Kernza Pilaf

Kernza Pilaf

Yield 4-6 servings

This springy dish is bursting with flavor. The Kernza® grains are nutty with a delightfully chewy texture, asparagus brings crunch, and lemon adds brightness. As a bonus, Kernza is an eco-friendly perennial wheatgrass with the power to restore depleted soil and protect threatened waterways.


  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 large shallot or small red onion, minced
  • 6 oz. assorted mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup whole grain Kernza, rinsed and well drained
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • ½ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • 2 cups water or chicken stock
  • ½ pound asparagus, cut in 1-inch pieces
  • Zest and juice of one lemon
  • ¼ cup fresh tarragon, finely chopped
  • 1 cup toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped


Preheat oven to 350°. Place a medium oven-proof Dutch oven over medium-high heat and melt the butter. Add the shallots and half a teaspoon salt and sauté until the shallots start to soften and turn golden, about 6 minutes. Add the mushrooms and oregano and sauté until mushrooms are browned on the edges, about 5 minutes. To the pan, add the olive oil, Kernza, garlic, remaining half teaspoon salt, and black pepper. Toast the grains, stirring occasionally, until the Kernza smells nutty, about 3 minutes. Add the water, cover, and bring to a boil.

Place in the oven for 35 minutes, then remove the pan and stir in the asparagus. Return to the oven for an additional 5-7 minutes until both Kernza and asparagus are tender (total time should be about 40-50 minutes). Toss in the lemon juice and zest and fresh herbs. Top with chopped nuts and serve.