From time to time, I receive emails with offers to try out and review various food products. It’s always exciting when a company deems me worthy of trying out and writing about their products, but I get extra excited when those emails come from Canadian companies looking for exposure for their products. When Liz contact me about Cavena Nuda, the Rice of the Prairies, I had to say yes – not only was this a Canadian company, but it was a new variety of whole grain. The RD to be in me approved.
Cavena Nuda is a new variety of oat – it grows completely hull-less and hair-less, making it easy to work with as there is minimal processing required. The grain was created through selective breeding of different oat varieties to get these traits – no GMO’s here! Learn more about the company here.
Cavena nuda, or naked oats, have some pretty stellar nutritional stats going for them. They are whole grain, high in fibre, a good source of iron, and even have a decent amount of protein. You can see the comparison between Cavena nuda, oats, and white rice here on their website.
Also of note – their product is designated wheat-free, but has been tested and has less than 5 ppm of gluten. Unfortunately in Canada, oats still cannot be designated as gluten-free like they can in the US. Cavena nuda is still considered to be an uncontaminated and pure source of oats.
Enough background information – I’m sure you just want to know what I made with the damn things!
Although there are plenty of recipes to try on the Cavena Nuda website, I just decided to play around with the oats for my taste testing purposes. First up, I made a version of Kelsey’s Most Fun Mexican Rice.
You may remember it from my Mexican Fiesta Feast?
Next I attempted a sort of granola bar…
Although my recipe was flawed (my ratio of wet to dry ingredients was off), they were still very tasty.
Note to self – revisit this recipe and see if it can be saved.
More recently though, I cooked up a batch of the oats to use in grain salads. I don’t do this nearly often enough – it’s so easy when you have a bunch of cooked whole grains in the fridge to throw together a delicious, healthy, filling lunch of dinner with what you have on hand.
There was a Mexican inspired salad.
Cavena nuda with leftover roast chicken, mole-roasted chickpeas, corn, spinach, mango-peach salsa, and cheddar cheese.
And I made a dill-icious shrimp salad.
Cavena nuda with wild west coast shrimp, peas, cucumber, Greek yogurt, mayo, dill, chives, pepper, and a wee drizzle of truffle oil. Fancy!
So after all that…what did I think?
This is one excellent grain. First off, you can’t over cook it (unless you let your pot completely go dry). No mushy, gross mess. And the grains stay firm and chewy, which makes it perfect for salads. It works as a rice replacer where you don’t want a creamy texture. I imagine it would be great to add to a creamy bowl of oatmeal for texture, or to baked goods like grainy cookies, breads, or muffins. It would likely stand up well in a soup or stew. I liked the way it added texture in the granola bars as well. The flavour is neutral enough to pair with whatever your heart desires – just a hint of natural nuttiness. And it’s a whole grain – which automatically makes it a great addition to any diet.
Now, I’ve never seen it in stores around here, but I bet if you started requesting it at your local whole foods/health foods store, they would bring it in. And you should – not only is it delicious, but it’s a Canadian product, and we need to support home grown goodness! Fortunately I still have a large amount of grains to keep me going for awhile. Perhaps I will check out some of the creative ideas on their website.
Let me know if you see Cavena Nuda in local stores, and if you try it!
Disclaimer – I received this product free of charge from Smart & Natural Foods. I have not been compensated for this review, and was under no obligation to write anything about the product either.