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Basics & Beyond: Grain Dishes

Basics & Beyond: Grain Dishes

Research shows that grains offer many health benefits and deliver flavor as well.

Cindy Stearns

Assistant Director: Marketing and Special Programs

University of Richmond Dining Services Richmond, VA

“Maple Pecan Quinoa, developed by Michael Onorato, production manager, University of Richmond Dining Services, is a savory vegan dish that appeals to more of our population than just vegans. It's menued as a vegan entrée, as it has higher caloric value. Just a 4 oz. serving provides a substantial amount of calories (548 to be exact), but the majority of the calories come from whole grain carbohydrates, protein and the ‘good fats.’ (see sidebar Quin-WOW!)

“It won third place at the NACUFS Best Vegan Recipe Contest last year. Getting involved in contests gives us ideas for recipes. It's a great way to exchange ideas.

“We always mark vegan options clearly on the weekly menu, and we use social media, our website, menu boards, signage and weekly menu publications to let people know what will be on the menu. Sometimes we use vegan specialty items, but we try not to let that be the norm. We'd rather rely on creativity.”

Michelle Apple, RD, LD

AVI Fresh

California University of Pennsylvania

California, PA

“We started a whole grain initiative at the university, where all pastas and breads are whole grain. It's absolutely the right thing to do. We do grain salads every day.

“We're seeing more and more studies being done that point to whole grains reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and more.

“For some menu items, such as whole grain pasta, our chefs had to be retrained for food preparation because a lot of the recipes are written differently.”

Grain Cheat Sheet

Understand labels better with these basic definitions.

Multi-Grain: Made from at least two different types of grain, such as wheat, oats, spelt, rye, corn, brown rice or barley. Multi-grain does not necessarily mean whole grain.

Whole Grain: Includes the bran and germ of the grain and contain fi ber, magnesium and other important phytonutrients. No nutrients are stripped away. To be called whole grain, a product has to be made with at least 51 percent whole grains.

Whole Wheat: A subset of whole grain. Must be made exclusively with whole wheat; no other grains or refi ned fl ours can be used. Whole wheat pastas often have a grittier texture and noticeably different fl avor profi le from traditional pastas. Source: Barilla


Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-WAH): A whole grain that does it all. It's high in protein and dietary fiber. In fact, quinoa supplies all nine essential amino acids that help build muscles, blood, skin, hair, nails and internal organs. Fiber has numerous health benefits, and when you combine quinoa with olive oil (as in the recipe on this page), you're adding monounsaturated fat, which decreases the LDL (bad) cholesterol and total cholesterol levels, while potentially raising HDL (good) cholesterol.

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