New Product Review: Whole grains gaining ground

By: Kim Beavers Email
By: Kim Beavers Email

Whole grains have been encouraged now for quite some time, and I just love seeing more products readily available in whole grain form. Here is a sampling of newer items.

Whole grain orzo: Orzo is small rice-shaped pasta. In mainstream grocery stores I have only been able to find white orzo, but now I find the whole wheat version in the kosher aisle.

Israeli couscous is similar to regular couscous, but it is twice the size and can also be found in the whole grain form. Israeli couscous is also toasted vs. dried, which gives it a more nutty flavor. Use this as you would rice in a rice pilaf.

Brown rice: Now seriously there is not much new for me to report here, except that I have now found cooked brown rice in the freezer section and I just love that it is also low in sodium.

Roasted Vegetables tossed with Orzo

This recipe uses several flavor techniques to replace the salt in a typical pasta dish.

1 bell pepper
2 small zucchini, chopped
2 small yellow squash, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
¼ tsp. black pepper
1 ½ tsp. dried thyme
2 tsp. canola oil
½ pound orzo (preferably whole wheat)
1 cup low sodium chicken broth (95mg sodium or less per cup)
1 cup water
Parsley (garnish)

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spay with vegetable cooking oil spray. Cut each red pepper in half, remove core and seeds place on baking sheet skin side up and press flat with hand. Broil red pepper 10-15 minutes until skin is charred. Once charred wrap in aluminum foil and allow the pepper to steam for another 10 minutes.

Meanwhile chop zucchini, squash, onions and garlic and combine them in a large bowl with garlic, thyme, canola oil and black pepper. Toss to coat the vegetables in oil. Line the baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray again with vegetable oil cooking spray. Spread the vegetables out in a single layer spray with cooking spray and roast 20 minutes turning half way through cooking time.

While vegetables roast bring broth and water to a boil. Reduce heat and add orzo, stirring frequently. Cook until done, about 6 minutes. Peel the charred skin off the red peppers and chop. Add the chopped pepper and vegetables to the orzo and serve with parsley if desired.

Yield: 6 servings
Nutrition breakdown: Calories 190, Fat 2.5g (0g saturated fat, 1.0g monounsaturated fat), Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 20mg, Potassium 352mg, Carbohydrate 37g, Fiber 3g, Protein 7g. Nutrition Bonus: 25% daily value vitamin A, 150% dv vitamin C, 10% dv Iron.
Carbohydrate Choice: 2 ½ carbohydrate

Other Products to Smile About:

Grandma Maud’s Bean Meals: These can be found in the bean aisle, and what caught my eye was the lower sodium content. Grandma Maud’s Red Beans and Rice mix has 480mg of sodium which is significantly less than the typical 800-1000mg seen in other bean mixes. However, the last ingredient is partially hydrogenated soybean oil. Well, we know that could mean the product can have up to 0.5g trans fat and still be listed as “0” on the nutrition facts panel. I doubt it has that much, seeing as it is the last ingredient, but I would rather the partially hydrogenated oil not be in the ingredient list at all.

Tasteful Selections Potatoes: There are 5 flavor varieties in all (honey gold, ruby sensation, white delight, golden temptation, purple passion and sunrise medley). The ruby, golden and medley come in the fingerling shape as well.

What I like about these is that they are similar in size and shape and therefore will cook uniformly. I also really like the variety of color and flavor options. All potatoes are a good source of vitamin C and fiber, but the different colors indicate varying phytochemical content. Purple potatoes contain anthocyanin content. Anthocyanins are phytochemicals that have been associated with potential improved blood vessel health.

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