Whole grains are an important source of carbohydrates and can form the base to almost any kind of meal. Common grains include wheat, rice and oats - but there are many more that just those.
- Barley - pearl barley is the refined version, often added to soups
- Corn - a gluten-free grain found in dozens of different forms
- Quinoa - pronounced keen-wa; actually the seed of a grass
- Bulghar wheat - follow links for two different tabbouleh recipes
- Semolina - used to make pasta and cous-cous, as well as pudding
- Oats - high in protein and oils, oats help lower cholesterol
- Rice - choose the brown version for its vitamins and minerals
Pulses, also known as legumes, are excellent sources of protein and iron, so very useful for vegetarian diets. They're also very cheap, much cheaper than meat!
- Kidney beans
- Butter beans (also known as lima beans)
- Mung bean
- Adzuki beans
- Broad beans
- Lentils/split peas
- Soya beans - contain amino acids, but high levels of unsaturated fat
Other than from lentils and split peas, pulses need to be soaked overnight before cooking. This breaks down the sugars and makes them easier to cook and digest. Discard any floaters and rinse well before using. It is essential to rapidly boil dried beans or peas for 10-15 minutes before putting them into casseroles etc. in order to destroy toxins. You don't need to worry about this with canned varieties.