What is kamut? Here's what you need to know about this ancient grain, plus how to cook kamut and a collection of delicious kamut recipes.
What is kamut, and how do you cook it? That is the question I asked myself in the aisle at the DeKalb Farmers Market, as I stared at the container of grains that looked slightly plumper than brown rice.
I vaguely remembered reading something somewhere about kamut being awesome but had no idea where or why. Of course, I decided the answer was to just buy the stuff and figure it out in the kitchen. I'm so glad I did!
You can pretty much think of kamut as the heartiest brown rice you've ever had, and it's got a chewier texture and nuttier flavor.
Kamut is an ancient variety of wheat. It's got more protein than regular wheat and more vitamins and minerals, too! A 3/4 cup (cooked) serving of cooked kamut contains:
- 160 calories
- 1g fat
- 4g dietary fiber (16% of your daily needs)
- 7g protein (14% of your daily needs)
- 2% of your daily calcium
- 10% of your daily iron
It also contains plenty of trace minerals, like selenium, zinc, and magnesium. Pair your kamut with some iron-rich dark, leafy greens, and that magnesium will help your body absorb the iron. Boom.
Kamut is related to wheat, but some people find the gluten in kamut more easy to digest than in conventional wheat products. If you have a wheat intolerance, definitely talk to your doctor or a nutritionist about kamut. I do not recommend kamut to anyone with celiac disease. The gluten in kamut is easier to digest, but it's still gluten.
Where to Buy Kamut
Kamut is not always the easiest grain to find at the regular grocery store.
If your store has a bulk section, that's a good bet. Also check in the aisle where they sell packaged, dry grains, like rice and barley.
I've found kamut in the bulk section at Whole Foods before, but they don't always have it. Here in Atlanta, they usually stock it at the Dekalb Farmers Market.
If you can't find it in stores, you can order kamut online. I like this one, from Bob's Red Mill.
Substitutes for Kamut
If you don't want to order online and can't find kamut at your grocery store of choice, you can substitute other grains in its place. Good substitutes for kamut are:
- wheat berries
- oat groats
These may have slightly different cooking times, but the water ratio is the same, and they'll lend a similar taste and texture that works in most kamut recipes.
You can use any of the kamut cooking methods below to make this easy kamut pilaf. The recipe for this vegan bowl of goodness is below, as well.
How to Cook Kamut on the Stovetop
Bob's Red Mill suggests soaking kamut overnight to reduce cooking time, but it's not required. If you do soak, drain before following the directions below.
- Add 1 cup kamut to 3 cups boiling vegetable broth or water. Reduce the heat to low.
- Cover the pot, and let the soaked grains simmer for 30-40 minutes. Unsoaked grains need 45-60 minutes.
- Your kamut is ready when it's chewy and tender. If you soaked, there may be some liquid left in the pot. Drain it off, and serve.
How to Cook Kamut in the Rice Cooker
I like a rice cooker or pressure cooker for cooking kamut, because you don't have to pay attention while things cook. That leaves you free to prep the rest of your meal or just have a quiet minute. Hurrah!
Here's how to cook kamut in your rice cooker:
- Combine 1 cup kamut with 3 cups water or veggie broth.
- Turn it on (choose the brown rice setting, if your pot has white and brown rice settings).
- When it clicks or beeps, it's done. It will take around 45-60 minutes to cook.
How to Cook Kamut in the Pressure Cooker
Like cooking quinoa, the pressure cooker shaves down your kamut cooking time. Unlike in the rice cooker, though, you definitely need to soak your kamut before cooking it in your pressure cooker.
- Soak your kamut overnight or do a quick soak, just like you'd do with dried beans. This quick soak method takes an hour and change. Do not skip the soaking. I tried and ended up with undercooked kamut that wouldn't soften, no matter how many times I turned the cooker back on at pressure.
- Combine 1 cup soaked kamut with 2 1/2 cups water or veggie broth.
- Bring to high pressure, and cook for 25 minutes.
- Let the pressure come down naturally, drain off any leftover liquid, and serve.
Easy Kamut Pilaf
- 1 cup kamut - uncooked (Cook using any of the methods described in the section below this recipe.)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup chopped sweet onion
- 3 cloves garlic - minced
- 1 1/2 cups chopped carrots
- 2 cups kale - chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 1 cup roasted pumpkin seeds
- juice of 1 fresh lemon
- 3 green onion - chopped
- Cook the kamut in vegetable broth using your preferred method listed above. I used Not Chick’n broth cubes.
- Heat the oil on medium in a large frying pan. Add the onion, garlic, and carrots and cook, stirring, until the onions soften, about 7 minutes.
- Add the kale to the pan, and cook for 4-5 more minutes, until it turns a vibrant, bright green.
- Toss the cooked kamut with the veggie mixture, pumpkin seeds, and lemon juice in a large bowl. Top with the green onions, and serve!
More Delicious Kamut Recipes
- Get-Well-Quick Chickpea Soup - Throw your kamut and veggies into the crock pot, and you'll have some soothing, healing soup in no time.
- Kamut with Caramelized Onions - Kristen's hearty recipe calls for wheat berries, but she says that kamut works great as a substitute.
- Kamut + Wild Rice Salad - This is another nice, summer salad that would be a good meal all on its own.
- Lemon-Mint Kamut - Ellen Kanner's bright, lemony kamut salad with chickpeas is a nice, simple weeknight meal.
- Spicy Kamut and Chickpea Stew - What can I say? Kamut and chickpeas are a great combination! Ally's stew recipe is a one-pot meal, so there's very little cleanup.
- Kamut Salad - Skip the egg garnish to make this fresh, summery salad. Instead of egg, serve with a little crispy baked tofu!