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Kamut: A complete guide to the nutritious ancient grain

It only takes a little bit of searching to see that Kamut has taken the baking world by storm. This versatile grain can replace all-purpose wheat, but it does come with some quirks. Let's dive in.
What Is Kamut

Table of Contents

Kamut, also known as Khorasan wheat, has been around for thousands of years, with its origins tracing back to ancient Egypt. However, it feels like it’s only recently that this versatile grain is gaining popularity in the world of baking and cooking. I’m excited to share my findings on this not-so-new ancient grain that is both organically grown and non-GMO, making it a fantastic earth-friendly option for those looking to expand their culinary horizons.

I first heard of commute from my friend Jaci, who creates absolutely amazing Kamut and Einkorn baked goods. She had struggled with gluten and although she didn’t suffer from Celiac Disease, she found that gluten-heavy grains upset her digestive tract. When she switched to Kamut and Einkorn, both ancient grains, she found that she could enjoy wheat again.

But going down the journey of cooking and baking with Kamut doesn’t have to start because you have a gluten sensitivity! Kamut on it’s own is worth exploring because of it’s flavors and amazing qualities.

It’s a nutritious whole grain packed with protein, fiber, and essential minerals like selenium and magnesium and incorporating Kamut into my recipes has not only added a deliciously subtle nutty flavor but also introduced a lovely golden hue to my baked goods.

If you’re anything like me, always on the hunt for healthy and sustainable food options, then you might be just as delighted as I am to learn about and experiment with Kamut. So, join me in this adventure, exploring the rich history, fascinating characteristics, and delicious possibilities of this ancient grain that is making a well-deserved comeback.

Origins of Kamut

Kamut is an ancient grain, also known as khorasan wheat. It has a fascinating origin story that dates back thousands of years to ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt.

Khorasan wheat comes from the Iranian province of Khorasan, where the grain was first known to grow. There’s also an interesting tale about its connection to the famous Egyptian ruler, King Tut. Some people believe that Kamut got its nickname “King Tut wheat” from a legend that says the grains were found in his tomb in Egypt. However, this claim is unconfirmed, and it remains an intriguing part of Kamut’s story.

Now, let’s talk about how the grain found its way to modern times. In 1949, 36 grains of a large variety of wheat were discovered in Portugal and given to Earl Dedman, a U.S. Airman serving there. He sent the wheat kernels to his father in Montana, who was able to successfully grow the mysterious grain over the next several years. Through some research, they found out it was khorasan wheat, and the Kamut brand was born.

What I appreciate about Kamut is that it’s more than just an ancient grain; it’s a trademarked variety of khorasan wheat that guarantees it’s organically grown and never genetically modified. This makes me feel confident about incorporating it into my diet and sharing its benefits with others.

Nutrition profile

This ancient grain offers a rich assortment of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that can contribute to a healthy diet.

  • Protein: Kamut is an impressive source of protein for a grain, with 9.8 grams in one cup of cooked Kamut. It’s a great way to add some plant-based protein to your meals.
  • Fiber: Along with protein, kamut is also high in fiber, offering 7.4 grams per one-cup serving. This can help you feel full and satisfied throughout the day.
  • Minerals: Kamut is also a treasure trove of minerals, boasting significant amounts of magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, manganese, and iron. These essential minerals play a vital role in various bodily functions, including energy production and maintaining a healthy immune system.
  • Vitamins: It’s a good source of B vitamins, such as thiamin, niacin, and even a bit of vitamin B6. These B vitamins are essential for energy metabolism and maintaining a healthy nervous system. Additionally, kamut contains small amounts of copper, selenium, and potassium, which are all crucial for various aspects of our health.
  • Amino acid: One more notable component of kamut is its amino acid profile. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, and kamut provides all the essential amino acids our body needs. This makes it a valuable addition to plant-based diets, where it can be challenging to obtain enough of these essential nutrients.

So not only is kamut delicious and versatile, but its nutrition profile is also impressive, offering a variety of vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber to support our overall health.

Health benefits

As I’ve explored the world of Kamut, I’ve discovered that this ancient grain is packed with numerous health benefits. To begin with, it’s a whole grain, which means it provides essential nutrients such as fiber, vitamins, and minerals that support overall health. Its high dietary fiber content is especially noteworthy since it aids in digestion, helps lower cholesterol, and even supports weight management by offering a satisfying and filling meal without adding a lot of calories.

If you have a gluten sensitivity, like my friend Jaci, you might find that Kamut is a gentler option compared to traditional wheat products. While it’s not gluten-free, some people claim that its unique gluten composition could lead to reduced inflammation and a lower likelihood of triggering gluten-related symptoms. This is her experience and worth exploring if you struggle with gut issues as well.

When considering our eyes’ health, Kamut contains a carotenoid called lutein which may help combat age-related macular degeneration. Lutein is an important nutrient for maintaining good eyesight as we age, and incorporating Kamut in our diet could be a delicious way to ensure we get enough of it.

For my vegan and vegetarian friends, Kamut is a fantastic addition to your meal plan. With approximately 227 calories per cup and 9.8g of protein, it serves as a substantial and nutritious option to keep you feeling full and energized.

Nutritional benefits

Kamut is an ancient grain that has been gaining popularity due to its impressive nutritional profile. In a 100 g (or 3.5 oz) serving of Kamut, you’ll find:

NutrientAmount per 100g
Calories337 kcal
Protein14.7 g
Total Fat2.1 g
– Saturated Fat0.4 g
– Monounsaturated Fat0.2 g
– Polyunsaturated Fat1.3 g
Carbohydrates70.6 g
Dietary Fiber11.0 g
Sugars4.4 g
Vitamins & Minerals
– Calcium34 mg
– Iron5.4 mg
– Magnesium144 mg
– Phosphorus457 mg
– Potassium508 mg
– Sodium10 mg
– Zinc3.8 mg
– Vitamin C0 mg
– Thiamin (B1)0.6 mg
– Riboflavin (B2)0.2 mg
– Niacin (B3)5.6 mg
– Vitamin B60.4 mg
– Folate (B9)42 μg
– Vitamin E0.8 mg
– Vitamin K2.7 μg
Remember that Kamut is a naturally occurring grain and these values are approximate and can vary based on factors such as the specific variety of Kamut and growing conditions.

Gluten content and Celiac Disease

It is important to know that Kamut DOES contains gluten, making it unsuitable for those with Celiac Disease or some gluten sensitivities. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and triticale. For individuals with Celiac Disease, consuming gluten can damage their small intestine and lead to various health problems.

Kamut is often mistakenly believed to be safe for people with gluten-related disorders, but states that it is not safe for individuals with celiac disease as it is a type of wheat that contains gluten. Similarly, people with non-celiac gluten sensitivity should also avoid Kamut, as confirms that ancient gluten-containing grains like Kamut cannot be tolerated by them either.

True gluten-free alternatives such as quinoa, millet, buckwheat, or sorghum are better options for those who have Celiac Disease or gluten sensitivity. These grains can still provide a variety of textures and flavors to your meals while catering to your dietary needs.

Cooking with Kamut

Cooking the whole grains of Kamut is quite simple, and it can be a versatile addition to various dishes. Kamut berries have a unique, nutty flavor that pairs well with various ingredients, making it perfect for salads, grain bowls, and as an alternative to rice.

Kamut can be cooked just like other grains such as quinoa, brown rice, farro, bulgur, amaranth, millet, and teff. To cook Kamut:

  1. Rinse the berries under cold water. Do a visual inspection for rocks or other debris and pick anything you don’t want to eat out!
  2. Combine 1 cup of Kamut berries with 2 cups of water in a saucepan, bring it to a boil, and reduce the heat to a simmer. I let it cook for about 30-40 minutes, or until the berries are tender and have absorbed most of the water.
  3. Fluff the Kamut with a fork and let it sit for about 5 minutes before serving

Kamut’s robust texture and flavor make it a wonderful addition to salads. I like to toss the cooked Kamut berries with ingredients like chopped vegetables, greens, and my favorite salad dressing for a delicious and hearty meal. It’s a fun way to mix things up from the usual quinoa or brown rice.

If I’m in the mood for something warm and comforting, Kamut can be used in place of rice in dishes like stir-fries, casseroles, and even risotto. I find the grain’s nutty taste and chewy texture to be a pleasant change from the regular rice options.

Baking with Kamut flour

I was excited to try baking with Kamut flour and found that like any whole grain, it has its own personality an quirks.

Kamut is an ancient whole grain that can be ground into different types of flour:

  • Milling to make a whole grain flour: I found that using Kamut’s whole berry to make whole grain flour creates a nutritious option, which leaves 100% of the bran in the flour
  • Making your own “white” or all-purpose flour: You can also remove the bran and grind the remainder for a white Kamut flour (directions here).

When I started experimenting with Kamut flour in baking, I discovered that some recipes benefited from a complete substitution of all-purpose flour with 100% Kamut flour. Other recipes, however, worked best with only 50% or 25% substitution, so it’s important to find the right balance for your specific recipe.

In my experience, one of the essential things to remember when baking bread with Kamut flour is that it has a different gluten structure compared to wheat flour. So, the yeast needs some additional assistance in producing a well-risen loaf. Since Kamut flour is slightly heavier than all-purpose wheat, know that it will not rise as high as a typical wheat loaf.

I also noticed that Kamut flour has a slightly nutty flavor, which can enhance the taste of your bread. This flavor profile comes as an added bonus, especially when using whole grain Kamut flour, as it packs more nutrients than your regular all-purpose flour.

Finally, as with any bread baking, don’t be afraid to adjust recipes according to your preferences and taste. The subtle differences in Kamut flour can lead to delightful surprises and become a great addition to your baking repertoire.

Kamut in various recipes

I’ve been enjoying cooking with Kamut, an ancient grain that’s versatile and delicious. There are so many creative ways to use this grain, and I wanted to share a few of my favorite Kamut recipes with you. It’s perfect for people like me who love experimenting with different ingredients in the kitchen.

  • Kamut sourdough: One of the first things I tried was making bread with Kamut. Since Kamut has a slightly sweet, nutty flavor, it adds an extra layer of taste to any bread recipe. I’ve found that it works well in both yeast-based and quick breads. Just replace part or all of the all-purpose flour with Kamut flour, and trust me, your homemade bread game will never be the same!
  • Kamut pasta: Pasta lovers like me, rejoice! Kamut pasta is a real game-changer. It has a firm texture and holds up well to sauces, making it an excellent choice for a wide range of pasta dishes. I’ve experimented with lasagna, spaghetti, and even rotini, and the results have been nothing short of fantastic.
  • Kamut sweets: Satisfy your sweet tooth with Kamut-based cookies and cakes. I tried using Kamut flour in my chocolate chip cookie recipe, and it brought a delightful, earthy flavor that complemented the sweetness. Typically an “all-purpose” flour does better instead of whole grain, so keep that in-mind
  • Kamut breakfast foods: Breakfast just got more enjoyable with Kamut pancakes and waffles. The nutty sweetness of this grain lends itself perfectly to these breakfast favorites.
  • Kamut pizza dough: I also love using Kamut flour in my pizza crust. The dough turns out slightly denser than traditional pizza crusts but is no less delicious. Trust me; your next pizza night will surprise your friends and family with this unique and tasty twist.
  • Cooked Kamut: Finally, Kamut makes for a fantastic side dish. Cooked Kamut grains can be used in place of rice or quinoa for a filling, nutritious option. I’ve mixed it with roasted vegetables, used it as a base for grain bowls, and even tossed it into salads for added texture and flavor.

In summary, Kamut is an amazing grain to work with, and I hope you give it a try in your favorite recipes. Don’t be afraid to experiment and let your imagination run wild – the possibilities are endless when it comes to this not-so-new ancient grain. Happy cooking!

Comparison to other grains

When it comes to ancient grains, I’ve tried almost everything—from quinoa and farro to teff and amaranth. However, kamut has always intrigued me the most. Let me share a brief comparison of kamut with some other common grains like wheat berries, rice, quinoa, farro, bulgur, amaranth, millet, and teff.

Kamut is an ancient grain with a buttery flavor and a slightly chewy texture. Wheat berries, on the other hand, have a slightly nutty taste and a similarly chewy texture. While wheat berries are more commonly used, kamut offers more proteins, lipids, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids than common wheat.

Rice is a staple in many households, thanks to its versatility and ease of cooking. However, compared to kamut, rice has less protein and fiber. Quinoa, another popular grain, is a complete protein but has a slightly earthy flavor, unlike kamut’s buttery taste.

Farro is another ancient grain that is often used as a substitute for rice or pasta due to its nutty taste and chewy texture. While farro is quite nutritious, kamut edges ahead in terms of its unique nutrition profile and flavor.

Bulgur is made from parboiled wheat and is often used in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines. It has a mild, nutty flavor and a lighter texture compared to kamut. Amaranth, millet, and teff are all small grains that are gluten-free, making them suitable for those with gluten sensitivities or intolerances. However, kamut contains gluten, so it’s not a suitable option for people following a gluten-free diet.

In summary, kamut has its own unique characteristics that make it stand out among other grains. It boasts a delightful buttery flavor, a versatile texture, and a rich nutritional profile that includes higher levels of proteins and minerals compared to many other grains. So next time when you’re experimenting with ancient grains, don’t forget to give kamut a try!

Sourcing Kamut

The best way to buy Kamut is online, with many reputable websites and marketplaces offering this ancient grain. I prefer buying it in bulk to save some money and ensure I have enough for multiple recipes.

I have personally bought Kamut from:

For those who enjoy shopping in person, I recommend checking out local health food stores and natural grocery markets, but I have not been able to source any locally at my H-E-B, Walmart, and Aldi.

Frequently asked questions

What are the health benefits of Kamut?

Kamut is an ancient grain that has some great health benefits. It contains lower gluten and is more easily digested compared to other varieties of wheat. Additionally, it is higher in minerals like selenium and copper, which are essential for thyroid health.

How is Kamut different from other ancient grains?

Kamut, also known as Khorasan wheat, has a unique sweet and mild taste that sets it apart from other ancient grains. It has been found in Middle Eastern regions like Iran and Europe for centuries, making it a ancient grain.

What types of dishes can you make with Kamut?

You can use Kamut in a variety of dishes since it’s a versatile grain. It can replace all-purpose wheat in many recipes, but it does have some quirks as it will not rise as much as wheat. You can use it in bread, pasta, salads, and even desserts. The possibilities are endless, but keep in mind that it might require some experimentation to get the desired results.

How do you cook Kamut?

Cooking Kamut is similar to cooking other grains. First, rinse the grains and then soak them for several hours or overnight to help reduce cooking time. After soaking, drain the water and cook the Kamut in a saucepan with fresh water. Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat, and let it simmer for about 30-40 minutes or until it reaches your desired texture.

Is Kamut gluten-free?

No, Kamut is not gluten-free. While it contains lower amounts of gluten compared to regular wheat, it still has gluten in it. If you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, steer clear of Kamut.

Where can you find recipes for Kamut dishes?

There are many resources available online for Kamut recipes, like ours! You can also check out cookbooks and online forums for additional ideas on incorporating Kamut into your meals.