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The Game-Changing Tip That Will Shave Precious Time Off of Meal Prep

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We're always looking for shortcuts to make our meal-making a little faster, a little smarter. Lindsay Maitland Hunt's new Healthyish cookbook is chock-full of smart ideas and recipes, and here she shares one of her favorite tips from the book with us.

Boiling grains (instead of using the absorption method) is a game-changing time-saver in kitchen. Not only do the grains cook in about half the time, but also you don’t run the same risk of overcooking them to a sad mush.

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A batch of whole grains in your fridge means you’ve got breakfast, lunch, and dinner ready for the week. Use them in a breakfast grain bowl, or top with an easy chicken and bok choy stir-fry.

What’s great about these grains is that they are interchangeable. So if you’ve made a batch of barley, swap it in for the rice in kimchi fried rice. Same goes for a warm farro dish—quinoa or brown rice would taste equally great.

A Handy Guide to Mixed Grain Rice Bowls (No Recipes Needed!)
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A Handy Guide to Mixed Grain Rice Bowls (No Recipes Needed!)

Below are some guidelines for boiling grains, as well as a variety of recipes you can try them out in!

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Pearl Barley

INGREDIENTS:

5 cups (1.2 L) water / 1 cup (200 g) pearl barley, rinsed / 1 teaspoon kosher salt

HOW TO MAKE IT: Bring the water to a boil in a large pot. Add the barley and salt and cover. As soon as the water returns to a boil, reduce to a strong simmer. Cook, covered, until the barley is tender, 20 to 25 minutes. (It’s OK if the grains are still a bit chewy; you want them to stay this way!) Drain any extra liquid and cool to room temperature. Fluff with a fork and transfer to an airtight container. Refrigerate the barley for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 2 months. Makes 2 1/4 cups.

Kimchi Fried Rice

Kimchi Fried Rice by Allison (Spontaneous Tomato)

Grilled Corn & Barley Salad with Tomato Vinaigrette

Grilled Corn & Barley Salad with Tomato Vinaigrette by Jen Balletto

Farro

INGREDIENTS:

5 cups (1.2 L) water / 1 cup (200 g) farro, rinsed / 1 teaspoon kosher salt

HOW TO MAKE IT: Bring the water to a boil in a large pot. Add the farro and salt and cover. As soon as the water returns to a boil, reduce to a strong simmer, cover, and cook until the farro is tender, 14 to 18 minutes. (It’s OK if the grains are still a bit chewy; you want them to stay this way!) Drain any extra liquid and cool to room temperature. Fluff with a fork and transfer to an airtight container. Refrigerate the farro for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 2 months. Makes 2 1/4 cups.

Warm Farro with Mushrooms and Crispy Beets

Warm Farro with Mushrooms and Crispy Beets by Kylie Thompson

Quinoa and Farro Salad with Pickled Fennel

Quinoa and Farro Salad with Pickled Fennel by Merrill Stubbs

Brown Rice

INGREDIENTS

5 cups (1.2 L) water / 1 cup (190 g) short- or long-grain brown rice, rinsed / 1 teaspoon kosher salt

HOW TO MAKE IT: Bring the water to a boil in a large pot. Add the rice and salt and cover. As soon as the water returns to a boil, reduce to a strong simmer. Cook, covered, until the rice is tender, 22 to 26 minutes. (It’s OK if the grains are still a bit chewy; you want them to stay this way!) Drain any extra liquid and cool to room temperature. Fluff with a fork and transfer to an airtight container. Refrigerate the rice for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 2 months. Makes 2 1/4 cups.

Jessica Koslow's Crispy Brown Rice "Kabbouleh"

Jessica Koslow's Crispy Brown Rice "Kabbouleh" by Genius Recipes

Jean-Georges' Ginger Fried Rice

Jean-Georges' Ginger Fried Rice by Genius Recipes

Quinoa

INGREDIENTS:

5 cups (1.2 L) water / 1 cup (170 g) quinoa, rinsed / 1 teaspoon kosher salt

HOW TO MAKE IT: Bring the water to a boil in a large pot. Add the quinoa and salt and cover. As soon as the water returns to a boil, reduce to a strong simmer. Cook, covered, until the quinoa is tender, 10 to 14 minutes. (It’s OK if the grains are still a bit chewy; you want them to stay this way!) Drain any extra liquid and cool to room temperature. Fluff with a fork and transfer to an airtight container. Refrigerate the quinoa for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 2 months. Makes 2 1/4 cups.

Black Bean and Quinoa Veggie Burgers

Black Bean and Quinoa Veggie Burgers by Sonali aka the Foodie Physi...

Quinoa Salad with Hazelnuts, Apple, and Dried Cranberries

Quinoa Salad with Hazelnuts, Apple, and Dried Cranberries by darksideofthespoon

What are your favorite hearty grains, and how do you like to use them? Share your tips with us below.

Tags: lindsay maitland hunt, healthyish