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A few years ago, we had no idea how to pronounce "quinoa", let alone cook it. Flash forward to 2015 and this carb is everywhere. While we’re still using it regularly, we’ve since learned about a few other heavy hitters to add to our grain rotation. Here, some of our favorites.

amaranth

Amaranth

What it is: This tiny grain is crunchy and loaded with protein and fiber--and it’s gluten-free.

How to eat it: Cooked amaranth is great as a breakfast porridge, but our favorite thing is to put the uncooked grains into a heated skillet until they start to pop. The finished product is really similar to popcorn.

millet

Millet

What it is: Similar in size and texture to couscous, millet almost quadruples in size when cooked. It’s gluten-free and a great source of fiber, magnesium and phosphorous (which aids in repairing body tissue).

How to eat it: Millet can be subbed into any recipe calling for rice, or scooped onto a salad to make it extra filling.

farro

Farro

What it is: This rustic Italian grain has a tender quality that's similar to rice, and like quinoa is high in protein and fiber, though it contains even more calcium.

How to eat it: Great atop salads as well as in heartier soups and pasta dishes, farro can be used pretty interchangeably with barley (more on that later).

freekeh

Freekeh

What it is: Popular in Palestinian and Egyptian cooking, this fun-to-say grain (it?s pronounced freak-uh) is actually wheat that?s harvested when it?s very young and lightly roasted. It?s low in fat and high in protein and fiber (it?s got twice the amount of fiber as quinoa).

How to eat it: Freekeh has a subtly nutty and smoky flavor and works just as well in sweet dishes as it does in savory ones. Top it with milk and fruit in place of oatmeal in the morning, mix it into veggie burgers or top it with pesto and veggies for a healthy and delicious side.

barley

Barley

What it is: This meaty and chewy grain tastes similar to pasta and is high in fiber and niacin, which lowers cholesterol.

How to eat it: Barley is delicious cooked into soups or brewed into teas. When fermented, it’s a key ingredient in beer and other alcoholic drinks.

quinoa

Quinoa

What it is: The reigning trendy grain, quinoa is slightly chewy and mildly nutty. It’s as good hot as it is cold and is high in protein and magnesium. Heads up that it also contains tryptophan, so you might feel a tad sleepy after eating it.

How to eat it: In salads, in place of carb-laden crust or in better-for-you homemade granola, quinoa is super-versatile and takes on the taste of whatever it’s mixed with.

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