Is This Gluten-Free Grain The Next Big Thing?

Sorry, not sorry – we have mixed feelings about calling a plain old grain “the next big thing”, but there it is. Quinoa and oats never let us down, but there’s an ancient grain we think deserves more attention – and we’re doing our part to put it on your radar. We’re learning about sorghum from gluten-free goddess, Amy Valpone of The Healthy Apple who partnered with us on this essential series. Here’s what you need to know… 

Gluten-free whole grains are top of mind for many people these days. We’ve all had quinoa and rice to the hilt, but how about expanding your palate to other gluten-free grains? In the last two years, I’ve been using a lot of millet, amaranth and sorghum in my recipes ranging from morning porridge with almond milk to roasted Buddha bowls in the evening. These grains are incredibly versatile and easy to make but they’re probably not the first thing you grab when you’re food shopping. However, ancient grains are proving they’re full of health benefits as well as fiber and they’re starting to pop up in everything from breads to cereals to crackers from your favorite brands.

Sorghum is a hearty cereal grain much larger in size than quinoa, amaranth or millet. I often cook up a batch (it takes about an hour to cook) and then use it throughout the week in everything from soups to chili to salads and smoothies. My best advice is to cook up a batch of your favorite gluten-free grain on a Sunday night and store it in your fridge in a sealed container for up to four days. This way you don’t have to slave over your oven every time you are in the mood for a whole grain to add some oomph to your meals.

When you make your grains ahead of time, all you need to do is remove them from the fridge, scoop out the portion that you’d like to eat onto a large skillet coated with coconut oil or avocado oil, and sprinkle it with sea salt and pepper. Depending on the time of day and whether you’re in the mood for something sweet or savory, you can choose from the below spices or create your own meal and flavor profile.

Cinnamon: Ground cinnamon mixed with coconut oil, sea salt and pepper.

Paprika: Paprika, fresh lemon zest and lemon juice mixed with avocado oil, sea salt and pepper.

Rosemary: Fresh rosemary with coconut oil, sea salt and pepper.

Parsley: Fresh parsley, fresh orange zest and orange juice mixed with avocado oil, sea salt and pepper.

Basil: Fresh basil, shallots, and crushed red pepper flakes with avocado oil, sea salt and pepper.

If you haven’t cooked with sorghum before, don’t worry; just think of it like cooking rice. All you need to do is prepare it on the stovetop in a saucepan with water. The directions will be on the package you purchase so it will be easy to make. Sorghum isn’t just for cooking, it’s also for popping. You can pop it like you would popcorn on the stovetop or use it in salads, stuffing, pilafs or swap it in any recipe that calls for whole grains.

You can purchase it just like you would rice, as a dry grain in the dry goods section of the food store, and use sorghum for any meal or snack. Here are a few ways to serve sorghum…

Sorghum Buddha Bowl:

Add cooked sorghum to a serving plate with black beans, avocado, cilantro, sesame seeds, sea salt and pepper.

Sorghum Salad:

Add popped sorghum to a bowl of leafy greens with chopped purple cabbage, dried cranberries, slivered almonds, a drizzle of tahini, sea salt and pepper.

Sorghum Flour:

Sorghum flour can be swapped for whole wheat flour for your baked goods!

Sorghum Breakfast Porridge:

Make yourself a bowl of cereal with a whole-grain gluten-free cereal like Nature’s Path Qi’a Superflakes, which contain sprouted organic sorghum. They’re loaded with protein and are easy to serve as a porridge cereal for breakfast, a snack or dessert with coconut milk yogurt or almond milk.

Sorghum Pudding:

Make this pudding like you would rice pudding but use sorghum instead. Try adding full fat coconut milk, Brazil nuts and honey for a topping.

Sorghum Syrup:

Sorghum syrup has an earthy sweetness to it. It’s rich in flavor and can be used in place of pure maple syrup or honey in recipes. Try adding sorghum syrup to your favorite baked goods or salad dressings with tahini, fresh lemon juice, sea salt and pepper.

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