Whole grains are one of the oldest most nutrient-dense plant-based foods that you can eat. With that said, there’s lots of confusion around grains, whether they are good for you or bad for you, and how they differ from other grains.

So, what are whole grains?

To start, we look at where grains come from. These compounds are “the seeds of grass-like plants called cereals,”  which include common “varieties [such as] are corn, rice, and wheat.” Yet, certain seeds “of non-grass plants, or pseudocereals, are also considered whole grains, including buckwheat, quinoa, and amaranth.” What makes whole grain different from refined grains is the make. Whole grains include the entire kernel: bran — the “hard, outer shell … [that] … contains fiber, minerals, and antioxidants” — endosperm — which is “the middle layer of the grain” made mostly of carbs — and germ — which is the “inner layer” containing “vitamins, minerals, protein, and plant compounds.”

Whole grains that you may recognize include millet, quinoa, brown rice, wild rice, wheat berry, bulgur, buckwheat, barley, whole rye, sorghum, and oatmeal.

These high-nutrient plant-based compounds offer a variety of health benefits such as a reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, and obesity, as well as a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes, a healthier digestive system, reduced chronic inflammation, and it may even reduce your risk of cancer. Try these 15 whole grain plant-based recipes from the Food Monster App!

1. Coconut Date Puffed Millet BarsCoconut Date Puffed Millet Bars

Source: Coconut Date Puffed Millet Bars

These Coconut Date Puffed Millet Bars by Angelina Papanikolaou are great for a few reasons. First, they don’t require any baking, which is perfect for these hot summer days. Second, they are rich with energy-boosting nutrients. Lastly, since they are rich in fiber-full whole grain millet, these bars are also incredibly satisfying!

2. Quinoa Lentil BallsQuinoa Lentil Balls

Source: Quinoa Lentil Balls

Quinoa is a must-have in a whole grain-friendly kitchen! These cruelty-free, vegan Quinoa Lentil Balls by Kristen Genton will splendidly mimic a traditional meatball, yet without the unwanted cholesterol and crammed with nutrient-dense and fiber-rich quinoa!

3. Basil Coconut Brown RiceBasil Coconut Brown Rice

Source: Basil Coconut Brown Rice

This Basil Coconut Brown Rice recipe by Crissy Cavanaugh is super simple, yet brimming with flavor! Try this recipe for your next curry-based dinner and don’t be afraid to amp up that spice. Cavanaugh recommends adding a bit of healthy fat-filled macadamia nuts for more crunch.

4. Cream of Wild Rice SoupCream of Wild Rice Soup

Source: Cream of Wild Rice Soup

Whether you’re healthy, sick, cold or hot, a cream-based soup is one of the best comfort foods to have on hand. This Cream of Wild Rice Soup recipe by Ashley Flitter is filled with nutrient-rich wild rice, yet offers a savory, nutty, and aromatic component, which makes this soup stand out from the rest.

5. Stuffed Acorn Squash with Wheat Berries, Pine Nuts, and SageStuffed Acorn Squash with Wheat Berries, Pine Nuts, and Sage

Source: Stuffed Acorn Squash with Wheat Berries, Pine Nuts, and Sage

If you like squash and haven’t tried acorn, this is the recipe to begin your experimentation. Acorn squash offers a sweet, earthy, and fresh nutty flavor to any larger dish. This Stuffed Acorn Squash with Wheat Berries, Pine Nuts, and Sage recipe by Laura Wright integrates these culinary components along with aromatic garlic and savory pine nuts.

6. Spicy Bulgur and Vegetable StewSpicy Bulgur and Vegetable Stew

Source: Spicy Bulgur and Vegetable Stew

Another stew, yet this one has quite a kick! This Spicy Bulgur and Vegetable Stew recipe by Deniz Kilic is a great dish to prep for the week and heat up on those days you’re too tired to cook. The spice will keep it feeling fresh with each reheat, plus the nutrient-dense peppers, tomatoes, apples, pumpkin, and bulgur will keep you fueled until Friday. Top with fresh herbs and seeds to keep it interesting!

7. Buckwheat Breakfast BowlBuckwheat Breakfast Bowl

Source: Buckwheat Breakfast Bowl

Who said you can’t start the day with those formerly dinner-restricted whole grains? This gluten-free Buckwheat Breakfast Bowl recipe by Mareya Ibrahim is filled with heart-healthy buckwheat groats paired with sweet cinnamon and healthy fat-filled coconut. It’s the perfect bowl to wake you up, fill your tummy, and energize your day.

8. Simple Barley SaladSimple Barley Salad

Source: Simple Barley Salad

Grains don’t have to be complicated in order to be enjoyed. This Simple Barley Salad recipe by Elsa Brobbey is the perfect example of a simple and quick recipe that is still filled with creative flavors such as earthy pumpkin seeds and sweet corn. Plus, this recipe can be enjoyed either warm or cold!

9. Rye Blueberry MuffinsRye Blueberry Muffins

Source: Rye Blueberry Muffins

Sometimes you just can’t go without those morning staples. If you’re looking for a healthy alternative, try making a pan of these Rye Blueberry Muffins recipe by Amarilis Moldes. Not only are they vegan-friendly, but these muffins are packed with antioxidant powerhouse blueberries and whole grain-rich rye!

10. Sorghum Banana Paniyaram: Indian Steamed BreadSorghum Banana Paniyaram: Indian Steamed Bread

Source: Sorghum Banana Paniyaram: Indian Steamed Bread

Looking for a vegan and gluten-free sweet bread alternative with a bit of a twist? This Sorghum Banana Paniyaram: Indian Steamed Bread recipe by Preeti Tamilarasan uses gluten-free sorghum, rice flour, and palm jaggery to build the dough and paired with sweet banana and savory cardamom to give it a bit of extra flavor.

11. Warm Blueberry Overnight OatsWarm Blueberry Overnight Oats

Source: Warm Blueberry Overnight Oats

Overnight oats are yet another staple in any busy household. They are super simple to make, yet still retain a nutrient-dense profile to give your body what it needs! This Warm Blueberry Overnight Oats recipe by Sophie Parker is a perfect contrast of the neutral-base of fiber-rich oats, mixed with adaptogenic maca powder, and super-sweet antioxidant-rich blueberries.

12. Almond Millet KheerAlmond Millet Kheer

Source: Almond Millet Kheer

Millet is one of those incredibly diverse whole grains that is oftentimes forgotten about. This Almond Millet Kheer recipe by Natasha Minocha is an alternative to traditional morning oatmeal. It’s got a super delicious creamy custard-like texture that mixes the warmth of almond milk with aromatic cardamom, rose-water, and crunchy roasted cashews and pistachios.

13. Thai Quinoa Stir FryThai Quinoa Stir Fry

Source: Thai Quinoa Stir Fry

If you haven’t tried crisping your quinoa, now’s the time to get creative! This Thai Quinoa Stir Fry recipe by Andri Neocleous offers a vegan, super-healthy, nutrient-dense, and healthy fat-filled alternative to your traditional Chinese fried rice.

14. Winter Wheat Berry SaladWinter Wheat Berry Salad

Source: Winter Wheat Berry Salad

Don’t let the name fool you, this wonderful fiber-rich salad is great for any season! This Winter Wheat Berry Salad recipe by Larice Feuerstein harnesses the nutrient-rich profile of wheat berries and pairs these nutty bites with a host of sweet and citrusy flavors including oranges, dried cranberries, sweet potato, and beets.

15. Hearty Buckwheat Waffles with Strawberries

Source: Hearty Buckwheat Waffles with Strawberries

It’s Saturday morning and you want to create a masterpiece that is sweet, yet healthy. What do you do? Try out these Hearty Buckwheat Waffles with Strawberries recipe by Campolucci Bordi. This recipe utilizes heart healthy almond and buckwheat flours for the dough, while also infusing the meal with healthy fat-filled coconut oil, adaptogenic cacao powder, and antioxidant-rich fresh strawberries.

We also highly recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 15,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to new recipes every day. Check it out!

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