boil water with quinoa, then simmer for 10-15 minutes. The red variety has a stronger, nuttier taste. Delicious with sweet and savory dishes, with a satisfying slightly nutty chew to it. I love it in stews too.
Whole wheat pasta
The cooking time here varies, but almost any type will be ready in less than 15 minutes of cooking time. For absolute speed, you cannot beat Whole Food's organic whole wheat elbows. They take just 5 minutes to cook -- perfect for ravenous children at lunch time. You can also find brown rice pasta -- a nice whole grain gluten-free option (I think Trader Joe's has the cheapest prices for this).
What is your favorite whole grain to serve for dinner?
Photo credit: jules:stonesoup