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Cook with Whole Grains in Honor of National Nutrition Month

Cook with Whole Grains in Honor of National Nutrition Month


Each March, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics celebrates National Nutrition Month® by focusing attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.

We're celebrating the month by sharing recipes using whole grains that may be new to you. Give them a try!

Have you ever heard of freekeh? How about quinoa or farro? Packed with protein, fiber and other health-boosting nutrients — whole grains offer the benefits of the entire grain kernel.

Tri-Color Quinoa Pilaf With Peppers


  • 1/3 each red and yellow peppers, finely diced
  • 1 tsp shallots, fresh peeled, minced
  • 1/2 tsp fresh garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 thyme sprig, fresh
  • 1/4 cup canned pinto beans, drained
  • 6 Tbsp tri-color quinoa
  • 3/4 cup vegetable broth


  1. Roast the peppers over an open flame until charred all over. Cover and allow to sit until cool enough to handle. Peel charred skin, and remove the stem, core and seeds. Dice, then set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Add 1 Tbsp vegetable broth to an all metal saucepan. Sweat the shallots and garlic in the broth until tender. Add quinoa, remaining broth, salt, bay leaf, pepper and thyme. Bring liquid to a simmer. Add pinto beans. Transfer to a casserole dish, cover with foil and place in the oven. Cook for about 15 minutes or until the quinoa is tender. Add more vegetable broth if necessary. Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes before uncovering the pan. Remove and discard the bay leaf and thyme. Fluff the quinoa with a fork.
  3. Add diced red and yellow peppers and gently fold into the quinoa. Cover and place in the oven. Allow the mixture to rest and steam for a few minutes, then take out of the oven.

90 calories  •  1g fat  •  0g saturated fat  •  90mg sodium • 18g carbohydrates  •  2g fiber  •  4g protein

Farro Mushroom Risotto With Sun-Dried Tomatoes


  • 1 cup farro grain, dry
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup low-sodium vegetable stock
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tbsp fresh onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh garlic cloves, minced
  • 2/3 cup canned Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • canola oil (3/4 tsp, plus 1 Tbsp and 1 tsp)
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, julienned
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup green onions, bias cut
  • 3 oz button mushrooms, quartered
  • 2-3/4 oz Swiss chard, julienned
  • 3 oz Brussels sprouts, sliced


  1. Place the farro onto a baking pan and toast in a 300°F oven until the grains begin to brown slightly (about 20 minutes). While the farro is toasting, bring water to a rolling boil. Add the farro to the boiling water. Cook for 30-40 minutes until the grains are cooked through. Drain and set aside to cool.
  2. Heat a pan over medium heat; add 3/4 tsp canola oil, onions and garlic. Add the pepper flakes and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Pour in 1/4 cup vegetable stock and bring to a simmer. Add the Great Northen beans, return to a simmer and cook for 5-10 minutes. Place the mixture into a food processor and puree until smooth. Cool completely.
  3. Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp canola oil, Brussels sprouts and mushrooms to the pan; cook for 3-4 minutes until Brussel sprouts begin to get tender. Add cut Swiss chard and cook until it softens. Add sun-dried tomatoes, cooked farro, and remaining vegetable stock. Bring to a simmer and reduce slightly. Add white bean puree to finish. For each serving, portion 1-1/2 cups of risotto into a bowl and garnish with 1 Tbsp of green onions and 1 Tbsp shredded Parmesan cheese.

330 calories  •  7g fat  •  1.5g saturated fat  •  390mg sodium • 53g carbohydrates  •  9g fiber  •  15g protein

Grilled Fish Tacos With Freekeh, Cilantro and Tomatoes


  • 1 lb tilapia
  • 1/4 cup Cajun seasoning
  • 4 oz freekeh, dry
  • 2 cups water
  • 8 6-inch tortillas
  • 1/2 cup tomatoes, diced small
  • 2 oz queso fresco Mexican cheese
  • 1 cup shredded red cabbage
  • 1 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 8 lime wedges
  • 8 scallions, bias cut


  1. Prepare the tilapia. Sprinkle with Cajun seasoning and coat well. Cook tilapia on a char-grill or grill pan until well browned on each side and internal temperature reaches 130°F.
  2. Boil the water and cook the freekeh until tender (20-25 minutes). Drain any water remaining and set aside to cool.
  3. Crumble the queso fresco. Set aside. Shred the cabbage and prep the rest of the ingredients.
  4. Build the tacos: Divide the cabbage evenly among the tortilla shells. Top each with 2 oz. tilapia, 1 Tbsp tomatoes, 3 Tbsp freekeh and 1/4 oz crumbled queso fresco. Garnish with 1/2 tsp cilantro, 1 sliced scallion and 1 lime wedge.

360 calories  •  9g fat  •  3.5g saturated fat  •  310mg sodium • 43g carbohydrates  •  9g fiber  •  31g protein

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