Sorghum is the new cereal grain that's been making a splash in the top kitchens in NYC. It's one of the top five cereal crops in the world, non-GMO, and it's among the most efficient crops in the conversion of solar energy and use of water. Basically, it can grow under strenuous conditions, which is great in the ever-changing environmental landscape. Chefs and restauranteurs are loving it as well. Yvan Lemoine, of Union Fare in NYC, says sorghum is one of the most versatile grains he's ever used while Tom Kaplan, the owner of Hugo's in Los Angeles recently changed his whole menu over to star sorghum. "Several years ago, in the midst of our California drought, I started hunting around for a grain that took much less water to grow than rice. We buy several tons at a time, and each pound takes hundreds of gallons of water to produce," he says. "I came across sorghum, as it's one of the most important grains in the world, looked at the nutritional factors, and picked some up at our local market for our chef to play with." The rest is sorghum history.
This naturally gluten-free grain is completely multifaceted. It can be used whole, it can be ground into flour, it can be popped, it can be turned into a sweetener. Nutritionally, it's quite similar to quinoa, with 160 to 170 calories, 6 grams of protein, and 3 grams of fiber per serving. One serving has about 90 milligrams of magnesium and over 500 micrograms of copper, which contributes to healthier bone tissue and a healthier immune system!
Here are some of my favorite ways to eat it:
Add it to your smoothie.
Have you ever used oatmeal in your smoothies? Sub in cooked sorghum instead and see what happens. Just make sure to cook it the night before! Not only will it add a level of earthiness, but it will keep you full for more than just two hours. Promise.
Use it as a gluten-free sub for barley.
If you substitute sorghum for barley in your mushroom soup, or any soup for that matter, you can officially say it's g-free.
Your veggie burger just got real.
Since veggie burgers continue to be all the rage, it's awesome to keep having fun with all the combos they can be made from. Many veggie burger recipes out there ask for the usual suspects as a base (brown rice or quinoa), but next time you make your favorite go-to variety, sub in cooked sorghum. The end result will be a hearty burger with some lovely earthy flavors.
Amp up your breakfast bowl.
For the ultimate breakfast bowl, toast sorghum grains in coconut oil (or ghee), then cook it in water or almond milk. Toss in toasted almonds, coconut, toasted sesame seeds, and chopped dates and drizzle a touch of tahini and honey. You'll be counting down the hours till breakfast time!
Next time you're baking a recipe that asks for whole wheat flour, use ground-up sorghum instead. Then not only will your baked deliciousness be gluten-free, but it will also be higher in fiber AND full of antioxidants; you can tell everyone you've discovered the new "it" good-for-us baking ingredient and become the talk of the healthy-baking-baker in town.
Carolina Santos-Neves is a graduate of the Chef Training Program at the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts and is presently the chef of Hungry Beast, (CDMX) a kitchen & Juice Bar that focuses on flavors from all over the world with a focus on using organic and local products. Raised in Brazil, Mexico, and New York and an avid traveler, Santos-Neves was an editor at Epicurious for five years. She's been dinner partying it up with friends and strangers practically since birth. Her favorite foods are ice cream and Brussels sprouts...but not together.