Flavor of the Month: Ancient Grains

Get to know farro, einkorn, spet, quinoa, and other old souls in the chef’s pantry.
Farro, einkorn, and spelt are getting star treatment from chefs looking for alternatives to modern wheat that has been hybridized and modified to the point that it bears little resemblance to its original self. While there’s no universally agreed upon definition of ancient grains, the term generally refers to grains that have been passed down through the centuries unchanged. Sorghum, chia, and millet fit the bill, and, like many of the other ancient grains—including quinoa, buckwheat, and amaranth—are naturally gluten free. Ancient-grain porridge is a staple on the menu at Milktooth, with spelt berries, Chinese black rice, and Indiana oats, while chef Audrey Barron at Ezra’s Enlightened Café uses them in her sweet potato–quinoa burger wrap with cashew mayo. You can grab a chia-seed pudding bowl for breakfast at Rize, with add-ins like kiwi, almond butter, and lavender honey, or build your own grain bowl at CoreLife Eatery and choose from toppings ranging from arugula and chickpeas to roasted tofu and sriracha.