It’s been a while since I focused on a gluten-free grain, and I need to remedy that. Particularly since I’ve been enjoying so many great ones lately. And since sorghum is a grain that Americans don’t eat that often, I thought it was time to introduce it here.
I bought a bag of sorghum at my local 99 Ranch Market (a great resource for Asian ingredients), and, typically, put it in the pantry for, well, about a year. I simply didn’t know what I wanted to do with it. Then, as I was looking on the shelves for a grain to prepare for a week’s meals, I spotted the sorghum.
It was time, I thought, it was time.
First step: figure out how to cook the stuff. Okay, simple. Three cups water, 1 cup sorghum, salt. Bring the water to a boil in a pot, then lower the heat, cover your pot, and let the grains simmer until the water is absorbed and the grains are soft, but a bit chewy. This can take 30 minutes to an hour. You can also cook sorghum in your rice cooker (same ratio) or slow cooker.
Next: what do with all that sorghum (one cup uncooked is about 4 cups cooked, give or take)? I’d already planned to make tofu vindaloo (take chicken vindaloo recipe, substitute tofu, marinate tofu for at least an hour or overnight, grab a sweet potato since I was out of regular potatoes, and cook in the same manner), so the sorghum will do the honors usually held by rice. I also included in my lunch containers — which were a variation on your typical grain bowl.
Sorghum is chewy and slightly sweet. Not the kind of sweet that overwhelms a dish, but a light, delicate kind of sweet. Warm, it will absorb dressings readily.
And then: what else could I do with sorghum? See below for ideas.
- Breads and Baked Goods. Sorghum flour is a popular gluten-free ingredient in breads and other baked goods. This flour has a mild, slightly sweet taste, and some gluten-free bakers think it’s a close match in texture to wheat flour. Bear in mind that sorghum, like most gluten-free flours, will result in a dry, crumbly mess unless you include binders such as xanthan gum or cornstarch in your GF flour mix. Though I’m not much of a baker, I am intrigued by this recipe for sorghum muffins with blueberries and lemon.
- Grain Bowls. Grain bowls, which include the ever-popular Buddha bowl, consist of veggies, protein, and grains. Add seeds or nuts if you wish. You can add a dressing based on the flavors (I love to use salsa or, ahem, hot sauce). The idea is to have lots of textures and flavors, using this sorghum pesto bowl as an example. (I really do love the flexibility of grain bowls, to the point most of my weekday lunches are a riff on this concept.)
- Porridge. Sorghum is made for breakfast dishes. In fact, it’s an ingredient in Bob’s Red Mill Mighty Tasty Hot Cereal (which also contains brown rice, corn, and buckwheat). This recipe for a sorghum, cinnamon, and almond porridge is a great inspiration for sorghum porridge ideas.
- Quinoa Substitute. Enough said. Seriously, while I do love me some quinoa, it’s not the only gluten-free grain in town!
- Rice Substitute. Anything rice can, so can sorghum. Make a pilaf with sorghum for a different kind of flavor.
- Sorghum Couscous. If you’ve been missing couscous because you’re gluten free, sorghum is a great substitute. Sorghum is a round grain, and when it’s cooked, it looks a lot like Israeli couscous (aka pearl couscous), which features larger balls of pasta. Dress with a vinaigrette and stir in diced cucumbers, red peppers or tomatoes, and you have a great, simple salad. Or try this recipe featuring tahini.
Have you tried sorghum? What are your favorite recipes?
Tip of the Week
Like most grains, sorghum freezes and thaws really well. This is helpful since it takes a bit longer to cook that most other gluten-free grains. I froze mine in small containers for lunches, and larger containers for weeknight meals.
Gluten-Free Meal of the Week
After enjoying sorghum in my lunches for a week, I found it was perfect for so-called Buddha Bowls — those delicious combinations of grains and veggies and sauce. The beauty of this kind of recipe is how customizable it is. Switch around the legumes, the veggies, the seeds, the grains….but, whatever else you do, keep the sauce!
Seriously, if you haven’t had an avocado-based sauce, this is the time to enjoy one. Oh sure, you can add avocado slices and call it a meal, but why not give this sauce a try? It made me happy when I did.