Super Food- Whole Grains

For the month of January, we will be learning about eating healthy on a budget as well as focusing on recipes with whole grains:

  • With the New Year upon us, many of you may have New Year’s resolutions to eat healthier, lose weight or even maintain a budget. One of the biggest places that you can save money and make healthy meal selections are in the grocery store.
  • Tips for making your shopping trip successful are:
    • Create a Grocery Game Plan: Plan your weekly meals, make a good list and stick to your list. Avoid the impulse buys. Do not buy expensive ingredients for a single recipe; plan to use the ingredients in another recipe later in the week. For example fresh herbs and spices can add cost to your grocery bill, plan another meal with similar flavors and ingredients in order to help prevent waste.
    • Prepare Healthy Meals: Stick to the MyPlate recommendations such as making ½ of your grains every day whole grains, buy produce when it’s cheapest in season, buy meat in the family value packs and freeze what you don’t use, consider using beans as a protein source over meat.
  • Any food made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley or another cereal grain is a grain product. Bread, pasta, oatmeal, breakfast cereals, tortillas and grits are examples of grain products.
    The MyPlate guidelines recommend that half of your grains everyday be a whole grain. In general, one slice of bread, one cup of ready-to-eat cereal, or ½ cup of cooked rice, cooked pasta, or cooked cereal is a single serving from the grains group. Grains are divided into 2 subgroups, whole grains and refined grains. Whole grains contain the entire grain kernel - the bran, germ and endosperm. Examples of whole grains include whole-wheat flour, bulgur (cracked wheat), oatmeal, whole cornmeal and brown rice. Refined grains are milled, a process that removes the bran and germ. Consider ways in your diet to increase your daily whole grain intakes.

Recipes of the Month

Smoky Quinoa and Black Bean Saladquinoa salad

Whether enjoyed alone as a meal or as a side for grilled meat or fish, this Smoky Quinoa and Black Bean Salad is rich, smoky, and packed with flavor and nutrients.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

Servings (about 1.5 cups each)


  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Freshly cracked pepper
  • 15 oz. can black beans
  • 2 bell peppers (preferable red, yellow, or orange)
  • 2 green onions


  1. Rinse the quinoa well using a wire mesh sieve to prevent the small granules from washing away. Allow the excess water to drain away and then place the rinsed quinoa in a saucepot.
  2. Add 1.75 cups water to the saucepot with the quinoa, place a lid on top, and bring it up to a boil over high heat. Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn the heat off and let it rest for 5 minutes, without removing the lid. Finally, fluff with a fork and allow the quinoa to cool (I placed mine in the refrigerator for faster cooling).
  3. While the quinoa is cooking, prepare the dressing. In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, smoked paprika, cumin, garlic powder, salt, and freshly cracked pepper. Set the dressing aside.
  4. Rinse and drain the black beans. Dice the bell peppers, and slice the green onions.
  5. Combine the beans, bell peppers, green onions, and cooled quinoa in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over top, and stir until everything is evenly mixed and coated in dressing. Taste and adjust the salt if needed. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat. Make sure to stir the salad well before serving.

Spinach and Chickpea Rice Pilafspinach and chickpea

This Spinach and Chickpea Rice Pilaf is infused with herbs and bright pops of lemon and feta. Cooks in one skillet for easy cleanup!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

Servings (1 cup each)

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1 cup long grain brown rice
  • 1/2 lb. frozen chopped spinach
  • 15 oz. can chickpeas
  • 1 fresh lemon
  • 1 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 oz. feta, crumbled


  1. Mince the garlic and dice the onion. Sauté the onion and garlic with olive oil over medium heat in a deep skillet until the onion are soft and transparent (about 3-5 minutes).
  2. Add the smoked paprika, oregano, cumin, and dry rice to the skillet. Stir and cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes to toast the rice and spices. You should hear the rice popping and it should begin to look slightly transparent.
  3. Drain the chickpeas and add them to the skillet along with the frozen spinach (no need to thaw). Zest the lemon and set the zest aside. Squeeze about 2 Tbsp. of the lemon's juice into the skillet. Add the vegetable broth and stir the ingredients to combine.
  4. Place a lid on the skillet and turn the heat up to medium-high. Allow it to come to a boil, then immediately turn it down to low or just above low. Let the skillet continue to simmer for 20 minutes, with the lid in place. After 20 minutes, turn the heat off and let it sit undisturbed for an additional 5 minutes.
  5. Remove the lid and fluff the skillet with a fork to redistribute the chickpeas and spinach. Sprinkle the lemon zest and crumbled feta over the skillet just before serving.