Khorasan wheat (aka Kamut in its trademark form) is nutty, slightly sweet and, with kernels twice the size of modern wheat, a particularly fascinating ancient grain.
The grain first appeared in the U.S. in 1949 when a United States airman came upon the giant kernels in Egypt and mailed them to his family’s Montana farm. Legend has it that those grains were found in a Pharoah’s tomb, thus the nickname “King Tut’s Wheat” (though the variety of wheat in ancient Egyptian tombs was actually einkorn).
Another legend has Noah bringing khorasan wheat with him on the ark, thus leading to the name “Phrophet’s Wheat.” However, the grain experienced little initial commercial success and quickly fell out of regular cultivation until recently.
Modern-day recipes are rapidly beginning to embrace this superb ingredient, though. In addition to its buttery, slightly earthy flavor, Kamut provides a hefty load of nutritional benefits. Not only is the grain high in protein, it also comes with exceptionally high levels of selenium, magnesium, and zinc, especially when compared to modern wheat. It contains a high amount of lipids, and is therefore able to generate more energy in the body than traditional carbohydrates.
A 2013 study with the European Journal of Nutrition found that Kamut could help lower cholesterol and blood sugar, and improve some markers of oxidative stress and inflammation. That said, kamut contains gluten, so it should not be consumed by individuals with extreme wheat sensitivities or those avoiding gluten altogether.
Regardless, the health benefits of Kamut make it a wonderful substitute for a variety of recipes calling for modern wheat.
How to Use Kamut
As the popularity of Kamut continues to rise, professional and home chefs are finding innovative ways to transform this ingredient into healthy snacks and flavorful meals. Kamut flour—the ground version of the grain—can be used to create exotic breads or muffins bursting with nutty flavor, and the oats/flakes are easily substituted in a variety of recipes. Fancy a summer salad? Toss in some Kamut and you’ve got yourself a meal. Some of our favorite recipes include:
- Kamut sourdough bread
- Kamut and spinach citrus salad
- Kamut margherita salad
- Kamut and black bean burger
- Chamomile and Kamut pound cake
- Raspberry, pear, and cacao nib Kamut cake
I personally squealed with joy when I discovered that Kamut could be used in smoothie recipes. For a breakfast loaded with healthy fats, whole grains, and the never-fail combination of coconut and tropical fruit, try this kamut-inspired recipe.
Mango, Pineapple, and Strawberry Kamut Smoothie Bowl
*Makes one huge smoothie bowl, or two smaller versions.
- 1 cup of coconut milk, unsweetened
- ¾ cup of Kamut oats or flakes
- 6-8 strawberries
- 1 mango
- ½ banana
- ½ cup of fresh pineapple
- 1 handful of spinach
- 1 cup of ice
- Stevia to taste (optional)
- Chia seeds (for topping)
- Sliced almonds (for topping)
Pour the milk and Kamut into a bowl and soak for 15 to 20 minutes.
Slice the mango into cubes. Add about half of the mango a blender, along with the strawberries, banana, pineapple, spinach, and ice. Add the milk and kamut mixture and blend on high until completely smooth. Taste and add the stevia, if desired.
Pour the smoothie into a bowl. Top with chia seeds, almonds, and remaining mango.
Written by Amanda Kohr. Cover photo by Amanda Kohr.
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