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I’m usually a steel-cut-oats-for-breakfast kind of girl. Lately, however, I started noticing the breadth of options when it comes to whole grains. The versatility, textural variations, and nutritional qualities are intriguing. To me, quinoa is passé and my current favourites are grains that were previously overlooked.

I love farro. It has a nutty, chewy texture and contains more protein and fibre per serving than quinoa. It seems that chefs are adopting more whole grains on their menus in recognition that they are higher in quality than refined grains. Farro accompanies the seared black cod at Oru and is nestled in the cauliflower porridge at Mission Kits. Both restaurants do an incredible job at showcasing the grain.

At my local farmers market, I couldn’t resist the beautiful packages of wholesome grains from Cedar Isle Farm. I decided on the organic hull-less oat groats without realizing that the whole kernels require much more patience than my breakfast staple. On the oat hierarchy of processing, it goes: oat groats, steel-cut oats, old-fashioned rolled oats, quick oats, and, finally, minute or instant oats. Oat groats take the longest to cook but the chewiness and earthy flavour are worth the wait. They are a perfect canvas for a hot breakfast porridge, a satisfying salad at lunch, or a hearty pilaf at dinner.

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