Easy Grain Foods

Schools News

Many ancient civilisations have relied on grain foods for nourishment.  While the Chinese were eating rice, the Babylonians and Assyrians were eating wheat and barley and in Central and South America they were using maize.  Today we have access to a wide variety of different grain foods.  They give us fibre and plenty of vitamins and minerals to keep us healthy.   In many cases grain foods are relatively cheap.

Here are some of our favourite recipes using grains.



Rice Stuffed Capsicum

Serves 6



  • 6 capsicums, halved lengthwise, seeded
  • 3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced;
  • 60ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 400g canned lentils
  • 1/3 cup currants
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 a lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped parsley
  • 80g cheese, grated



1. Preheat oven to 220°C

2. Place capsicum, cut side up, in a roasting pan. Scatter with a third of the garlic and drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil. Roast for 30 mins or until tender

3. Cook rice as per instructions on the packet.

4. Mix lentils, currants, vinegar, lemon juice, cumin, parsley, cheese and remaining oil in a large bowl and stir.

7. Add rice to lentil mixture, spoon into roast capsicums.  Return to oven for 5 minutes.  Serve with a side salad.




Pearl Barley and Chicken Salad

Serves 4



  • 1 cup dry pearl barley
  • 2 skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 teaspoons dried or chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • Spray olive oil
  • 1/3 cup (55g) pumpkin seeds
  • 250g punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
  • 1 cucumber, sliced
  • 200g rocket
  • 150grams reduced fat feta, crumbled



  1. Boil Barley: Wash pearl barley well and place in a saucepan with 2L (8 cups) boiling water. Simmer for 30 minutes with the lid on, until just tender. Once cooked pour into a colander and rinse under cold water then drain the barley.
  2. Season Chicken:  Rub oregano and paprika onto chicken breasts until it is evenly coated
  3. Cook Chicken: In a hot pan begin cooking chicken breasts over medium heat. Use spray oil to prevent it from sticking.  Thinly slice chicken once it is cooked and set it aside.
  4. Pumpkin seeds: Toast pumpkin seeds in a pan over low heat for about 5 minutes. Stir them occasionally.
  5. Assemble salad: In a bowl add drained pearl barley, sliced cooked chicken, rocket, olives, cherry tomatoes, cucumber pumpkin seeds and crumbled feta. Add dressing and toss to combine.


Lemon Basil Dressing

  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely sliced basil leaves
  • Pepper

Make Dressing: To make dressing, place all ingredients in a screw-top jar or container and shake well.




Pizza Base



  • 2 cups plain wholemeal flour
  • 1 x sachet of dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon caster sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 cup warm water



  1. Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and add oil & water.
  2. Mix into a soft dough.
  3. Knead on a floured surface until soft and pliable (or you can use a food processor with a dough hook attachment)
  4. Return to mixing bowl, cover with cling wrap and leave in warm spot for 20 – 30 mins. The dough should almost double in size.
  5. When it has risen, ‘punch’ the dough to remove air bubbles. Remove from bowl and knead gently for 1 min.
  6. Divide the dough into two equal portions
  7. Roll the dough out to the desired size using a rolling pin.  Top with your favorite toppings, including plenty of veggies and cook in a hot oven.