Pasta, Rice & Grains
Gumbo is often cited as an example of the melting-pot nature of Louisiana cooking, but trying to sort out the origins and evolution of the dish is highly speculative. The name derives from a West African word for okra, suggesting that gumbo was originally made with okra.
Lentils, like beans, are legumes. They're high-protein, edible pulses that grow in pods. Lentils are typically sold dried and look like tiny lenses or pebbles and have a mild, earthy flavor. ... Lentils are also often used in vegetarian recipes in place of meat, like in these lentil veggie burgers.
How did risotto originate? While, according to a legend, a young glassblower's apprentice of the Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano from Flanders, who used to use saffron as a pigment, added it to a rice dish at a wedding feast, the first recipe identifiable as risotto dates from 1809.
Grits are a staple Southern American dish made from ground, dried corn and particularly rich in iron and B vitamins. Stone-ground varieties are more nutritious, as they undergo less processing than quick, regular, or instant types. Though grits are fairly healthy, they're typically served with high-calorie ingredients.