Fall is a great time to reacquaint yourself with your favorite whole grains. Robust nutritional properties aside, whole grains offer a wide range of play when it comes to flavor — amaranth is a bit grassy, kasha can be smoky, and millet has a mild corn flavor. But as we turn to cozier, heartier fare, it can become tricky to find creative ways to work whole grains into easy, everyday meals. One solution: soup!
In much the same way that many people add pasta to their chicken soups or rice to their mushroom soups, whole grains can be folded into just about any soup for added flavor, texture and nutrition. I love this trick in the cooler months because we often cook a big pot of grains on a Sunday or Monday to eat throughout the week, so it's an easy way to use up leftovers as well.
How to go about adding grains to your soup recipes? I generally fold the grains in already cooked so as not to alter the liquid proportions of the soup itself (I'd rather not have the grains cook in the soup broth), and I go slow so as not to overwhelm the soup with too much cooked grain. A few winners are quinoa and millet: I find they turn even the most modest of pureed soups into a heartier affair in no time. I also love more robust grains like farro or wheat berries in chunky soups like minestrone or chowders.
(Image: Megan Gordon)