Cavena Nuda

Cavena Nuda

Move over quinoa, there’s a new super grain in town. After decades of research, Agriculture Canada has released to market Cavena Nuda—a hull-free oat that looks, cooks and tastes like rice. Named by Manitoba farmer Scott Sigvaldson who helped discover it, Cavena Nuda is from the Latin “avena nuda”, meaning naked oats. The letter C was added to represent Canada.

Rice of the Prairies

Nicknamed “Rice of the Prairies,” Cavena Nuda is marketed as a rice substitute, but nutritionally speaking, it blows white rice right out of the water. It has twice the protein and 10 times the dietary fibre. Granted, it also has a lot more fat than white rice, but given its other health benefits, this seems like a fair trade-off.

Cavena Nuda is wheat-free, making it an excellent choice for those who are gluten-intolerant or who have Celiac disease. Its low glycemic index also makes it a great grain for people with diabetes and others looking to maintain stable blood sugar levels. It has more cholesterol-lowering beta glucan than regular hulled oats and just ¼ cup delivers twenty per cent of the daily recommended intake of iron.

This grain has all the makings of a dietary superstar!

Here’s how the “Rice of the Prairies” stacks up against white rice.

Nutritional Analysis (100gms) Cavena Nuda White Rice
Calories 397 365
Protein 17.2 g 7.1g
Iron 5.7 mg 0.8mg
Dietary Fibre 12 g 1.3g
Soluble Fibre (beta Glucan) 4.4 0
Fat 8.8 .66


So it’s good for you, but how does it taste? Cavena Nuda has a mildly nutty flavour with a pleasing chew. Some describe it as a cross between wheat berries and brown rice.

How to use it

As its nickname suggests, Cavena Nuda can be used to replace rice (or other similar grains like couscous or quinoa) in most recipes. Oats on the dinner table—who would’ve thought?!

Try Cavena Nuda in these recipes. Don’t forget to re-calculate PointsPlus® values to account for the substitution. 100gms of Cavena Nuda has a PointsPlus® value of 10 while the equivalent white rice serving has PointsPlus® value of 9.

Blueberry Breakfast Rice Pudding

Wild Rice, Barley, Corn and Mushroom Soup

Caprese Rice Salad

Tex-Mex Rice and Bean Casserole

Shrimp and Chicken Jambalaya

Spinach, Parmesan and Couscous-Stuffed Poblano Peppers

Other Ways to Enjoy Cavena Nuda

  • Use it as a crunchy garnish for soups and salad. In a medium saucepan, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat, then add a handful or so of Cavena Nuda and cook until lightly toasted.

  • Use Cavena Nuda to replace up to 25% of the flour in muffin recipes. Toast the grains on a baking sheet in the oven, let cool and grind to fine crumbs.

  • Use uncooked Cavena Nuda in place of pearl barley in your favourite soup or casserole; be sure to add a little more cooking time.

Environmentally Friendly

This made-in-Canada grain is designed to grow anywhere in cereal growing regions. What’s more, it doesn’t require flooding or irrigation so it’s less of a strain on water resources.

A versatile, good-for-you grain with a smaller carbon footprint—What’s not to love?

Cavena nuda is available in health stores across the country and is now available in most grocery stores. If you don’t see it, ask for it by name.