Ancient Grains: Einkorn Pilaf with Lemon

I have a new grain to love in my life.  It’s called einkorn (or einkorn farro) and it’s basically an ancient version of our modern wheat.  Before I get into the health benefits, I want to let you know that it is chewy, nutty, and 100% delicious.

Ok, so now that we have the matter of taste cleared up, I’m going to make the case for why you should think about including einkorn at your next meal.  You may have heard that our modern version of wheat is a genetically altered strain that was created to increase yield and profit.  The problem is that it is also much worse for us than its ancestors; it spikes our blood sugar, causes heart disease, and makes us gain weight.  Dr. William Davis makes a good case for this in his book “Wheat Belly“.   Now, I can’t say that I’m ready to jump off the wheat wagon completely.  I like my pizza and bagels (though I’m on day 7 of my 21-day “no sugar or white flour” challenge!) and I don’t want to envision a future in which I never eat those things again.  BUT, it’s interesting food for thought and a good reason to explore some alternative options.  Along with its good taste, einkorn packs a nutritional punch!


Eat up!

Served with a pork chop and spicy arugula salad.

Einkorn Pilaf with Lemon
makes 6-8 servings

– 2 cups einkorn farro, soaked overnight and rinsed
– 1 Tbsp butter
– 1 medium onion, finely chopped
– 1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
– bay leaf
– 1 medium carrot, quartered and thinly sliced
– 1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped into small cubes
– 3 scallions, thinly sliced then roughly chopped, white and light green parts only
– zest of 1 small lemon
– salt, to taste

I recommend soaking the einkorn overnight.  This increases digestibility and shortens cooking time.  If you do not have time to soak it, keep in mind that your cooking time will be increased.

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat.  Add the onions and stir to coat with butter.  Sprinkle with a little salt and cook until soft and translucent, about 7 minutes.

Add einkorn, broth, and bay leaf.  Increase heat to medium-high and cover pot with a tightly fitting lid.  Cook for about 15 minutes, until einkorn is soft but still chewy, stirring occasionally.

Reduce heat to medium.  Add the carrot, stir, and cover pot to cook for 5 more minutes.  Add the bell pepper, cover pot, and remove from heat.  Allow to sit for 10-15 minutes.

Before serving, add scallions, lemon and more salt, if needed.  Serve warm.

* I added this post to this week’s Melt in Your Mouth Monday, Real Food 101, Just Another Meatless Monday, Fat Tuesday, Traditional Tuesdays, Foodie Friday, and Monday Mania.

Blueberry Flax Oatmeal (No Sugar Added)

This recipe is easy peasy, but I think you’ll be surprised at how happy it will make you.  It’s my new favorite way to eat oatmeal and, as far as I’m concerned, it needs no extra sweetness beyond what’s provided by the blueberries.  The trick is to be generous with the fruit and to allow it to cook and soften into the oats.  Check your lips for blueberry stains that suspiciously resemble wine stains before heading out the door for work.  Just sayin’.

Last night, Jeremy and I celebrated our anniversary with dinner at a fancy french restaurant (ooh la la), dessert at one of our favorite neighborhood spots, and roses.  It was a good night and a nice way to launch into the week.  I hope you all had equally lovely weekends!

Blueberry Flax Oatmeal
serves 1

– 1/4 cup steel cut oats, soaked overnight at room temperature (or you could just start with rolled oats in the morning)
– 1 cup frozen blueberries
– 1/2 – 3/4 cup coconut milk (or your favorite type of milk)
– 1 Tbsp ground flax seed

1. If you soaked your oats overnight, rinse them off and add to a small saucepan with coconut milk.

2.  Bring to a simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.  After oats seem to be well-softened, add blueberries.  Cook for another 5 minutes or so, until blueberries are cooked through and soft.

3.  Pour into a bowl and top with flax seed.