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If you’re getting tired of the usual rice or pasta and are looking for something new to eat, try looking back in time to ancient grains. Eating ancient grains may be one of the hot new food trends, but these whole grains have been around for centuries, as far back as the ancient Egyptians.

With modern grains such as wheat and corn being manipulated and hybridized in order to increase production while reducing costs, they resemble and taste very different than their ancestors. Some believe that these changes may be why there is increasing intolerance for these grains among people. But ancient grains are grown from seeds that have been around for many years and have not been manipulated. Read all about it in What Are Ancient Grains? And Why You Should Eat Them.

What are ancient grains? They include but are not limited to amaranth, barley, buckwheat, bulgur, farro, freekeh, kamut, millet, quinoa, sorghum, spelt, teff, and wheat berries. Besides being natural and healthy, these ancient grains have unique tastes and textures and many of them are gluten-free.

Read about a dozen of the ancient grains and get lots of recipes and cooking tips in Now that You Can Pronounce Quinoa, Try These Other Whole Grains. Then get ready to go retro and try these new recipes with ancient grains.

1. Popped Amaranth Peanut Butter Cups

Popped Amaranth Peanut Butter Cups [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

Instead of corn, try popping the ancient grain amaranth. Then use those popped grains to make these Popped Amaranth Peanut Butter Cups. Just four ingredients and you can be enjoying these homemade peanut butter cups that are a healthier and yummier twist on the traditional ones.

2. Simple Barley Salad

Simple Barley Salad

This Simple Barley Salad may be simple, but it contains lots of satisfying ingredients. Pearl barley, cashews, pumpkin seeds, and corn make this a hearty and delicious salad that can be a side or main dish. With its sweet and spicy flavors, this salad can be served warm or cold.

3. Buckwheat Sushi With Beetroot Juice, Tempeh, and Avocado

Buckwheat Sushi With Beetroot Juice, Tempeh, and Avocado [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

Swap out the sushi rice with healthier cooked buckwheat and you’ll feel full longer. This Buckwheat Sushi with Beetroot Juice, Tempeh and Avocado is a protein-packed dish that will make your usual sushi night more exciting and colorful.

4. Persephone Bowl

Persephone Bowl [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

This Persephone Bowl is a celebration of flavors and textures. With bulgur wheat, lentils, and lots of veggies, it’s colorful, vibrant and literally bursting with juicy flavors. Oranges and pomegranates add sweetness and color to this hearty bowl.

5. Red Lentil and Amaranth Protein Patties With Spicy Avocado Mayo


These Red Lentil and Amaranth Protein Patties are simple to make, amazingly versatile, and delicious. Made with the gluten-free ancient grain amaranth, these are great on a salad, as an appetizer or as a veggie burger topped with a spicy avocado mayo.

6. Spring Onion Farro Fritters With Fresh Peas, Asparagus, Radish and Tahini Mint Dressing


Farro is the ancient grain in these Spring Onion Farro Fritters with Fresh Peas, Asparagus, Radish, and Tahini Dressing. The fritters sit atop a salad that’s loaded with fresh veggies. The tahini dressing is rich, creamy, and delicious. This salad is light but full of flavor and so satisfying.

7. Freekeh Kale Salad


Kale isn’t the only superfood making an appearance in this salad. This Freekeh Kale Salad has two leading co-stars with super-nutritious ancient grains and dark leafy greens. The supporting cast of dried apricots, crunchy sunflower seeds, and a full-flavor miso dressing create a winning, super-satisfying salad.

8. Healthy Vegan Cocoa Puffed Rice and Kamut Crispies


These Vegan Cocoa Puffed Rice and Kamut Crispies are a healthy, vegan take on a classic cereal treats. Using a combination of puffed rice and puffed kamut cereals, vegan marshmallow crème, chocolate chips, and healthy chia and hemp seeds, this version takes your taste buds above and beyond.

9. Caribbean Jerk Millet Burgers With Pineapple Guacamole

Caribbean Jerk Millet Burgers With Pineapple Guacamole [Vegan]

These Caribbean Jerk Millet Burgers are so packed with flavor! Made with millet, chickpea, and black beans, these burgers are also a great source of protein. Homemade jerk seasoning makes these burgers extra-special, but the creamy pineapple guacamole makes them the ultimate burgers.

10. Cajun Spiced Barley Kale Soup

Cajun Spiced Barley Kale Soup [Vegan]

If you need something to keep you warm this winter, try a bowl of this Cajun Spiced Barley Kale Soup. The Cajun spices will warm you up with a spicy kick while the barley will keep you filled and satisfied.

11. Chickpea Millet Burgers With Butternut Squash

Chickpea Millet Burgers With Butternut Squash [Vegan]

If you want a hearty and satisfying veggie burger, make these Chickpea Millet Burgers with Butternut Squash. Made with gluten-free millet, protein-packed chickpeas, and beta-carotene rich butternut squash, these burgers are as healthy as they are delicious.

12. Sautéed Mushroom Farro

Sauteed Mushroom Farro

This Sautéed Mushroom Farro is a simple recipe that makes for a comforting entree or a hearty side. Sauteed mushrooms, nutty farro, and fragrant thyme come together quickly for a healthy dish that will warm you up on a chilly day!

13. Miso Sesame Eggplant with Coconut Millet

Miso Sesame Eggplant With Coconut Millet [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

Put down the phone! There’s no reason to get take-out when you can make this Miso Sesame Eggplant with Coconut Millet yourself. Tender eggplant cooked with miso, sesame, and tamari is piled atop a bed of coconut millet. This is a much healthier and delicious take on the traditional rice-filled version.

14. Banana Buckwheat Yogurt


Did you know you can make your own yogurt with buckwheat? This Banana Buckwheat Yogurt is easy to make and it’s smooth, creamy, and delicious. Add the warm flavors of cinnamon and cardamom and garnish with fruit, nuts or your favorite toppings for a healthy breakfast or light lunch.

15. Peanut Butter Bulgur Waffles

Peanut Butter Bulgur Waffles [Vegan]

Consider starting your day with these protein-packed Peanut Butter Bulgur Waffles. If you haven’t cooked with bulgur wheat before, this is a great place to start – the hearty grain gives these waffles a pleasantly chewy and crispy texture. Top with a generous drizzle of maple syrup and a pat of vegan butter for the ultimate breakfast.

16. Teff Pancakes With Pomegranate and Pears

Teff Pancakes With Pomegranate and Pears

Teff is a small grain, popular in Ethiopian baking. Its unique flavor and fluffy texture make it the perfect choice for these gluten-free Teff Pancakes with Pomegranate and Pears. Spiced with cinnamon and topped with fruit and maple syrup, this is something really nice to wake up to.

17. Yogurt Mandarin Cake with Amaranth Crust

Yogurt Mandarin Cake with Amaranth Crust

Popped amaranth makes up part of the crust of this Yogurt Mandarin Cake. Fresh Mandarin oranges give this cake a fruity flavor that perfectly complements the roasted almonds. With a light, sweet glaze, this cake will impress everyone with its unique flavors and ingredients.

18. Spelt Salad With Oranges, Cranberries, and Feta

Spelt Salad With Oranges, Cranberries, and Feta [Vegan]

This Spelt Salad with Oranges, Cranberries and Feta is hearty, comforting and bursting with flavor. The juicy oranges, tangy cranberries, and salty feta complement the nutty grain serving as the base of this spelt salad. Spelt berries also find their way into the dressing with tahini, garlic, and more oranges for a bright, sweet, and savory dish.

19. Buckwheat Scones With Spiced Butternut Squash Butter

Buckwheat Scones With Spiced Butternut Squash Butter [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

Butternut squash butter is like apple butter’s quirky cousin with a whole lot of personality, and it pairs beautifully with these mini gluten-free Buckwheat Scones. Eat them while wearing your warmest, coziest sweater, and sipping on a mug of your favorite tea.

20. Seasonal Fruit and Nut Millet Bake

Seasonal Fruit and Nut Millet Bake [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

This Seasonal Fruit and Nut Millet Bake is a very simple and basic recipe, perfect for using leftover or frozen fruit, nuts, and some cooked millet, which is one of the ancient grains. Flavored with cinnamon and vanilla, this is a yummy dessert that’s also good for you.

21. Farro Black Beans Mexican Bowl

Farro Black Beans Mexican Bowl [Vegan]

This Farro Black Beans Mexican Bowl is an easy one-pot meal. Flavored with jalapeno, oregano, and garlic, the combination of farro, corn, and black beans along with crunchy lettuce and creamy avocado is just heaven. This is a healthy, nutritious, and delicious Mexican bowl.

22. Herbed Millet Veggie Burgers

Herbed Millet Veggie Burgers

Crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, these Herbed Millet Veggie Burgers are made with both millet flour and cooked millet for double the ancient grain goodness. These can be made in large batches and frozen for those days when you don’t feel like cooking but still want something tasty and nutritious.

23. Hearty Lentil, Mushroom and Barley Mash

Hearty Lentil, Mushroom and Barley Mash [Vegan]

This Hearty Lentil, Mushroom and Barley Mash is comfort food at its tastiest. Made with ancient grain barley, this dish is filling, healthy, and takes less than half an hour to make.

24. Nutty Caramel Chocolate Buckwheat Slices

Nutty Caramel Chocolate Buckwheat Slices [Vegan, Raw, Gluten-Free]

These Nutty Caramel Chocolate Buckwheat Slices are so crunchy, gooey, sweet, and decadent, you won’t believe they’re raw and gluten-free! The three layers in these slices come together to create a symphony of chocolate, caramel, and nuts that will have you singing all day.

25. Wheat Berries and Mushroom-Filled Savoy Cabbage Boats With Mustard Miso Sauce

Wheat Berries and Mushroom-Filled Savoy Cabbage Boats With Mustard Miso Sauce [Vegan]

These Wheat Berries and Mushroom-Filled Savoy Cabbage Boats with Mustard Miso Sauce is a simple recipe and so delicious. Wheat berries add a nutty earthy taste and texture along with broccoli, Savoy cabbage, chanterelles, and a spicy miso mustard sauce. Clean pure flavors all wrapped up in cabbage leaf boat that you can eat with your hands!

26. Spelt Pizza with Roasted Veggies

Spelt-Pizza-1 (1)

Spelt grain gives pizza dough a deeper flavor and tender texture than does wheat. This Spelt Pizza with Roasted Veggies is perfect with sweet caramelized vegetables cooked with olive oil infused with oregano and red chile flakes. Homemade cheese made from pumpkin and sunflower seeds makes this pizza incredible.

27. Gluten-free Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate ‘Buttercream’ Icing


Try using ancient grain sorghum to make these Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate ‘Buttercream’ Icing. These moist and chocolatey cupcakes are topped with a frosting made from surprising ingredients like sweet potatoes and tahini. Healthier ingredients mean you can feel good about indulging in sweet, decadent treats.

28. Mushroom and Butternut Squash Millet Pilaf

Mushroom and Butternut Squash Millet Pilaf

Swap out the rice and make this Mushroom and Butternut Squash Millet Pilaf with healthy ancient grain millet instead. The flavors of roasted butternut squash, woody shiitake mushrooms, and fresh rosemary sprigs come together to create this comforting dish that you have ready for dinner in just 30 minutes.

29. Masala Spinach Farro

Masala Spinach Farro [Vegan]

Farro is an ancient grain from the Mediterranean region that has a pleasantly chewy texture. It especially stands out in this Masala Spinach Farro stir-fry, flavored with a fragrant homemade masala spice blend. Baby spinach melts into the farro, making the dish super creamy and adding a boost of healthful greens.

30. Peaches and Cream Pancakes

Peaches and Cream Pancakes [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

These gluten-free Peaches and Cream Pancakes are made with sorghum flour which contains many nutrients and antioxidants. Almonds, orange zest, and a touch of liquor make this typical diner breakfast an elegant meal.

31. Spelt Berry Salad With Cinnamon Balsamic Vinaigrette

Spelt Berry Salad With Balsamic Vinaigrette

Cold weather is a good time for warm salads that are hearty and delicious like this Spelt Berry Salad with Cinnamon Balsamic Vinaigrette. This salad combines cooked spelt berries with sauteed kale, apple, and walnuts. Tossed with a cinnamon-spiced balsamic vinaigrette, this salad is the perfect addition to your dinner table!

32. Tempeh Bacon Bowl

Tempeh Bacon Bowl [Vegan]

The beauty of this Tempeh Bacon Bowl is in the variety of flavors and textures. It has sweet, smoky and spicy tempeh bacon, creamy black beans, and crunchy raw veggies all sitting on a bed of the ancient grain freekeh. Fresh thyme adds a lovely floral aroma to this wholesome bowl.

33. Chocolate Einkorn Cake

Chocolate Einkhorn Cake [Vegan]

Is it cake? Is it a brownie? Whatever you call it, it’s delicious. This Chocolate Einkorn Cakes is a super chocolately, not overly sweet, moist cake-brownie bar. It’s made with Einkorn, the oldest form of wheat ever cultivated.

34. Spelt Basil Chocolate Chip Cookies

Spelt Basil Chocolate Chip Cookies [Vegan]

Spelt, basil and chocolate may not be your usual cookie combination, but it’s about to be your new favorite. These Spelt Basil Chocolate Chip Cookies have an earthy and delightful taste. If you’re looking for a cookie that’s a bit more grown-up, this may be the perfect choice.

35. Mocha Teff Muffins

Mocha Teff Muffins [Vegan]

Teff may be the world’s tiniest grain, but it’s big on flavor and nutrients. The super-fine teff flour used in these Mocha Teff Muffins makes a silky-smooth batter that leads to light, fluffy muffins with a delicate crumb. Coffee and chocolate tips give the muffins a rich and delicious mocha flavor.

All of these ancient grains are versatile, healthy, and taste so good. See Your Guide to Cooking Perfect Whole Grains for tips on making them taste their best.

Lead image source: Wheat Berries and Mushroom-Filled Savoy Cabbage Boats with Mustard Miso Sauce

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