8 Great Winter Grains

The new year has passed, and we're now in detox mode. Resolution mode. Let's-be-healthy-and-not-have-five-desserts-a-day mode. Eating more whole grains, happily, falls into these categories. Here are 8 great winter grain recipes -- for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and all of your healthy dreams and aspirations.

• Looking to eat healthy this year? Check out our New Year's Detox and our New Year's Resolutions.
• Browse more rice and grain recipes on Food52.
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My Favorite Granola with Lots of Dried Fruit by ChezSuzanne

My Favorite Granola with Lots of Dried Fruit

My husband and I tried this granola on yogurt and on its own for a 4pm-I-need-a-healthy-munchie-with-some-sugar-it-in-snack. It was perfect with it's mixture of salted roasted pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and dried fruit all mixed in with molasses, brown sugar, cinnamon and cardamom. I'm making a MUCH bigger batch tomorrow.... - ChezSuzanne

Makes about 3 cups

1 1/2 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup wheat germ
2 tablespoons granulated white sugar or agave nectar
2 tablespoons roasted sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons salted roasted pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons molasses
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (I used safflower oil
1/2 cup dried fruit, minced (I used a combo of dried apricots, currants and tart cherries)

1. Preheat the oven to 250F. In a large mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients except the dried fruit and mix well with your hands.

2. In a small bowl, mix the honey, molasses and vegetable oil together until well combined. Add to the dry mixture and mix well with your hands until everything is well coated with the honey-molasses-oil mixture.

3. Spread evenly in a baking sheet and bake for 30-35 minutes. It's important to stir the mixture every 8-10 minutes pulling all the mixture from the edges and corners into the middle of the baking sheet and re-spreading the mixture. You might also want to rotate the cookie sheet after each stirring.

4. It's done when the mixture starts to darken a shade or two and you can smell the spices in the mixture. Remove from the oven and immediately fold in the dried fruit. Keep folding for a minute so that the dried fruit is warmed by the mixture.

5. Let dry until crispy and store in sealed baggies or jars.

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Farro Salad with Roasted Mushrooms and Parmesan

Farro Salad with Roasted Mushrooms and Parmesan

The other week, at a restaurant near me in Brooklyn, I tried a special appetizer of roasted mushrooms and farro. The entire dish was perfumed with parmesan, which, instead of being grated, had been crumbled into tiny pebbles. The result was an earthy, umami-rich salad that may sound perfect for winter but was actually well-suited to dining al fresco on a balmy summer evening, thanks to a healthy dose of lemon juice and parsley. Below is my attempt to recreate the salad, using basically the opposite ratio of farro to mushrooms. - Merrill

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Radish and Pecan Grain Salad

Radish and Pecan Grain Salad

When you write about food, you always have your "foodar" on, as you search for new ideas to write about. So at a recent holiday party at our friends' Rachel and Morgan's, my foodar went "BE-EP! BE-EP!" when I tasted a grain salad that was served along with delicious roasted turkey.The salad was made with farro, wild rice, quinoa, and barley. The grains were threaded with pecans, raisins, and dried cranberries and the salad was brightened with bits of arugula, radishes, and a wash of sherry vinegar and walnut oil. It was the kind of salad that sounds like a starchy do-gooder, but it has grace and conviction, and you'll want to eat it every day for lunch. - Amanda

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Overnight Steel-Cut Oats with Almond Butter and Honey

Overnight Steel-Cut Oats

What better way to be greeted on a chilly morning than with a steaming batch of steel cut oats, ready for a dollop of rich, toasty almond butter and a swirl of honey. (If you don't have almond butter, any nut butter will do.) We'll take this over Wheaties any day. - Amanda & Merrill

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Mushroom Barley Soup

Mushroom Barley Soup

Layers of flavor, each more concentrated than the last, are the key to this mushroom soup. You begin by browning pancetta and over the course of about 20 minutes, and then you add aromatic vegetables, tomato paste, both fresh mushrooms and rehydrated porcinis, soy sauce and sherry. How can it not be great? - Amanda & Merrill

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Farro Risotto

Farro Risotto

What's great about this is that you don't have to give up 30 minutes of your day standing over the stove, stirring like a mad person. (Although, some might argue that regular risotto doesn't require that either.) You cook the grain ahead of time in stock, and then simply fold it into some softened onion that's been hit with a splash or two of wine, add some Parmesan, and there's your "risotto." Best of all, it will hold and reheat the way a true risotto never will. - Merrill

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Quinoa and Kale Crustless Quiche

Quinoa and Kale Crustless Quiche

Kale and quinoa are a match made in heaven, and it turns out they're even better when you throw some eggs and cheese into the mix. Hilarybee gently wilts the kale, tossing it with caramelized onions, cooked quinoa, cream cheese, sharp cheddar and garlic before folding in some beaten egg -- just enough to hold everything together as the quiche puffs and browns in the oven. - Amanda & Merrill

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Millet with Cheese and Chives

Millet with Cheese and Chives

I figured this recipe would be as good a place to start my millet research as any and set to work riffing. The resulting dish, comforting and savory, just may be my new favorite supper to snuggle up on the couch with. - Merrill

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