To Your Health

Ancient grains for modern tables

Farro, millet, quinoa, and sorghum are all ancient grains, which is the name for cereal crops that have been largely unchanged in the past several hundred years. Here’s a variety of nutritious ancient grains to add to your plate.


Farro This grain is popular in Italy and is related to wheat. It comes in three varieties: farro piccolo (einkorn), farro medio (emmer), and farro grande (spelt). Whole–grain farro berries are high in fiber and are great in soup, risotto, and salad. They cook faster if you soak them overnight. You can also try farro pasta.
Millet This tropical, yellow–hued grain is a small seed. It cooks to a grainy or creamy consistency, depending on cooking time and how much liquid is added. Enjoy as a morning porridge with cinnamon and raisins, or as part of a pilaf mixed with quinoa. Millet is gluten–free and high in magnesium.
Quinoa This Peruvian native is also a seed rather than a true grain. Quinoa cooks quickly (15 minutes), is a complete protein and is high in iron  and B–vitamins. It’s also  gluten–free. It comes in tan, black, and red varieties.
Sorghum This gluten–free grain is popular in Africa and is the 5th most important cereal crop globally. The small circular orbs are about the size of peppercorns and hold their shape well when cooked. The nutty flavor makes sorghum perfect for savory side dishes. Bonus: Sorghum pops like popcorn when heated with oil.


—by Cara Rosenbloom, RD

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