4 Carb Recipes That Are Healthier and Tastier Than Pasta or Rice

Edward Lane
Photo credit: Westend61

From Men's Health

The endless debate around carbohydrates can be tiresome: low carb or low fat? Vegan or paleo? We don’t blame you if you’re confused. The short answer is that, with the right ingredients and recipes, carbs can power all of your healthy ambitions.

But knowing this doesn’t make yet another bowl of pesto pasta any more appealing. The solution is to heed the lessons of history – ancient history. Follow the culinary expertise of Chantelle Nicholson, chef patron at Tredwells, to turn these superfood grains into meals that will satisfy any 21st-century appetite.

Amaranth

Amaranth – whether popped, puffed, or ground into flour – is rich in niacin (or vitamin B3), which lowers bad and raises good cholesterol levels and protects against heart disease.

Quinoa

The OG of the AGs, this ancient South American export contains all nine essential amino acids while also being particularly high in fibre. It’ll help you to lose weight but none of your gains.

Buckwheat

A fibre-rich new old-kid on the block, buckwheat husks produce short-chain fatty acids like butyrate when digested, which improve gut health and reduce your risk of colon cancer.

Farro

A mainstay in Mediterranean diets, farro – which has a hearty, rice-like texture – packs 28g of protein per serving, making it a useful ally for vegans looking to build new muscle.

Go Against The Grain Bowl

These recipes from Nicholson and Tredwells will rescue both you and these healthful ingredients from the flavour-averse wellness brigade. Better yet, they’re all big batch cooks meaning you can pack the leftovers tomorrow for an al desko lunch par excellence.

Photo credit: Louisa Parry

Truly Hearty Chicken and Amaranth Stew, Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • Medium whole chicken, 1
  • Amaranth, 300g
  • Leeks, finely chopped, 2
  • Carrots, quartered, 2
  • Celery sticks, quartered, 2
  • Onions, quartered, 2
  • Sage leaves, shredded, 8
  • Bay leaves, 2

Method

Place the chicken, carrots, celery, onion, bay leaves and sage into a saucepan. Add enough water to cover the bird, then bring to the boil before gently simmering for an hour. Remove the chicken and veg to cool. Remove the meat from the carcass and roughly chop the veg. With the stock still in the saucepan, now add the amaranth and leeks and leave to simmer for 5 mins. Drop the meat and veg back into the stew and reheat. Once the amaranth is cooked, season with a hefty pinch of salt and pepper and slurp.

Photo credit: Louisa Parry

Lamb and Quinoa Training Fuel, Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • Braising lamb, diced, 600g
  • Onions, diced, 2
  • Carrot, diced, 1
  • Parsnip, diced, 1
  • Sweet potato, diced, 1
  • Red wine, 250ml
  • Bay leaves, 2
  • Rosemary, 5 sprigs
  • Chicken stock, 600ml
  • Plain flour, 3 tbsp
  • Vegetable oil, 2 tbsp
  • Cumin seeds, crushed, 1 tsp
  • Tomato purée, 2 tbsp

Method

Coat the lamb in flour, salt and brown in the oil, before setting aside. Preheat the oven to 140°C. Add the oil, onions and cumin to a casserole dish until lightly caramelised. Add tomato purée, red wine and herbs, then simmer to reduce to a syrup. Add the stock and 200ml of warm water, then simmer for a further 15 minutes. Add the lamb, cover and bake in the oven for 2 hours. Finally, add the carrots, parsnip, sweet potato and quinoa to the lamb stew and simmer on the stovetop for 20 minutes. Resist the temptation to tuck in early, no matter how good it smells.

Photo credit: Louisa Parry

Happy Belly Buckwheat Meatball Bake, Serves 4

Ingredients

  • Beef mince, 600g
  • Cheddar cheese, grated, 200g
  • Tinned chopped tomatoes, 400g
  • Toasted buckwheat, cooked, 200g
  • Onions, diced, 2
  • Tomato ketchup, 8 tbsp
  • Worcestershire sauce, 6 tbsp
  • Dijon mustard, 1 tbsp
  • Parsley, chopped, 1 bunch<
  • Vegetable oil, 4 tbsp

Method

Combine the mince, parsley and half the amount of ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and onion. Season and divide into 16 meatballs, then refrigerate. For the tomato sauce, heat 2 tbsp oil in a saucepan, add the remaining onion and cook until soft. Add the chopped tomatoes, mustard, 100ml water and the remaining ketchup and Worcestershire. Simmer for 10 minutes, then blend until smooth. Add the buckwheat and preheat the oven to 180°C. Brown the meatballs, place them in a baking dish, cover with buckwheat sauce, top with the grated cheese and bake for 20 minutes then dig in.

Photo credit: Louisa Parry

Veggie Muscle Farro Fritters, Serves 4

Ingredients

  • Courgettes, grated, 6
  • Cheddar, grated, 70g
  • Farro, 150g
  • Shallots, diced, 4
  • Garlic clove, diced, 1
  • Cumin seeds, toasted and crushed, 2 tbsp
  • Plain flour, 4 tbsp
  • Chopped parsley, 3 tbsp
  • Mustard powder, ½ tsp
  • Vegetable oil, 4 tbsp
  • Salt, 2 tsp

Method

Drop your farro into boiling water and cook for 20 mins. Drain and set aside. Grate the courgette into a colander and sprinkle with salt. Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a frying pan. When hot, add the shallots and garlic and cook until soft. Add the cumin, then move to a mixing bowl. Squeeze out as much liquid from the courgettes as possible for extra-crisp fritters. Add the flour, cheese, farro, lemon zest and parsley, shape into 8 balls, then flatten into patties. Heat the remaining oil and fry the patties until golden brown. Sprinkle with chilli flakes for a spicy hit or serve with poached eggs for a best-ever brunch.

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