5 Things to Do for a Tastier Pot of Grains

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Aida Mollenkamp)

By now you’ve mastered making a pot of grains. You know all about the freestyle route, and how to avoid common pitfalls, but are you in a flavor rut? No worries — that’s an easy problem to solve. Simply follow these small and helpful tips for bigger and better flavor in your favorite pot of grains.

1. Toast first for tastier grains.

Before you get to actually cooking that pot of grains, toast them on the stovetop or in the oven first. This simple step elevates their naturally nutty or earthy flavors and makes them noticeably tastier.

Read More: My Number One Tip for Cooking Better Grains

2. You can also partially cook, then fry your quinoa.

Up your grain game with crunchy quinoa. Okay, so quinoa is really a seed, but this method is smart. Trade in soft quinoa and up the crunch factor by frying already-cooked quinoa in a large skillet, then use it for soups, salads, tacos, and muesli.

3. Skip measuring and cook your grains like pasta.

Can’t seem to remember all those grain-to-water ratios and cook times? You’re not alone. Leave the measuring cups where they are and cook your grains like pasta: Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, then simmer the grains freestyle, stirring every so often, until they reach the texture you prefer.

4. Swap water for a more flavorful cooking liquid.

For more flavorful grains, swap out all (or part) of the water for another liquid. Even though most recipes call for water, you can use just about any type of liquid. Consider stock, fruit or vegetable juices, tea, coconut milk, or even wine or beer.

5. Go on, add a sauce.

Let’s face it — on their own, grains aren’t all that jazzy. They’re really the workhorse of the plate (or bowl) and need a little help looking pretty and tasting great. So go ahead and top your grains with a sauce that will complement their natural flavor.