Ancient grains: anything but passé

By / Food / September 9th, 2019 / 15
Ancient grains freekeh

With consumer trends moving away from highly-processed foods, ancient grains are topping many a grocery list. Ancient grains typically refer to nutrient-dense yields planted and harvested a long time ago with minimal human intervention: the staples our ancestors would have eaten. And when we say ancestors, think biblical. Think Neolithic. That’s how far back this good stuff goes. As it turns out, years of buying and feeding ourselves sucrose-coated, fruit-flavoured cereals hasn’t done us much good.

Which begs the question: how do today’s grains measure up to their ancient equivalents? Well, if you put virtually anything up against the likes of white bread and heavily transformed alternatives, it’s a winning game. So, one way to pay homage to ancestral diets is to reintegrate complex grains and cereals into our modern fare. The truth remains: the less processing grains undergo, the more yummy goodness our bodies can use for nutrition and energy. That is the essence of ancient grains.

Complex carbs aren’t all that complicated

Luckily, for those trying to incorporate ancient grains into their diets, they are so in right now. It’s a trend grocery stores are happy to supply choice for, introducing curious shoppers to the sweet, sweet world of whole grains.

Revamp your complex carb routine with barley, bulgur and spelt. Sensitive to gluten? Dip into the likes of buckwheat, quinoa and millet. We know your culinary creative muscle is craving better days! There is so much to discover beyond instant oatmeal packets and microwavable seasoned rice bags. The reward of ancient grains lies in their robust flavours and nutrient-dense benefits your body will love.

Reinvigorate your favourite dishes at home with these tried, tested and true options!

Get your freekeh on

Freekeh is commonly used in Middle Eastern dishes. It’s a lot like bulgur, with a satisfying chew and a nutty taste. It’s just what you need to jazz up a cold, marinated chickpea salad, or even act as a binder in veggie patties slathered in tahini and topped with tabbouleh.

Just barley scratching the surface

Barley is straight-up chef’s-kiss delicious. It also has crazy amounts of fiber – nearly 24 percent of your daily value in just one cup. It’s fab in both hot or cold dishes (think burrito or poke bowl). For those of you with a sweet tooth, toss it into your morning yoghurt with a pinch of cinnamon (and maybe slivered almond for added deliciousness, too).

We quinoa believe it, either

Gluten intolerants, this one’s for you! This gluten-free, plant-based protein means business. First-time tasters can treat it a bit like brown rice. Mix it into the filling on your next taco night. Or take it a step further and use it as a bed for your veggies in a Thai curry sauce.

Feeling adventurous? Browse our recipes to find the inspiration you’ve been waiting for.


A self-proclaimed bookworm and logophile, Laura loves writing; writing about food is about as good as it gets. Though she enjoys discovering new restaurants around Montreal, few haunts can surpass the simple pleasures of a great home-cooked meal and a smooth glass of wine.

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