The 16 Best Whole Grain Recipes for a Wholesome Life

Go around the world in whole grains

Fact: whole grain is better for you than the white stuff. But we'll spare you the nutrition lesson (that's just not our style): we're just here to tell you that those high-fiber grains and cereals—think quinoa, bulgar, farro—can be just as delicious as their low-in-fiber counterparts.

Whether you're thinking of whipping up a hearty salad or putting together a one-bowl meal, use our guide to whole grain recipes from all over the world—from the Mediterranean to India and Italy. Ready for a more wholesome life? Here are our favorite whole grain and cereal recipes, including farro gnocchi, grilled halloumi salad, and cracked-wheat porridge.

Herbed Lemon Quinoa

Herbed Lemon Quinoa
Herbed Lemon QuinoaCory Baldwin

Quinoa, which is botanically a seed and not a grain, is widely accepted as a Passover-friendly starch. In this recipe from cookbook author Leah Koenig, it gets dressed up for the seder table with a mix of sweet sautéed shallots, lemon, and parsley. Get the recipe for Herbed Lemon Quinoa »

Quinoa Salad with Snap Peas, Scallions, and Mint

Quinoa Salad with Snap Peas, Scallions, and Mint
Quinoa Salad with Snap Peas, Scallions, and MintMatt Taylor-Gross

This light quinoa salad, filled with scallions, mint, snap peas, and crisp haricots verts tossed in a Dijon vinaigrette, makes a perfect summer side dish for picnics and barbecues. Get the recipe for Quinoa Salad with Snap Peas, Scallions, and Mint »

Quinoa Salad with Frisee, Eggplant, and Corn

Quinoa Salad with Frisee, Eggplant, and Corn
Quinoa Salad with Frisee, Eggplant, and CornAnna Stockwell

Glazed eggplant, corn, and a bright lime vinaigrette join quinoa and lacy frisée for a summery side dish that's perfect for picnics. Get the recipe for Quinoa Salad with Frisee, Eggplant, and Corn »

Root Vegetable and Quinoa Salad with Pickled Sunchokes

Root Vegetable and Quinoa Salad with Pickled Sunchokes
Root Vegetable and Quinoa Salad with Pickled SunchokesRyan Liebe

Red quinoa, which is similar in flavor and texture to white quinoa, adds color to this warm, hearty winter salad. Get the recipe for Root Vegetable and Quinoa Salad with Pickled Sunchokes »

Sprouted Seed and Grain Salad with Spiced Prawns

Sprouted Seed and Grain Salad with Spiced Prawns
Sprouted Seed and Grain Salad with Spiced PrawnsRyan Liebe

This hearty grain and seed salad is perfect for lunch, as the quinoa, buckwheat, and sunflower seeds luxuriate in a lemon dressing with mandarin-sauced shrimp. Get the recipe for Sprouted Seed and Grain Salad with Spiced Prawns »

Fonio Pilaf with Dates, Carrots, and Peanuts

Fonio Pilaf
Fonio PilafRyan Liebe

This gluten-free grain, a type of millet, provides a wonderfully nutty backbone to a salad of sweet dates and carrots, and crunchy roasted peanuts. Get the recipe for Fonio Pilaf with Dates, Carrots, and Peanuts »

Farro Grain Bowl

Farro Grain Bowl
Farro Grain BowlFarideh Sadeghin

A simple grain bowl is the perfect easy meal: quick, nourishing, and plenty satisfying. Feel free to adapt the ingredients in this recipe to whatever's in your fridge and pantry; grain bowls love leftovers. Get the recipe for Farro Grain Bowl »

Farro Gnocchi with Pork Ragù

Farro Gnocchi with Pork Ragù
Farro Gnocchi with Pork RagùCon Poulos

In this Umbrian ragù, fennel pollen adds a sweet aroma and a flavor similar to that of the fennel-laced sausages found in Italian butcher shops. Get the recipe for Farro Gnocchi with Pork Ragù »

Grilled Halloumi and Cherry Salad

Simple Weeknight Meal, Grilled Halloumi and Cherry Salad
Simple Weeknight Meal, Grilled Halloumi and Cherry SaladFarideh Sadeghin

The sweetness of cherries balances the saltiness of halloumi in this simple summer salad, perfect for a side or a main dish. Get the recipe for Grilled Halloumi and Cherry Salad »

Tabbouleh

TABBOULEH
TabboulehMatt Taylor-Gross

Cinnamon and allspice add distinctive flavor to this version of the classic Middle Eastern parsley salad. The recipe comes from writer Anissa Helou, who tasted a tabbouleh like this one while exploring the markets of Damascus. Get the recipe for Tabbouleh »

Cracked-Wheat Porridge with Hen of the Woods Mushrooms and Turnip-Top Salsa

Cracked Wheat Porridge with Mushrooms
Cracked Wheat Porridge with MushroomsIngalls Photography

This hearty porridge is bolstered by roasted vegetables and enlivened with a salsa of turnip greens. Get the recipe for Cracked-Wheat Porridge with Hen of the Woods Mushrooms and Turnip-Top Salsa »

Grilled Vegetable and Barley Salad

Grilled Vegetable and Barley Salad
Grilled Vegetable and Barley SaladHelen Cathcart

Barley is typically eaten in a pudding for breakfast or dessert in Egypt, but in this recipe from cookbook author Suzanne Zeidy, it's turned into a hearty salad, seasoned with cumin and chiles, and tossed with grilled vegetables, feta, and pistachios. Get the recipe for Grilled Vegetable and Barley Salad »

Sautéed Quail with Black Barley, Beets, and Fig Sauce

Sautéed Quail with Black Barley, Beets, and Fig Sauce
Sautéed Quail with Black Barley, Beets, and Fig SauceMatt Taylor-Gross

Mustard-and-herb-marinated quail gets a quick sauté for this earthy dish and is served with poached beets and a sweet-tart fig and ruby port sauce. Adapted from a recipe by chef Stuart Bell of Ten Minutes by Tractor in Mornington Peninsula, Australia, the dish has black barley, a variety with the bran still attached to the wheat kernel. Get the recipe for Sautéed Quail with Black Barley, Beets, and Fig Sauce »

Pearl Barley Soup with Moscato d'Asti

Pearl Barley Soup with Moscato d'Asti
Pearl Barley Soup with Moscato d'AstiTom Parker

A splash of Italian dessert wine brightens up this warming ham and grain soup. Get the recipe for Pearl Barley Soup with Moscato d'Asti »

Wild Rice with Roasted Buttered Onions

roasted onions wild rice
Wild Rice with Roasted Buttered OnionsMatt Taylor-Gross

Finish the rice by toasting it in a twirling barrel over a wood fire. Real wild rice like ours is delicate, light brown instead of black, cooks in a mere 20 minutes, and takes on some of the smoke from its parching fire. It's an entirely different beast (and species) from the black paddy rice commonly found in stores. Rice this fresh shines with a simple treatment—in this case just a buttery tangle of roasted garden onions. (If using black rice, add 20 minutes to the cooking time) Get the recipe for Wild Rice with Roasted Buttered Onions »

Wild Rice with Dried Cherries

Wild Rice with Dried Cherries
Wild Rice with Dried CherriesBill Phelps

The woodsy flavor of multi-textured wild rice is spiked with crunchy celery and sweet dried cherries in this easy-to-make yet novel side dish. Get the recipe for Wild Rice with Dried Cherries »