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 ¾ 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 ½ 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 ½ 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!
I made this 2 times last week! Awesome!
I am glad you're enjoying it, Gretchen!
Rice cooker method — thank you for your post! It was successful when I tried it the first time last week.i tried it again but the grains remained hard and did not increase in volume. what went wrong?
Sometimes kamut can be fussy if it is older -- it just gets very dry! You might try again now that the grains are "soaked" and see if they cook up. If you end up with extra water once it is fully cooked, just drain it off.
Delish! I love Kamut and enjoy trying it new ways. Thanks for a great recipe.
You are so welcome, Sylvia!
I haven’t tried your recipe but it sounds really good so I gave you a five-star feedback. I just tried cooking Kamut Using a 3 to 1 ratio and it is just too much liquid. The next time I cook it I’m going to reduce the water to 2 cups and just keep an eye on it so it doesn’t go dry.
Thank you so much, Clara! I can't wait to hear your feedback after you make it.
Tweaked the recipe slightly as I had cauliflower but not kale, added minced 1/2 Thai chili and doubled the garlic - it was delicious, hubby and kids loved it. Glad I found your blog, thanks for this keeper recipe.
Those subs sound delightful. Thank you for taking the time come back and leave a thoughtful review and comment!
Thank you for sharing this delicious recipe. This one is my favorite because it has amino acids that help me build protein and also it has many beneficial effects.
I haven't bought Kamut yet, I will, I am planning to make bread with it, love this post about cooking kamut. Thanks for sharing with Hearth and soul blog hop. pinning.
Thanks for the link-up!
I love the idea of cooking Kamut in the rice cooker - that's brilliant - I love me some hands off cooking! :)
Thank you! I also love not having to be there during part of the cooking process. Haha
Linda @ Veganosity
Great information! I bet it's super chewy and nutty in flavor. :)
Thank you, Linda! It really is. I way over-served myself the first time I had Kamut, because it's so filling!
Sina @ Vegan Heaven
I've never heard of kamut before, but it sounds really interesting! I love grains!
Alisa @ Go Dairy Free
I've got a bag of kamut that's getting pretty lonely in the cupboard. Thanks for the guide and recipe, I needed this for inspiration!
Happy cooking, Alisa!
Mel @ avirtualvegan.com
I was looking at Kamut a few days ago while shopping. I wish I had picked it up now. It looks great and I love using the ancient grains. They are so nutritious!
They really are! You could make this with oat groats or farro, if those are easier to find!
I've never tried kamut, but I love big, chewy grains. I'm going to keep an eye out for this one! Thanks, Becky!
I have never tried kamut, but I love changing up our grains. This pilaf looks great! I'm going to have to get my hands on some kamut!
Never heard of Kamut but sounds lovely. I have been lately obsessed with Freekeh, so delicious!
Ooh I need to pick up some freekeh and experiment. It has a good name, that's for sure!
Sophia @veggies don't bite
We eat farro a lot but have never tried kamut! I'm sure I'd like it, I like all al dente like grains. Looks delicious!
Ooh yes. If you like farro, you'll dig kamut, also. Thank you, Sophia!
Aimee / Wallflower Kitchen
Never cooked with it before but I'm intrigued! I'll keep an eye out for it :-) The pilaf looks delicious!
Let me know if you develop a recipe, Aimee! I'd love to flesh out the list on this page even more with additional recipe links!
YUM! That looks delish. :) Kamut is tasty-- I just adore grains of all varieties! Do you like buckwheat? Another fave!
I haven't cooked too much with buckwheat! Maybe used it in a chili once a long time ago. How do you like cooking it?
I'd been eying kamut too wondering what it is. Sounds awesome!