33 of Our Best Whole Grain Recipes for Every Meal

Italian Barley and Sausage Casserole
Photo: Jason Donnelly

Trying to get more whole grains in your diet? You've come to the right place for healthy whole grain recipes. Here, you'll find our best main dishes, sides, soups, salads, and even desserts and breakfast recipes featuring healthy whole grains such as barley, quinoa, farro, and brown rice.

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Chickpea and Freekah Salad

Chickpea and Freekah Salad
Andy Lyons

Power Grain: Freekah

Freekah is a quick-cooking whole grain that is roasted, giving it a slightly nutty, smoky flavor. Try it in this whole-grain salad that's also loaded with chickpeas, avocado, and feta cheese. We know you'll love freekah just as much as quinoa (maybe even more).

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Whole Grain Panzanella

Whole Grain Panzanella
Andy Lyons

Power Grain: Whole Wheat

Panzanella is an Italian tomato salad typically made with white bread. This fresh, healthier twist swaps in whole wheat bread, which contains more whole grains to keep you fuller longer. Serve it alongside your favorite protein (chicken breast or salmon, perhaps?) for a well-rounded meal.

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Winter Bulgur Salad with Olive Dressing

Winter Bulgur Salad with Olive Dressing
Andy Lyons

Power Grain: Bulgur

Thanks to the addition of bulgur, this whole-grain recipe is hearty enough to become a meal on its own. Just like any salad, it has a healthy serving of veggies. We used cauliflower, Kalamata olives, and escarole to make this dish stand out.

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Pumpkin Flaxseed Chocolate Breakfast Bars

Pumpkin Flaxseed Chocolate Breakfast Bars
Courtesy of Alice Choi

Power Grains: Flaxseed, Oats

Any breakfast that includes chocolate is a win in my book. These pumpkin bars made with nutritious ingredients such as flaxseed, whole-grain oats, and banana are the perfect way to start the day. A hint of peanut butter in the batter adds a delightful nuttiness to each bite. Use naturally-sweetened chocolate chips to keep the sugar count down.

Buy It: Lily's Dark Chocolate Baking Chips ($6, Target)

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Quick Pork-and-Vegetable Fried Brown Rice

Quick Pork-and-Vegetable Fried Brown Rice
Karla Conrad

Power Grain: Brown Rice

Sure, you could order takeout, but we think this homemade fried rice is even better. Not only is it tasty and super fast to make, but it also uses whole-grain brown rice, making it healthier than anything you can get delivered.

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Italian Barley and Sausage Casserole

Italian Barley and Sausage Casserole
Jason Donnelly

Power Grain: Barley

Step up your casserole game by using whole grains. This whole-grain dish utilizes barley, which can help improve heart health, bone health, and reduce inflammation. Classic ingredients such as tomato sauce, fresh mushrooms, and lots of melty mozzarella cheese keep the flavors familiar and satisfying.

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Whole Wheat Chocolate-Blueberry Cake

Whole Wheat Chocolate-Blueberry Cake
Andy Lyons

Power Grain: Whole Wheat

This chocolate cake isn't exactly healthy, but it's definitely a better way to satisfy your chocolate cravings than most other dessert recipes. Using whole wheat flour instead of white flour adds fiber and vitamins, plus you get a helping of fruit thanks to fresh blueberries.

Buy It: OXO Good Grips Pro Nonstick 9-Inch Square Cake Pan ($20, Bed Bath & Beyond)

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Sweet and Spicy Barley

Sweet and Spicy Barley
Andy Lyons

Power Grains: Barley, Brown Rice

This simple risotto-like whole-grain dish benefits from the nutrition of both barley and brown rice. Tender onion and spinach contribute to the sweet flavor. Chopped chipotle pepper provides a spicy kick. Stir-in fresh thyme before serving to add an herbal freshness.

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Barley-Butternut Casserole

Barley-Butternut Casserole
Jason Donnelly

Power Grain: Barley

This vibrant whole-grain side dish casserole is brimming with healthy veggies like celery, onion, and butternut squash. The dish gets a bit of its protein (and a good dose of B vitamins) from barley, a whole grain that's high in fiber.

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Whole Wheat Pumpkin Bread

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Bread
Andy Lyons

Power Grain: Whole Wheat

No need to feel guilty about digging into this cinnamon-laced pumpkin bread. Every slice is baked with whole wheat flour, which contains more fiber and vitamins than white flour. We also opted for low-fat yogurt to keep the fall treat perfectly moist.

Buy It: Wilton 9x5-Inch Loaf Pan ($8, Target)

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Lebanese Beef and Tabbouleh Salad

Lebanese Beef and Tabbouleh Salad
Jason Donnelly

Power Grain: Bulgur

Tabbouleh is a fresh herb salad popular in Middle Eastern cuisine. Bulgur brings a slew of fiber and good-for-you nutrients to this whole-grain recipe. Top the tomato-studded whole-grain salad with perfectly seasoned strips of lean steak for a mouthwatering fix of protein.

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Quinoa and Butternut Bowl

Quinoa and Butternut Bowl
Con Poulos

Power Grain: Quinoa

Who doesn't love a good grain bowl? Butternut squash and kale are the perfect partners for this quinoa bowl. And to add even more protein to this whole-grain dish, try topping with a poached egg. When cooking quinoa, make sure you rinse it first. This removes its natural coating called saponin, which can make it taste bitter or soapy.

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Whole Grain Chocolate Chip Cookies

Whole Grain Chocolate Chip Cookies
Kritsada Panichgul

Power Grains: Oats, Barley, Wheat Bran

A healthy cookie? Oh, yes! These hearty chocolate chip cookies pack a slew of nutrient-rich whole grains, including oats, barley, and whole wheat. Stud the 94-calorie treats with chopped walnuts and tropical shreds of coconut for a crunchy, fruity finish.

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Toasty Whole Grain Orange Muffins

Toasty Whole Grain Orange Muffins
Andy Lyons

Power Grains: Oats, Quinoa, Whole Wheat

Give your morning a sweet, energetic boost with these satisfying citrus whole-grain muffins. Oats and quinoa help make up an unbeatable batter filled with iron, antioxidants, and magnesium. A smear of orange marmalade gives these healthy muffins a sun-kissed finish.

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Cherry Quinoa Salad

Cherry Quinoa Salad
Jason Donnelly

Power Grain: Quinoa

This light vegetarian grain salad features a mix of wine-simmered quinoa, sweet cherries, and vitamin-filled veggies. Serve the iron- and protein-rich salad atop cool cucumber ribbons or crisp snap peas.

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Grain Pancakes with Strawberry-Rhubarb Sauce

Grain Pancakes with Strawberry-Rhubarb Sauce
Karla Conrad

Power Grains: Oats, Whole Wheat

Curb your morning grumbles with a pretty plate of strawberry-rhubarb pancakes. Rolled oats and wheat pastry flour make a heart-healthy alternative to the boxed mix. Best of all, you can enjoy two fluffy pancakes for only 200 calories.

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Bulgur Salad with Chickpeas, Feta, and Mint

Bulgur Salad with Chickpeas, Feta, and Mint
Andy Lyons

Power Grain: Bulgur

Bulgur is a staple of Middle Eastern cuisine that tastes great in just about anything, from cereal to casseroles. Here, we use the lean, chewy grain as a base for this lime-splashed chicken salad. Chopped oranges and red peppers add a healthy pop of color.

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Farro, Bean, and Sweet Potato Braise

Farro Bean Sweet Potato Braise
Karla Conrad

Power Grain: Farro

This slow-cooked braise simmers sweet potatoes, pinto beans, and nutrient-rich greens in a garlicky, lemon-infused chicken broth (or veggie broth if you want to keep things vegetarian). Farro (the star of the dish) offers minerals like magnesium and fiber.

Buy It: Crock-Pot 6-Quart Programmable Cook & Carry Slow Cooker ($40, Target)

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Crunchy Grain Cakes with Strawberry Salad

Crunchy Grain Cakes with Strawberry Salad
Andy Lyons

Power Grain: Whole Grain Rice Medley

Use a handful of your favorite whole-grain rice to help make up these crunchy cakes. Whether it's long grain or brown rice, there's a delicious fix of plant-based protein in every bite. Serve the cakes with a leafy strawberry salad.

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Zen Edamame Pilaf

Zen Edamame Pilaf
Karla Conrad

Power Grains: Wheat Berries, Barley

Wheat berries bring a sweet, nutty flavor to this bowl of garlic-and-grain perfection. In addition to barley and wild rice, this 150-calorie bowl also gets its nutrients from fresh peppers and onions, which are full of good-for-you vitamins such as A, C, and E.

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Gingered Chicken Meatball Soup with Brown Rice and Basil

Gingered Chicken Meatball Soup
Jason Donnelly

Power Grain: Brown Rice

Ginger, red bell pepper, and green onion add hints of zesty sweetness to these homemade chicken meatballs. Brown rice, like many whole grains, is full of magnesium, which benefits your heart, bones, and muscles.

Test Kitchen Tip: Hate the hassle of taking an hour to cook rice? Make a large batch at one time, then freeze for up to six months.

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Stuffed Poblano Chiles with Sausage and Corn

Stuffed Poblano Chiles with Sausage and Corn
Andy Lyons

Power Grain: Farro

Sub this ancient grain for rice in stuffed pepper dishes to add health benefits, slightly nutty flavor, and pleasant chewy texture. In this low-fat appetizer, roasted poblanos are the perfect vessel for the sausage, corn, bean, and veggie medley. Serve with salsa to amp up the spice.

Buy It: USA Pan Nonstick Half Sheet Pan ($22, Williams Sonoma)

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Quinoa-Nectarine Gazpacho with Crispy Spiced Tortilla Strips

Quinoa-Nectarine Gazpacho
Andy Lyons

Power Grain: Quinoa

Protein-rich quinoa has nearly twice as much fiber as other grains, making it worthy of including in your weekly meal plan. It adds heartiness to this chilled Spanish-style soup with a bountiful mix of fruits and veggies, including nectarines, jalapeños, and red onion.

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Apple-Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread

Apple-Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread
Andy Lyons

Power Grain: Flaxseed

No need to feel guilty about digging into this irresistible pull-apart bread. Each serving has fewer than 200 calories and gets a nutritional boost from flaxseed, which is high in fiber, iron, and omega-3 fatty acids.

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Collard Greens with Lemon, Farro, and Feta

Collard Greens with Lemon, Farro, and Feta
Jason Donnelly

Power Grain: Farro

Boost a typical side salad with lemon- and garlic-infused greens and farro, a high-fiber grain that also contains a hearty amount of protein. Creamy feta is the perfect topping for this quick and easy dish. Use our tips for blanching your veggies to ensure the greens cook to perfection while maintaining the vibrant color and texture.

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Apple-Cranberry Crisp

Apple Cranberry Crisp
Peter Krumhardt

Power Grain: Oats

Fruit crisps aren't just for dessert anymore. Serve this tangy fruit dish with an egg casserole to round out Saturday's brunch menu. Keep those rolled oats fresh by storing them in a cool, dry pantry for up to six months.

Buy It: Everyday Square Baking Dish ($18, Crate & Barrel)

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Lentil-Toasted Barley Soup with Sausage

Lentil-Toasted Barley Soup with Sausage
Jason Donnelly

Power Grain: Barley

Toasting the barley before adding it to the soup brings out the sweet, nutty flavor of the high-fiber grain. This cozy soup is loaded with good-for-you veggies and lentils. The addition of chicken sausage makes it hearty enough to serve as a meal.

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Banana-Oat Breakfast Cookies

Banana-Oat Breakfast Cookies stacked
Jason Donnelly

Power Grain: Oats, Whole Wheat

Who says oatmeal has to be served in a bowl? These delicious breakfast cookies freeze easily and thaw quickly for on-the-go mornings. They're also high in soluble fiber to help decrease LDL (bad) cholesterol. Make a batch of these whole-grain treats and store them for up to two months in the freezer for grab-and-go breakfast.

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Zucchini Cupcakes with Greek Yogurt Frosting

Zucchini Cupcakes with Greek Yogurt Frosting
Karla Conrad

Power Grain: Quinoa

Opt for a healthier version of a bakery favorite with these quinoa (yes, quinoa!) cupcakes. The cooked seeds add a hearty texture to this healthy sweet treat. Each cupcake is low in fat and has fewer than 200 calories. Keep this quick zucchini recipe on hand when you need to use up your bumper crop.

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Cheesy Greens and Grains Casserole

Cheesy Greens and Grains Casserole
Brie Passano

Power Grain: Brown Rice

When looking for whole-grain recipes to serve the family as the main course, look no further than this cheesy vegetarian meal. It's got a healthy, colorful blend of kale, spinach, and sweet potato to boost the veggie intake. We made the casserole super comforting and filling by adding brown rice, lentils, toasted walnuts, and plenty of melty cheese.

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Zucchini-Banana Snack Cake

Zucchini-Banana Snack Cake
Scott Little

Power Grain: Wheat Germ

When you're in the mood for chocolate brownies, make a pan of these whole-grain bars instead. They're guilt-free treats to satisfy your sweet, chocolaty desires. Wheat germ is packed with nutrients including vitamins B1 and E, niacin, and folate. If you're craving brownies but don't have wheat germ on hand, you can substitute it with ground flaxseed meal.

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Barley-Stuffed Peppers

Barley-Stuffed Peppers
Jason Donnelly

Power Grain: Barley

Red bell peppers are filled with barley, mushrooms, and other veggies in this healthy whole-grain dish that's ready in less than an hour. Pretty enough to serve at a gathering and easy enough for a weeknight dinner, this take on the comforting favorite offers the best of both worlds.

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Mediterranean Kale & Cannellini Stew with Farro

Mediterranean Kale & Cannellini Stew with Farro
Blaine Moats

Power Grain: Farro or Kamut

Add some Mediterranean flair to your week with this cozy whole-grain recipe. Choose between chewy farro or kamut for some plant-based protein, fiber, and B vitamins. Bonus: It takes hardly any time to prep and your slow cooker does the rest of the cooking for you!

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