The "ancient grains" category refers to a number of grain varieties (and some seeds, such as quinoa, that are used as grains in cooking) that have been eaten in various parts of the world for centuries.
See also: 9 easy, healthy summer picnic recipes
They're a more recent phenomenon in U.S. kitchens, but now spelt, sorghum, millet, quinoa, bulgur, buckwheat, teff, barley, Kamut and amaranth are some that you'll find in many grocery stores — and in many wonderful recipes like these.
by Lorna Sass
Farro is a cousin of the wheat berry, quick-cooking and chewy. In minestrone, it won't get mushy as pasta and rice sometimes do. This recipe does have a high sodium content, based in part on the Italian seasoning and the Romano cheese. You can adjust as needed for your dietary considerations (note that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adults age 51 and older consume no more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day).
Per serving: 430 calories, 2g saturated fat, 68g carbohydrates, 22g protein, 13g fiber, 1,235mg sodium
by Isabel Cruz
Quinoa is not a grain but an edible seed that's high-protein, and a good source of fiber, magnesium, calcium and iron. This side dish recipe, with red onion and red bell pepper, can be served warm or cold.
Per serving: 240 calories, 2g saturated fat, 21g carbohydrates, 5g protein, 3g fiber, 416mg sodium
by Robin Asbell
When cooked, the texture of millet can become creamy, almost like mashed potatoes, or fluffy, like rice. It's a good source of heart-healthy magnesium. This recipe is full of contrasting textures: juicy tomatoes, crunchy roasted peanuts and the soft millet.
Per serving: 212 calories, 1g saturated fat, 30g carbohydrates, 6g protein, 4g fiber, 310mg sodium
by Ricki Heller
Spelt is the ancient grain at work in this healthy cookie, in the form of flour. Almond butter, tahini, flax seeds, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds add more bulk and healthy fats.
Per serving: 194 calories, 2g saturated fat, 24g carbohydrates, 5g protein, 3g fiber, 4mg sodium
by Donna Washburn and Heather Butt
Sorghum and bean flour combine in this gluten-free bread, an excellent use for overripe bananas. It can be made with a mixer or with a bread machine.
Per serving: 166 calories, 1g saturated fat, 21g carbohydrates, 5g protein, 2g fiber, 212mg sodium