Cooking Grains & Legumes

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Cooking grains is easy. You can use simple pot and lid or a rice cooker to cook many different grains and have them ready for you when you walk in the door. Cook a little extra one night and toss it into a salad with chopped vegetables for lunch the next day. Or freeze extra in small containers. Once you get into the habit of having whole grains on hand, you will love them!

Rinsing – don’t skip this part
Just rinse them quickly to remove dust or natural coatings that can give them a bitter taste. Put some in a sieve and run under the tap or put some in a pot and fill with cold water, swirl around and drain.

Soaking – an optional idea for people who find whole grains hard to digest
After rinsing, just soak the whole grain overnight in water before cooking to increase digestibility.

Toasting – an optional idea for bringing out the flavour
Toasting grains before cooking them brings out a nutty flavour and promotes a fluffier grain after cooking. After rinsing, just stir in a large heavy pot over medium heat with a little extra virgin olive oil for about 5 to 10 minutes.

Cooking

  • To simmer grain, bring the water to a rolling boil before stirring in the grain or adding it to toasted grain.
  • Make sure the lid of the pot fits tightly so that little or no steam escapes.
  • For fluffier grain, put a clean towel under the lid of the pot during the standing time. The towel will absorb excess moisture instead of the grain and will keep the grains separate and fluffy.

Grain Standard Stovetop Cooking Times

Grain (1 cup)

Liquid

(cups)

Optional Salt

(teaspoons)

Minutes

Cooking

Standing

Time

(covered) 

Yield

(cups)

Barley, hulled

3

½

50-60

 

3

Barley, pearl

½

30-45

 

Buckwheat*

2

½ - ¾

10-12

5

2

Millet*

½ - ¾

20-25

5

Oats, steel cut

3

½

15

 

 

Quinoa

2

½ - ¾

15

5

3

Rice, basmati white

2

½

15-20

5

3

Rice, brown

½

45-60

10

3

Rice, white

2

½

15-20

5

3

Wheat berries

 

60-90

 

 

Wild rice

¼ **

50-55

10

*toast before boiling for improved flavour and more even cooking

**add salt after cooking to ensure proper absorption of liquid

Cooking Legumes
Start by cleaning beans by rinsing under cool water. Then cover them with water and let them soak.

  • Overnight Soak: Let beans and water stand overnight in refrigerator. Drain.
  • Quick Soak: In a large saucepan, bring water and beans to a boil; cover and boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 1 hour. Drain.

Cover with fresh water, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until soft. Lentils and split peas cook within an hour, while most legumes need a few hours. Crock pots are great to have on hand for cooking beans.