One surefire way to make food enjoyable is to add some fat to it.

Grains in particular come alive in the company of fat. To keep food healthful, however, you need to choose the right fats, namely omega-3s and omega-6s, found abundantly in flax, walnuts, sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds (and their oils). To protect the fragile omega-3s from heat damage, only stir in these fats after grains are done cooking. Adding fresh herbs and vegetables further enhances whole grains, creating a garden of delight where health and pleasure synergize beautifully.

Quinoa with Mixed Vegetables

Serves 8

Quinoa, a staple of the Incas, is a gluten-free whole protein and a good source of phosphorus, magnesium, iron, and fiber.

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Web-Exclusive recipe: Amaranth with Chipotle and Mushrooms

Serves 8 / The first time I tried amaranth, I hated it. Then I realized that its unique earthy flavor and odd texture require specific treatment, as in this Mexican-oriented dish. I think of it as a sort of Aztec polenta. Ingredient tip: You only need one chipotle in adobo for this recipe, but purée the rest from the can (strain out seeds) and serve alongside for extra heat. Serving tip: This dish has a loose consistency, so serve in wide bowls. Shrimp makes a nice partner.

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Web-Exclusive recipe: Sprouted Spelt and Seed Bread

Makes 1 loaf, about 12 slices / This is an upgraded, 21st-century version of Essene bread, a delicious, chewy, nutty whole-grain bread. Sliced ahead of time, it packs well and makes good fuel for hiking and traveling when paired with a sweet spread, such as almond or apple butter. It also can be frozen for up to a month.

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As a former personal chef, Alan Roettinger's signature achievement has been inventing dishes that are both healthy and palate thrilling. His new book is Omega-3 Cuisine (Book Publishing, 2008).

GRAINS COOKING CHART: Click here for a handy guide to cooking grains!