Now a grain is defined as the seed or fruit of cereal grass. Grains are filled with vitamins, minerals, fiber and even protein. Cooking usually requires boiling the grain in water, but a grain can also be ground into a flour and used for baking and other purposes. Some grains can even be puffed or popped, like corn, for example. There are literally hundreds of edible grains world-wide, but these are some of the more common gluten-free ones:
Rice and Corn are Versatile Gluten-Free Grains
Rice. Rice is available as whole grain brown rice or, when the bran is removed, white rice. There are long, medium and short grain varieties, with the shortest being the most sticky, as well as fragrant kinds like Basmati and Jasmine rice. The great thing about rice is that it’s very versatile. For example, it can be boiled and used in savory or sweet dishes, it can be puffed and eaten as a cereal or rice cake and it can also be ground into flour making it a great wheat substitute in breads, cakes and other baked goods.
Next, we have corn, which is another widely used and versatile gluten-free grain. Corn can be popped and eaten as popcorn, it can be puffed and eaten as cereal and other snacks and it can also be ground to varying degrees and used in polenta, grits, tortillas and tortilla chips and many other products.
Ground Millet Can Substitute for Flour
The third grain on this list is millet which is a small, yellowish grain with a subtle flavor. Lightly boiled millet is nice and fluffy and can be eaten as you would eat rice. It can also be popped, like corn, or ground and made into a porridge or polenta. Finely ground millet can also be used as a flour substitute.
Nutritional Benefits in Gluten-Free Grains
The fourth gain on this list is Amaranth, which is technically a herb. Amaranth can be popped like popcorn, boiled like rice, ground into a flour or made into a cereal. In terms of nutritional value, amaranth is the best source of iron among gluten-free grains and also contains a high amount of protein.
Next we have buckwheat, which contrary to it’s name is not actually wheat. Instead, it is a very nutritious pseudograin with a pleasantly nutty flavor. Toasted buckwheat groats are used to make kasha, and untoasted buckwheat is used in soba noodles. To cook buckwheat groats, you boil them in water, similarly to how you would cook rice. Buckwheat flour can be used in baking and other types of cooking.
Last but not least we have quinoa, which is a highly nutritious pseudograin that happens to be a complete protein. Quinoa comes in red and brown varieties and looks a little bit like couscous when it’s boiled. Quinoa is a very versatile grain that can be used in many sweet and savory dishes. It can also be turned into flour and used in baked goods.